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By Aries B. Espinosa
ISUZU PHILIPPINES Corp. (IPC) marked another milestone in its drive for network expansion, as it celebrated on March 18 the opening of the Isuzu Tagum showroom — its 46th dealership overall.
In normal circumstances, members of the motoring and business media would have flown all the way to Davao del Norte to witness firsthand the dealership opening (and perhaps even get treated to the region’s delicacies such as durian, pomelo, and Malagos chocolates). Nevertheless, with the occasion set online, IPC executives’ pride and enthusiasm still showed. And rightly so, as IPC president Hajime Koso lauded the perseverance of dealer principal Walter Alvarez and his team at Image Motors Davao del Norte, Inc. to push for the establishment of Isuzu Tagum despite the obstacles presented by the ongoing pandemic.
“To Image Motors’ board, please accept our sincerest gratitude as we know this has not been an easy decision to open a dealership at this very challenging situation, but you kept to our schedule amid the delay due to the different community quarantines,” Mr. Koso explained.
For his part, Mr. Alvarez expressed gratitude for IPC’s support. “Despite the pandemic, IPC has always been extending their helping hand in making this grand opening possible,” he said.
Motivating the Alvarez team into establishing the Tagum dealership is the vast potential for the Isuzu brand to grow much more in the region. “We are confident that with Isuzu’s reputation of durability, fuel efficiency, and overall reliability, we will be able to capture a bigger market share in this area. We are reaching for more than the targets given to us by IPC. We would like to achieve a double-digit figure (in percentage share of the market) right away in our first year of operations,” Mr. Alvarez boldly projected.
The projections aren’t without basis. Isuzu Tagum is strategically located at Barangay Canocotan, along the road that connects to the three major road network systems — the Philippine-Japan Friendship Highway, the Davao-Mati-Agusan Road, and the Davao-Bukidnon Road — that links the city to other major destinations in the region and to the rest of Mindanao.
“Tagum has emerged into a booming city with a strong economic development brought by different businesses citywide. Isuzu Tagum can cater to more customers in the region,” Mr. Koso assessed.
The dealership’s dimensions reflect the anticipated volume of business. Isuzu Tagum sits on an expansive 11,000-sq.m. lot where the latest Isuzu Outlet Standard (IOS) showroom stands. The dealership boasts of a large service bay capacity that would be able to accommodate up to eight light commercial vehicles and two trucks at a time. During the online press conference, Mr. Alvarez disclosed that Isuzu Tagum could service a “minimum 20 vehicles a day.”
Asked if IPC will be able to realize a network of 50 dealerships within the year, Division Head for Sales Joseph Bautista replied that the dealer expansion program was “on track amid some delay due to the ongoing pandemic.”
He added, “Soon, we will be opening La Union, then Subic and Roxas City before the end of the year.”