KIA Philippines is keeping its sales target at 10,000 units for this year, amid expectations that the auto industry is poised for a recovery.
“We’re keeping the target for now because we’re not yet in the middle of the year,” Kia Philippines President Emmanuel A. Aligada told reporters in Pasay City last week.
He backed the forecast of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) that sales will improve in the second half, adding Kia’s sales growth is “up and running” compared to the industry’s overall growth.
Kia Philippines is targeting to sell 10,000 units in 2019, a surge from 2,238 units sold in 2018. Last year’s sales were 57% lower than 2017’s, as demand for new cars plunged due to higher taxes and rising inflation.
However, Kia’s January to April sales is already “a little over” 2,000, marking a 35% growth from the comparable period last year and nearing the full-year 2017 sales.
“We’re working still on the same elements, product lineup, awareness, [which] is a concern because we’re absent for a long time so we’re catching up on that,” Mr. Aligada said.
Ayala Corp., through its subsidiary AC Industrial Technology Holdings, Inc., acquired the distributorship for Kia vehicles in the country. The move intended to revamp the Kia brand as well as expedite its domestic growth.
Aside from expanding its dealership network, the company is working with banks to offer low downpayment options for auto loans. The promo allowed a downpayment of P13,000 for some Kia models, significantly lower than the previous minimum of P50,000.
Kia has teamed up with five banks for the promo, namely Bank of Philippine Islands, Inc., BDO Unibank, Inc., East West Banking Corp., Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. and the Philippine National Bank.
“We came up with a new low downpayment program about last month and I think that is what is getting a lot of reaction in social media,” Mr. Aligada said, adding the company has been receiving a flow of inquiries after the new offer.
He said Kia is in talks with three more banks to expand the promo.
At the same time, Kia is eyeing to roll out one more model toward the end of the year.
“The one that we will launch, it will be a popular vehicle… Smaller than the SUV…. Smaller than the Sorrento and Sportage,” Mr. Aligada said.
So far this year, Kia brought in the sports sedan Kia Stinger, a revamped Kia Forte, and the China-manufactured Soluto. — Janina C. Lim