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Tessa R. Salazar

TCCCI brings in SUV specialist KG Mobility to the Philippines

If your company is anything like The Covenant Car Company Inc., you’ll go to great lengths—and your darnest best—to protect and maintain your spotless image in the Philippine automotive industry.

That’s why it isn’t so surprising that TCCCI, which has built a solid reputation over the decades with its choice of brands (such as the iconic Chevrolet) and after-sales services, has gone “annyeong!” with KG Mobility, a South Korean marque known for its nearly 70 years of expertise in SUV manufacturing and production. No less than Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia Jr., TCCCI board chair, released a statement last month saying that his team is “optimistic that the local motoring public will respond positively to our portfolio of product offerings, and we are likewise eager to grow KGM PH into a household name for expertly crafted, reliable, Korean-made automobiles.”

Inquirer Motoring attended the KG Mobility Philippines launch last Monday in Makati, where it was also officially announced that TCCCI would be its exclusive distributor, following the formal appointment last Aug. 1. At the launch, KGM PH’s SVP and director Dave Zaballero, senior AVP and director for national sales service Chris L. Yu, and EVP and director for marketing and communication services Lyn M. Buena spoke to the motoring media.

Three of its SUV models were also on display: The Tivoli Crossover, the Tivoli Grand, and the centerpiece Torres. Zaballero revealed, however, that five models will be offered to jumpstart the company operations, which will include the Rexton mid-size SUV and the Musso Grand pickup. He added that there would be “strategic trim variants” for each model—all adding up to 13 unique variants, with gasoline and diesel powertrains, some equipped with front-wheel or all-wheel drives, or 2WD or 4WD.

“There has never been such a wide variety of choices for Filipino buyers from the get-go. And we haven’t neglected the strong consumer preference for pickup trucks either,” Zaballero quipped.

KGM vehicles come with a five-year/100,000-km vehicle warranty. By the end of 2024, KGM PH expects to have 12 independent partners constituting its nationwide dealership network.

SsangYong, once upon a time

South Korea-based KG Mobility Co was formerly known as SsangYong Motor Co. The change in name bodes well for the automaker, as it’s expected to post a profit by the end of this year, its first in seven years. According to Bloomberg, KG Mobility has outlined its ambitions for the company to be South Korea’s most popular electric vehicle and SUV brand.

TCCCI echoes this confidence in the KGM brand. “We at TCCCI are proud to be representing a distinguished and storied Korean brand whose history is woven into the Korean economic miracle. Next year, KG Mobility as a corporation, will be celebrating its 70th year in the business. Coincidentally, the group that TCCCI belongs to will likewise be celebrating their 70th year in the auto business. (That’s a) good sign for us,” Zaballero said.

He added, “KGM’s products represent the essential Korean characteristics of quality, reliability, durability, and that unique Korean design aesthetic. They are among the best in their class in terms of size (dimensions), that all-important critical indicator of value for the Filipino consumer. All KGM models will be aptly equipped with convenience and safety features at each price point. And finally, KGM vehicles will come with a competitive warranty that is commensurate with the high expectations of Filipino buyers.

Yu described KGM as “our new baby from Korea” and introduced KG Mobility as a company owned by the KG Group, a South Korean conglomerate engaged in—aside from automobiles—steel, chemical, manufacturing, finance, and education.”

“We are proud to introduce five models immediately as we launch this brand. In the Tivoli, we have a best-selling small SUV with an incredibly attractive price, In the Tivoli Grand XLV we have the longest and most capacious SUV, also with a very good price. In the Torres, we have a premium SUV, one of the largest in the segment and arguably, also the most handsome, embodying KG Mobility’s latest design language and technology. In the Rexton, we have a rugged and refined 7-seater diesel SUV which has won awards in Asia and Europe, and in the Musso, we have best-in-class dimensions, unparalleled refinement, and the best-selling pickup truck in its home market. Tivoli has an introductory price of P898,888. Not only that. We will have a well-equipped automatic variant at below P1 million,” Yu enumerated.

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For her part, Buena described KG Mobility as the Korean auto brand “with muscle.”

“KG Mobility products have rugged build quality. They are meant to last. They are capable and durable, and they are your partner for the long haul. Apart from being rugged and brawny, KG Mobility pickups and SUVs are engineered for performance and are backed by nearly 70 years of innovation in SUV production and manufacturing,” she explained.

Buena also cited the brand’s “proud Korean heritage.” Its SUVs and pickups all possess the “charismatic aesthetics that Korean design and function are known for.” She also pointed to KG Mobility’s numerous awards—such as Diesel and Eco Car Magazine’s Best Pickup for three consecutive years, Best Value Award by 4X4 Magazine (British Automotive Media) for six straight years, and its 2024 World Car of the Year nomination—in describing its SUVs and pickups as “heavyweights in awards and accolades.”

TCCCI assures that KGM PH customers will have easy access to KG Mobility Solutions after-sales support via its accredited and authorized service outlets. Its after-sales services are complemented by a 24/7 emergency roadside assistance through the KGM PH customer support hotline.

Zaballero told Inquirer Motoring: “KG Mobility considers the Philippines as an important market in their plans to increase their total export volume. The Philippines has the potential to be one of the biggest contributors from the SEA markets to KGM’s total export volume by the end of 2024.”