When you go to the exhibit of Hyundai Motor Philippines (HMPH) at the 8th Philippine International Motor Show (PIMS), you’ll find only two vehicles on display: the IONIQ 5 and the Creta.
Where, you may ask, are the latest iterations of the Tucson, Santa Fe, Palisade and Hyundai’s new flagship van, the Staria, that HMPH president Dongwook ‘Eric’ Lee promised to launch when he had lunch with the motoring media last June?
Cecil P. Capacete, the managing director of HMPH, has the answer. Since HMPH’s booth concept focuses on the brand’s global efforts towards a sustainable world, they are previewing the Ionic 5, the brand’s fully electric vehicle, and the Creta, the car model localy chosen to promote their Goal of the Century (GOTC) advocacy campaign.
The IONIQ 5 is an electric compact CUV that has won three World Car Awards (World Car of the Year, World Electric Vehicle of the Year, and World Car Design of the Year) and delivers power up to 320 hp and EPA-estimated 487 km range. “We aim to contribute significantly in producing vehicles that are eco-friendly to lessen carbon emission,” Capacete says. HMPH intends to launch the IONIQ 5 early next year.
REVERSING CARBON FOOTPRINT. Meanwhile, the GOTC campaign is based on Hyundai’s goal to reverse its carbon footprint in the next 100 years, Capacete claims.
“Hyundai Motor Company partnered with FIFA to generate awareness for this effort as we believe that through the sport of football, we can unify everyone to one common goal of preserving our world for the next generation.”
Thanks to Hyundai’s promotion of its clean mobility and sustainability campaign through its art and sports partnerships, customers who will test-drive the Creta at the PIMS will be given a chance to win two tickets to watch a FIFA game live in Qatar. “All expenses will be paid by Hyundai Motor to make sure that it will be an experience well-remembered,” Capacete avers.
In fact, improving the overall life experience of its customers is top priority in Hyundai Motor’s business plan. “Our local tagline of ‘Innovate Everyday’ is a reflection of our commitment to provide quality goods and services, and create Corporate Social Responsibility programs that are aligned with the brand’s global efforts on sustainability,” Capacete points out.
A balikbayan to the Hyundai brand (he worked in sales at Viking Cars Volvo PH before joining Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. as head of sales, then moved to Suzuki PH, Inc, then to Mitsubishi Motors PH Corp. before joining HMPH last June), Capacete says that HMPH’s primary focus “would be to enhance first the customer experience for us to create a strong bond with the market. We believe that we need to fortify first the key pillars of our business in order to regain the strong positioning of the brand.”
NO. 3 IN SALES. The strong positioning of the brand that Capacete refers to is the time when Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI), the former PH distributor of Hyundai automobiles, was No. 3 in total vehicle sales starting in 2010. “2010 to 2017 were the glory days of the Hyundai brand here in the Philippines,” Capacete recalls. “For me, the success of an automotive brand lies on several key factors. First would be the strength of the brand and its product offerings. If my memory serves me right, during the reign of HARI as the number 3 brand in the country was the time when it introduced several exciting and game-changing products such as the Getz, Tucson, i10, EON, Accent, Starex and H100.
“Each model contributed significant sales volume as it was warmly embraced by the buying public. Second would be the people behind the brand. We have to commend the leadership of Ms. Fe Agudo and the team behind her that provided the necessary support to propel the brand. Third, would be the dealer network which plays a vital role in promoting the brand in several touch points that our customers highly engage with.
“Last but not least, the consumers. I believe the customer is king. Their needs and preferences dictate the trend in our industry. It is up to the brand to cope with consumer demand and stay competitive against its competitors. The strong years of Hyundai had all aspects in place and opportunities to promote the brand were very much maximized.”
So how come Hyundai dropped out of the top 10 after 2017? “During the years when the Hyundai brand experienced a decline in sales, I feel I am not the right person to address the question as I was with a different brand at that time,” Capacete replied.
VARIABLES. Continuing on the subject of declining sales, he added: “Similar to the attributes that lead to the success of a brand, there are also many variables that create difficult situations for an automotive brand. One example would be the pandemic that we are still currently facing. 2020 and 2021 were very challenging years for all car brands. Within that time frame, there were several other ordeals that all companies had to go through just to survive.”
Now, is HMPH aiming to regain the No. 3 rank in industry sales? “For the rest of the year, our targets will remain modest,” Capacete answered. “We wish to focus on re-establishing the brand and making sure that we improve in all areas that will enhance ownership experience.”
At present, HMPH has 38 dealers nationwide. Capacete said that they are continuously studying the areas that can be tapped to be more accessible to their target customers. “We are also carefully selecting our dealer partners to assure that they are aligned with our objective in enhancing the customer ownership experience,” he concluded.