Volkswagen Philippines, the exclusive importer and distributor of Volkswagen vehicles in the country, held its appreciation night for the media last February 28 at the Resorts World Manila.
Its new President Felipe Estrella III, who joined Ayala Corporation in 2010 and since 2017, has been the Chief Finance Officer of AC Industrials, was also introduced.
Estrella takes the leadership at a time when Ayala Corporation has been expanding its involvement in the motoring sector through its automotive sales and distribution business AC Automotive, which is under AC Industrials. Late last year, AC Automotive acquired its fifth brand partnership with Kia in the Philippines, adding to the four other strong brand partners: Honda, Isuzu, KTM motorcycles, and Volkswagen.
In his role leading Volkswagen Philippines, Estrella plans to intensify the brand’s thrust of bringing German automotive engineering, design, and motoring lifestyle to more Filipinos.
“This 2019, I want more Filipinos to discover or create their own wonderful stories in their very own Volkswagen. How many more Filipinos do we intend to reach out to this year? We aim to better our 2018 sales by at least 50%. And I am confident we can achieve this. We have the five new distinctive models, the aftersales services and warranties, and we plan to expand our current network of 8 dealerships by adding at least four more. We hope that our products, aftersales service, and new and existing dealerships will greatly add to the buying public’s own affinity for our brand, and will even attract more segments of the market.” says Estrella
Despite an industry-wide sales dip of 15% in 2018, Volkswagen Philippines stayed the course and sold the same number of units as it did in 2017, with 1,363 units. Its passenger cars sales actually grew by 7% despite an industry sales decline of 21%. Further, Volkswagen Philippines has achieved a compounded annual growth rate of 67% since it started operations in 2013.
“I also wish to convey to you the good news that, considering that the rest of the local automotive industry, on average, experienced a 15% sales dip, Volkswagen Philippines managed to sell exactly the same number of units in 2018 as we did in 2017, that’s 1,363 units. By vehicle category, the local passenger car segment was the hardest hit, registering losses of as much as 21%. But I’m happy to report that the passenger car sales of Volkswagen Philippines actually grew by 7%. If we look back to 6 years ago, from 2013 onwards, the compound annual growth rate of Volkswagen Philippines has been a remarkable 67%. Despite the challenges, our sales volume has been constantly increasing.” says Mr. Klaus Schadewald, Chief Operating Adviser, Volkswagen Philippines.
The introduction of five new models in May 2018 — the Santana, Santana GTS, Lavida, Tiguan, and Lamando — was seen to renew the direction of Volkswagen Philippines towards making the brand more accessible and approachable to Filipinos, particularly with the Santana compact sedan, equipped with the distinct characteristics and build quality of a German-made Volkswagen, but with a retail price starting at P686,000. The Santana sedan and GTS models were the best-selling vehicles of Volkswagen Philippines in 2018 with 33% share of the total sales.
It is in this context that Volkswagen Philippines announced that it aims to better its 2018 sales record by at least 50% in 2019. With the five new models, supported by aftersales services and 3-year warranties for every model, and periodic maintenance service intervals of just once a year or every 10,000 kilometers, whichever comes first, making the Volkswagen ownership experience even more convenient and cost-competitive, this target appears to be attainable.
To be able to reach more of its existing and potential customers, Volkswagen Philippines also announced that it would expand its current network of eight dealerships to 12 within the year. Recognizing the ever-growing market for sport utility vehicles (SUVs), the company also revealed that it aims to introduce two new SUV models in the next 12 months.
Volkswagen Philippines is focused on contributing to the development of the Philippine automotive industry and getting it back on track to another “golden age of motorization.” And for Filipinos who deserve a better motoring experience, a new Volkswagen in one’s garage guarantees that Your Drive Will Be Better in 2019.