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Mini Asia chief: Incentives and charging infrastructure among keys to EV intro

By Kap Maceda Aguila

SINGAPORE-BASED Mini Asia Head Kidd Yam, in town last week, underscored the importance of the Philippines to attaining the brand’s aspirations in the region. “It is one of our key markets, and registered one of the highest sales in the region — with close to 31% growth,” he said to members of the media gathered at the flagship Mini BGC dealership in Taguig. Mini Asia oversees the operations of the iconic UK car maker in Southeast Asia (except for Thailand and Malaysia).

Aside from handing Mini Philippines Head Willy Tee Ten a commemorative marker to formally recognize the BGC facility as an official Mini establishment, Mr. Yam outlined the company’s focus areas for the region.

“We want to provide a true, authentic Mini experience for our Mini owners and fans,” he began. He also promised to bring in “editions,” the brand’s way to serve up “authentic individualized character vehicles.” Added Mr. Yam, “Please be patient; there will be some editions that we will be launching this year.”

Finally, on electrification: “All brands are embarking on electrification and, of course, Mini is embarking on (it) across its range. We will transform ourselves into a true electric brand by 2030. From 2030 onwards, all Mini models sold will only be with an electric motor.”

In this regard, “Velocity” asked the executive about when Filipinos will be offered an electrified Mini. “Not this year,” he replied (see boxed item below for more). When asked about factors that determine the decision to roll out an electric Mini in a particular country, he said that these are the presence of government incentives and a more robust charging infrastructure. The plug-in hybrid version of the Mini Countryman is already available in some territories, while the Mini Cooper SE three-door pure-electric has been navigating the streets of Singapore since 2019. The Singaporean government has also already declared a halt to the registration of new internal combustion engine-powered cars and taxis by 2030, and the culling of ICE vehicles altogether come 2040.

Mr. Yam added that Malaysia and Thailand have also rolled out electric Minis — also a result of clear incentives from the state.

He reported that Indonesia and Vietnam notched highest-ever Mini sales in 2022, and that the Philippines achieved high growth as well versus 2021 performance. Based on data from the Philippine Automotive Dealers Association (PADA), Mini Philippines sold a total of 204 units in 2022, with a high of 38 vehicles in December; compare that to 130 units in 2020 and 152 in 2021.

“Year 2023 is going to be an exciting one for Mini globally, and in the Philippines,” said the executive. Aside from the aforementioned editions, Mr. Yam promised to create “engaging experiences to bring the Mini community together, and reignite our commitment to environmental and social sustainability initiatives.”

Added Mr. Tee Ten, “We’re back in BGC, and I hope you love this new facility that we have. It’s simple, elegant, very nice, and very, very Mini. We are delighted to welcome the Mini Asia team to our largest showroom today and look forward to working closely with the team to bring our customers in the Philippines the best that Mini has to offer.”

Designed to be future-proof and electric vehicle-ready, the 753-sq.m. facility boasts a showroom that can display up to four vehicles, and has a large reception area for guests. In addition, a roof deck can serve as venue for brand activations and events. Aside from the actual cars, Mini BGC showcases a lifestyle collection featuring Mini-branded products such as luggage, shirts, jackets, and more. A “quick service” center can handle minor service concerns within; more extensive work and demands will be conducted offsite.

Mr. Yam commented that he sees “more opportunities for growth” in the Philippines as, based on studies, buyers usually purchase a Mini as a second or third car. “We’ll continue to build on that,” he stated.

The Mini BGC Showroom is located at 38th Street corner 11th Avenue Triangle Drive, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City. For more information, contact 0917-622-8600.