By Arra B. Francia, Reporter
THE industrial technology arm of Ayala Corp. (AC) is bringing Chinese auto brand Maxus to the Philippines, with vehicle sales set to commence in the first quarter of 2019.
In a disclosure to the stock exchange on Monday, AC said its wholly owned unit AC Industrial Technology Holdings, Inc. (AC Industrials) was named by SAIC Maxus Automotive Co., Ltd. as the official distributor of Maxus vehicles in the country.
SAIC Maxus is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SAIC Motor Corporation Limited (SAIC), which is primarily focused in the production of light commercial vehicles. The company was founded in 2011 after it acquired British van manufacturer LDV Group. It has since expanded its sales to 70,000 vehicles across three major model lines in 2017, with more than 10,000 exported in the same period.
Meanwhile, SAIC is a Fortune Global 500 company that has sold 6.93 million vehicles last year. It has 15 major brands under its network, including partnerships with Volkswagen and General Motors.
AC Industrials said the addition of the Maxus brand into its portfolio will strengthen its product offerings, given the Philippine market’s evolving preferences.
“As incomes and productivity have grown, Filipino automotive buyers have increasingly gravitated toward the light commercial vehicle segment, which offers greater utility, flexibility to accommodate a wide range of business and lifestyle needs, and improved comfort and drivability,” the company said in the disclosure.
A representative of AC Industrials’ dealership unit, AC Automotive, told BusinessWorld that Maxus vehicle sales will start in the first quarter of 2019, with preparations such as the ordering of initial inventory and a formal launch of the brand already in the works.
“Given that this is a new entrant, we will be prudent and focus first on building the brand for the Philippine market. The plan is to have one dealership first within Metro Manila to be owned by AC Automotive and aligned with our overall growth strategy as a multi-brand distribution group,” a representative of AC Automotive said via text.
The company added that expansion plans moving forward will be determined as sales ramp up.
“No specific short term targets for now, but we aspire to grow the Maxus brand to one percent market share in five years,” AC Automotive said.
AC Industrials currently has four other vehicle brands under its portfolio, namely Honda, Isuzu, Volkswagen, and KTM.
AC Industrials expanded its net earnings by two percent to P752 million in the January to June period.
Meanwhile, its parent AC generated an attributable profit of P16.1 billion in the first six months of 2018, seven percent higher than the P15.1 billion it posted in the same period a year ago. The listed conglomerate also grew its revenues by a fifth to P148.7 billion in the same period.
Shares in AC lost 1.94% or P18 to close at P910 each at the stock exchange on Monday.