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Hyundai Motor Philippines Inc (HMPH), the new automotive entity that had recently taken over the passenger car, SUV and LCV business of the Korean brand in the country, confirmed to Inquirer Motoring yesterday (July 26) that it has been in the process of applying for a membership in the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc (Campi).

The Hyundai brand in the Philippines has long been identified with the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors Inc (Avid), Campi’s rival group formed in 2010 when associate members broke away and formed the then 10-member Avid led by Hyundai Asia Resources Inc (Hari) President and CEO Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo.

HMPH, officially inaugurated on June 1, 2022, took over the Hyundai passenger cars, SUVs and light commercial vehicles in the Philippines from Hari. Hari, with Agudo at the helm, remains the distributor of Hyundai trucks and buses. Agudo is also president and CEO of Changan Motor Philippines Inc.

In a statement sent to this writer, HMPH President Lee Dong Wook confirmed, “We had signified our intention to join Campi last April 13 with Campi’s secretariat. Since then, we have been trying to complete all the documentary requirements requested of us.”

He added: “We believe that joining Campi poses several benefits. One is that we share the same vision of working in partnership with stakeholders of the automobile industry by sharing our voice or opinion in terms of formulating government policies, programs and standards that will benefit the said industry. Participating in the Philippine International Motor Show (PIMS) would also be beneficial for a new company such as ours, as we will be able to use this venue to show the public who we are and what we are capable of providing our future customers and the industry.”

PIMS, which showcases the latest vehicle models from Campi members, is slated to start on Sept. 15, 2022 at the World Trade Center. As of this writing, there have been 10 confirmed participants: Bermaz Auto Philippines Inc (Mazda), Foton Motor Philippines Inc, Honda Cars Philippines Inc., Isuzu Philippines Corp, Kia Philippines, Nissan Philippines Inc, SMC Asia Car Distributors Corp (BMW), Suzuki Philippines Inc, Mitsubishi Motor Philippines Corp and Toyota Motor Philippines Corp.

Campi president Atty. Rommel Gutierrez

Campi president, lawyer Rommel Gutierrez, told this writer: “We welcome HMPH to join Campi. Like other applicants, HMPH’s application will be subject to evaluation based on Campi’s membership guidelines. We hope we can finish the process in time for PIMS.” Gutierrez is Toyota Motor Philippines’ first vice president.

Member endorsement

Lee disclosed key requirements for Campi membership, including accreditations from the Bureau of Customs and the Land Transportation Office, which he said were already submitted.

“But one crucial requirement we have yet to complete is to receive an endorsement from one of the good-standing Campi members (such as Toyota, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Honda, Isuzu, Foton and CMC). Considering the good relationship with Campi members, we are expecting to receive an endorsement letter soon and become a member of Campi,” Lee said.

HMPH president Eric Lee

Asked to comment on why HMPH wouldn’t simply just continue Hyundai’s membership with Avid, Lee said, “Unfortunately, it is a policy of both Campi and Avid that you can be a member of only one organization.”

Other Campi members yet to confirm their participation in PIMS are: Automobile Central Enterprise Inc (Volkswagen); Auto Nation Group (Mercedes-Benz), Berjaya Auto Asia Inc (Kaicene), Columbian Autocar Corp (Mahindra), Columbian Manufacturing Corp (Daewoo), Coventry Motors Corp (Jaguar and Land Rover), and Ssangyong Berjaya Motor Philippines (SsangYong).

Campi has disclosed that Eurobrands Distributor Inc., Asian Carmakers Corp., and Universal Motors Corp. are on leave. Chery Auto Philippines is also in the process of applying for Campi membership.

Avid has 21 member companies representing 26 global brands (as of its 2020 press release). These are Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, BYD, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ferrari, Ford, GAC Motor, Geely, Hyundai, JAC passenger cars, JAC commercial vehicles, Jeep, Lamborghini, Lotus, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Piaggio, Porsche, Rolls Royce, Subaru, Suzuki, and Volvo.

Hari has been credited with catapulting the Hyundai brand in the Philippines to a peak No. 3 status in sales in 2010, but by end-April 2022, Hyundai’s passenger cars’ ranking had sunk to No. 17, with sales of only 103 units, as reported by the Philippine Automotive Dealers Association (Pada).

South Korea’s top carmaker reorganized the Asia-Pacific markets in 2021. The reorganization effectively rendered Hyundai’s Korean headquarters directly in charge of the Asia-Pacific region, with China and India managed separately.

This writer asked for comments from Agudo, who said she would issue an official statement.

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