Home Editors' Picks Chinese car makers bullish on PHL

Chinese car makers bullish on PHL

SAIC Motor Philippines President Felix Jiang speaks at the MG booth. — PHOTO BY DYLAN AFUANG

This year’s edition was a battleground for new and established players from our neighbor in the north

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By Dylan Afuang

AT THE SECOND venue of the 2024 Manila International Auto Show (MIAS), Chinese auto brands further emphasized their serious battle with established firms — most of which come from America, South Korea, and Japan — for market share in the Philippines.

Twenty-one car makers, out of the 29 that participated in the country’s annual motor show, originate from China.

The 19th MIAS was simultaneously held at two venues last April 4 to 7 — one in the show’s traditional venue, World Trade Center, and the other at the SMX Convention Center — both located in Pasay City. A few of the upstarts staged product unveilings at SMX.

Auto marques Hongqi, Hycan, Omoda and Jaecoo, and Seres are a handful of Asian brands that signaled their local arrival at MIAS. They will be competing for market approval against the likes of Foton and MG.

These firms showed what they can offer the local market.

Hycan Philippines boast “competitively priced and premium-quality” vehicles, company Vice-President and Managing Director Bryan Keith Chua told “Velocity.”

Hycan, an EV joint venture brand of the GAC Group and Nio, was established in 2019 and arrived in the country this year. At MIAS, the brand unveiled its Z03 crossover, A06 Plus fastback, and V09 van. These are priced at P1.688 million, P1.788 million, and P3.788 million, respectively.

Seres Motor Philippines boasts “cars that not only move you physically, but also… move the industry toward a more sustainable and intelligent mobility lifestyle,” company Director Kevin Chan stated in his speech at MIAS.

Seres eyes to arrive here within the year, and it produces vehicles with battery electric, hybrid-electric, and electric power with a gas engine that extends range. These come in the form of the brand’s 5, 7, and E5 models, which were showcased.

Sibling brands Omoda and Jaecoo are now here. “Our cars are produced (in compliance) with serious global standards in durability and safety,” affirmed Omoda and Jaecoo General Manager for Eastern Europe and Asia Pacific Jeff Li.

The executive added that with the brands’ five research and development centers worldwide, its products are tailored for the markets in which they are sold. The Omoda 5 and E5 electric SUV, and Jaecoo J7 and J8 luxury SUVs, signify Omoda and Jaecoo Philippines’ establishment.

Local Hongqi distributor EvoXTerra, through President Rashid Delgado, revealed at MIAS new “customer experience initiatives to all and existing Hongqi owners,” such as free maintenance and 24/7 roadside assistance, and the P1.98-million HS3 crossover, the brand’s entry model.

Hongqi was established in its home market in 1958, and last year, the marque arrived locally with EV and ICE models. It opened its first showroom in BGC, Taguig City, and recently, a Manila Bay outlet, the executive added.

Foton and MG, considered to be mainstream Chinese brands here, look not to be outdone.

Foton Motor Philippines, Inc. (FMPI) General Manager Levy Santos unveiled “Foton’s new products that are diverse and meet the mobility needs of Filipinos, from full electric vans, trucks, and hybrid pickup trucks.”

FMPI officially launched the Tunland V7 and V9 pickups powered by mild hybrid diesel, and the Thunder and Transvan HR Cargo boasting battery electric power. Mr. Santos also proudly expressed that the brand’s trucks are “gawa ng Pilipino, para sa Pilipino (made by Filipinos for Filipinos)!”

Distributed by SAIC Motor Philippines, MG occupied the largest stage at SMX as it presented its “diverse roster of cars suited for every kind of Filipino motorist,” as company President Felix Jiang underscored.

MG launched the P1.838-million ZS EV crossover, the P2-million MG4 XPower performance hatchback, and previewed its Mifa 9 electric van. Leading MG’s EV range is the Cyberster sports car, for which order books have been opened.

SAIC Motor also displayed its MG 3 hybrid hatchback, and the gas-powered G50 MPV, 7 sedan, and RX9 SUV.

The company introduced IM Motors, a new premium electric marque under MG’s umbrella. The LS7 crossover represents what it can offer in the premium segment, such as a 42-inch widescreen across the dashboard, high-beam LIDAR for autonomous driving, and zero-gravity seats.

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