By Kap Maceda Aguila

AFTER HAVING forged a partnership with a new dealer principal in Cebu, Mini Philippines is looking to gain a firm foothold in the Visayas-Mindano region. Its push will start with the establishment of a pop-up store, which opened last Friday.

The 8,000-square-feet Mini facility on N. Escario Street Cor. Tojong Street, in Camptuhaw, Cebu City is operated by Mini AutoStudio Cebu, led by dealer principal Pancho Luzuriaga. AutoStudio Philippines Corp. acquired the Mini dealership in Cebu in late 2019.

Mr. Luzuriaga described the shop as a “memorable milestone,” and is structured differently from a typical pop-up showroom. It features a two-car display, a lifestyle area with Mini-branded items for sale, a lounge, and even a two-bay service center. Mr. Luzuriaga shared that it took six weeks to construct the showroom.

While admitting that it is “challenging to open during this time,” the entrepreneur acknowledged that they believe in the brand and their partners in Mini.

Mini Philippines and Autohub Group President Willy Q. Tee Ten said, “I’m happy to announce that Mini is here, still strong, and we’re going to take it to the next level. Our customers are our top priority, and they deserve only the best… This is an exciting new beginning for Mini AutoStudio Cebu. I can’t wait to see more Minis on the roads down south and the smiles they bring to Cebuanos.”

Meanwhile, Mini Philippines General Manager Jefferson Lizardo noted that all the five models of the UK brand will be made available in Cebu, and the company is looking at bringing in John Cooper Works variants as well.

Responding to a question from “Velocity,” Mr. Luzuriaga said the pop-up store will continue to remain up even when the main facility of Mini AutoStudio Cebu opens this year. The showroom will rise on Cebu Veterans Drive, Nivel Hills in Lahug.

In a release, Mini Asia Head Kidd Yam said, “Cebu is a dynamic and vibrant city, qualities that tie in perfectly with what Mini stands for — fun, passionate and spirited… I want to thank the Mini Philippines and Mini AutoStudio Cebu teams for their hard work in making this new facility a reality. Together, we look forward to once again connecting with our customers in the Visayas and Mindanao regions and offering them the exciting cars that they have come to love in a safe and conducive environment.”