Home Editors' Picks ‘A small motor show every day’

‘A small motor show every day’


Talk Box

AC Motors Centrale showcases all affiliated brands under one roof

AS THE ECONOMY continues to open amid a hopefully receding pandemic, AC Motors doubles down as it recently opened AC Motors Centrale in Bonifacio Global City.

“Now, we can truly say, all roads lead to this one-of-a-kind venue in the center of one of the most coveted business addresses in the country. Indeed, no other place and time is fitting for this occasion. AC Industrials’ automobile and motorcycle distribution and retail businesses have been an integral part of the Ayala group for the last 30 years, enabling AC Motors to provide mobility solutions for the Filipino people,” said AC Industrials President and CEO Arthur “Art” Tan in his welcome speech at the venue. AC Motors is a “portfolio company of AC Industrials (ACI), Ayala Corp.’s holding and investment company for industrial technology, manufacturing, and vehicle distribution and retail interests.”

Rising on a 3,000-sq.m. sprawl at 932 28th street corner 9th Avenue, AC Motors Centrale showcases all the mobility brands overseen by, or associated with, the Ayala-led firm — namely Honda, Isuzu, Volkswagen, Kia, KTM, and Husqvarna. Another brand, Maxus, is conspicuously absent in deference to a nearby dealership.

Also speaking to attendees of the inauguration, AC Motors Automobile Group President Antonio “Toti” Zara III described the concept as a “small motor show every day” in the heart of the city. He expressed bullishness for the auto industry — noting that the sector has registered year-to-date growth of 11% versus the same period last year. Mr. Zara also reported that AC Motors has been “outpacing” the market average, while accounting for 4.8% of total industry sales across all its dealers and distributors. “It’s the best time to open Centrale,” he quipped.

Speaking to “Velocity” in an exclusive interview, the executive explained, “We will have our halo models and models of focus… the (displays) will always be changing.” The edifice is envisioned to showcase at least four vehicles per brand, and also houses the head office of AC Motors. Added Mr. Zara, “What sets AC Motors Centrale apart, aside from being able to house all our brands under a single roof, and giving customers the ability to choose the vehicle that best suits their needs from a wide range of models, is that we take this experience to the next level by offering AC Motors’ new used car program, AC Motors Trade+, which opens up a whole new world of enterprise and ownership opportunities for our customers.”

AC Motors Trade+ is clearly a calculated bid to realize an additional revenue stream for the company as well. The auction-based service — powered by the technology of established auto portal ZigWheels Philippines and the dealer market of second-hand car specialist Carmudi Philippines — streamlines the process of selling used cars for new buyers and existing owners into a “five-day turnaround time from inspection, to auction, and payment.” The facility is open to any brand of vehicle — even those outside the ambit of AC Motors.

In addition, AC Motors leverages the natural synergies it can access as part of the considerable girth of the Ayala Group. Aside from the AC Motors Fleet program, participants get to join the Ayala Rewards Circle and the Ayala Enterprise Circle for small and medium enterprises and large corporations.

This all stitches onto the bigger picture of seamless digitization that AC Motors is further building on as “one of the most digitized dealer networks.” The company has revealed that as much as 45% of current sales have been completed through its many online portals — providing a transparent, efficient experience for customers. All the brands featured in AC Motors Centrale have their own comfortable place in the facility’s footprint — with each niche executed and styled in consonance with the most current corporate image.

Also, it’s pretty apparent to the company that the future will not only be digital, but increasingly electric. Declared Mr. Tan, “AC Industrials is fully committed to support AC Motors as it plays a pivotal role entering the next stage of mobility — electrification. This venue will become a part of our sustainable electric vehicle ecosystem, allowing our customers to comfortably enjoy the EV (electric vehicle) models which we will soon be introducing.”

Among AC Motors’ own brands, Volkswagen and Kia in particular have been making a lot of noise in the EV space, and have been globally rolling out relevant models in this genre. Mr. Zara told “Velocity” that we can expect electric vehicles from AC Motors “maybe sooner than everyone expects.”

“The volume would not be much,” he clarified. “But we need to start somewhere, right? And Ayala is not only about electrification in mobility. The group has committed to being net-zero carbon by 2050. And how can we in AC Motors not contribute to this?”

The executive expressed excitement over Republic Act 11697 or the Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act (EVIDA) which lapsed into law last April. As reported in a BusinessWorld article by Bjorn Biel M. Beltran, the law “outlines the regulatory framework for the manufacturing and adoption of EVs, and includes quotas for their adoption by various industries such as cargo logistics, food delivery companies, tour agencies, and utilities providers.” This thus gives a significant push and impetus for more to go electric.

“Government is obviously moving toward promoting electrification… I would think we are ready. The pain had always been about range, but range of vehicles are becoming greater,” stated Mr. Zara. “We are also working with our chairman and CEO Art (Tan), who is working (with companies on charging stations).”

And, for sure, once these electric vehicles of AC Motors-distributed brands arrive, they will most likely be launched and on display at AC Motors Centrale.

It is, as that movie line goes, inevitable.