FOTON Motor Philippines, Inc. Is planning to expand its presence in the country with six more locations, an official of the Chinese carmaker said on Friday.

“In terms of expansions, we’re planning to have more dealerships in the major cities in the Philippines,” Foton Vice-President for Sales and Marketing Levy S. Santos in a chance interview with reporters at the company’s branch in Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga.

“Currently, we have 24 presences in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. We’re planning to add six more in the very near future to complement the demand of our local business and government requirements,” he added.

He disclosed the planned locations as Tuguegarao, Tacloban, Batangas City, Calamba, Pangasinan and Cainta. The expansion can be expected in the next two years, he said.

Foton, a Chinese vehicle manufacturer, ranks third in overall truck sales for 2021, according to the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc., and ninth in the list of best-selling motor car brands in the Philippines.

Mr. Santos is hopeful that the company would be able to recover to pre-pandemic conditions by next year.

“We are at a double-digit growth compared to the 2021 performance,” Mr. Santos said. “Right now, we are at 26% growth compared to the same period last year, so we are looking forward to a better recovery.”

The growth was the result of rising demand and the reliance of Filipinos on online platforms, he said.

“The industry is introducing new models, new deals from our partner banks and aggressive down payment schemes from our dealers, so we are really looking forward to a better 2022,” he added.

The company expects the trend to continue under the next administration as presumptive President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos has said that he plans to continue the programs initiated by outgoing President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

During the same event, Chery Auto Philippines Vice-President for Sales and Marketing Luigi Ignacio noted the development and proliferation of electric vehicles (EV) in the country as Filipinos have become more appreciative of technology amid the pandemic.

“What accelerated it further is the rising cost of fuel, so the total ownership cost of a plug-in hybrid will outweigh your eventual expense when you continue to use purely petrol-powered vehicles,” he said. “Eventually, the future will be all about electric-powered vehicles.”

The Chinese automotive brand has plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), which take only three to five hours to fully charge. It can reach a total distance of 95 kilometers on pure EV, while saving 83 kilometers per liter in hybrid function, Mr. Ignacio said.

“If you really stretch the mileage of the hybrid, it can bring you up to a total of 800 kilometers,” he added, noting that Chery is continuously future-proofing its brand by enhancing engine design and performance.

Chery is one of the first to introduce the seven-seater PHEV, which it launched last month.

Chery and Foton vehicles are both under the United Asia Automotive Group, Inc., their exclusive Philippine distributor. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan