Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Korean carmaker SsangYong is back in the Philippines!

A couple of weeks ago, we were tipped off that SsangYong, a Korean car brand that was previously sold in the Philippines (as far as we know) solely through Wheels, Inc., was coming back to the Philippines via Berjaya Auto Philippines, the same company that successfully took over the distribution of Mazda vehicles in the country from Ford Philippines. Unfortunately, our contacts from within Berjaya Auto Philippines were mum on the matter, and since we're not one to spread unfounded rumors, we never reported it here.

Well, at a press conference yesterday hosted by Berjaya Auto Philippines, it finally confirmed that it is taking over the SsangYong brand in the country. Tasked to head the newly-founded SsangYong Berjaya Motor Philippines Inc. is David Macasadia, a 25-year automotive industry veteran who will be leaving his post as as the after-sales director of Mazda Philippines to take charge of the Korean carmaker's local operations as its managing director.

According to Macasadia, SsangYong Philippines will initially introduce three models to the market: the SsangYong Korando compact SUV; the SsangYong Rodius MPV; and the SsangYong Tivoli subcompact crossover which was launched only a year ago in its home market of Korea. All three models are due to arrive on our shores in April and will be sold in four dealerships: two in Metro Manila, one in Visayas, and one in Mindanao. SsangYong Philippines does plan to introduce more models locally from the Korean carmaker in the future.

SsangYong's return to the Philippine market is also timely with the approval of the ASEAN-Korea Free Trade Agreement as reported by recently which, Macasadia confirmed, will bring down the taxes and duties levied on Korean-made vehicles from 20% to just 5%.

Of course, we had to ask Macasadia if SsangYong Philippines will provide after-market support for the SsangYong units that were sold by the previous distributor.

"We will because these are still SsangYong vehicles,"shared Macasadia, "but they (the vehicle owners) will have to wait for the parts because these are all old units that we don't readily support."

On another note, though SsangYong's reentry into the Philippines via Berjaya was kept very hush-hush until yesterday's press conference, it was really right under our noses all along. In Berjaya Philippines' annual report for 2015 which was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission last August 13, 2015, corporate treasurer Tan Eng Hwa and assistant corporate secretary Marie Lourdes Sia-Bernas are listed as officers of Ssangyong Berjaya Motor Philippines, Inc.

Welcome (back) to the Philippines, SsangYong Motor Company!

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