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Car dealers can now ‘be in two places at once’

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CHRISTOPHER Franks, Reynaldo Castellano, Daniel Scott, Arianne Rose David, and RJ David during initial talks for the acquisition of PinoyAutoTrader.com.ph by leading buy and sell website Sulit.

As motorists fume at inopportune road repairs by the Department of Public Works and Highways; DPWH points to local governments for enabling informal settlers blocking passageways; squatters lash out at the continuing rise of commercial establishments; and Dan Brown coins the combination of all these as the “Gates of Hell,” another factor in the metro’s spatial suffocation is forgotten altogether.

There are just more vehicles on the road.

The Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (Campi) reported that 72,988 vehicles were sold in the first five months of 2013 from their dealerships. Such is 23 percent higher than January to May 2012. Campi members are BMW, Columbian Manufacturing Corp. (CMANC), Honda, Isuzu, Kia, Mercedes Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Suzuki, and Toyota.

The Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors (AVID) also stated an increase in vehicle sales from January to March 2013. The 8,298 purchases in that period is 38 percent higher than the same frame in 2012. AVID dealerships include Audi, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, FAW, Foton, Geely, Jaguar, Jeep, Lamborghini, Land Rover, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Porsche, Subaru, Volvo, and Hyundai.

This year’s figures are also a continuation of the upward trend in the automotive industry. Campi data showed that 141,616 vehicles were purchased in 2011 from their dealerships. The following year posted an improvement to 156,649 sales.

Campi president Rommel Gutierrez expects the automotive industry to “smash all previous years’ performances as introduction of new models and promo packages, coupled with low interest rates, will continue to attract consumers.” AVID president Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo concurs, “With the country’s first-ever investment grade rating upgrade, we are poised for another banner year.”

The government is also eyeing the advancement of the automotive industry. The Board of Investments (BOI) reports that there are just 33 registered vehicles for every 1,000 Filipinos, showing great potential for growth.

The BOI also expects the country’s gross domestic product per capita to reach $2,500 this year. “Once this level is surpassed, motorization will set in,” Executive Director Lucita Reyes says.

A rosy outlook heralds opportunities for entrepreneurs—not only car dealers, but also support groups that augment the automotive industry. PinoyAutoTrader.com.ph is one such supplement: seeking to fill the niche of being the online automotive marketplace of choice.

PinoyAutoTrader.com.ph, at its core, is a classifieds website that signals car buyers toward car sellers and vice versa. Development for the website started in August 2011 with a desire “to bridge an online information gap.”

PinoyAutoTrader.com.ph explains that the lacking online presence of most dealerships resulted in failed communication, which then led to lost sales. “Our idea grew from the frustration we experienced trying to find an accurate online resource while searching for a company car (for our previous jobs),” co-founder and chief operating officer Christopher Franks says.

Bannering a vision to become the online marketing tool for dealerships and cyber resource for customers, PinoyAutoTrader.com.ph was launched in November 14, 2012. To date, it has served as the fulfillment of Franks’ statement in a blog post when he quoted and reinforced a Cebu dealer, “Nowadays where competition is tough, online presence is vital in terms of maximizing exposure to your market.”

Presence. Exposure. The words readily provided to dealerships by PinoyAutoTrader.com.ph. Also the terms that led them towards top buy and sell website Sulit.com.ph—or Sulit to them.

“Cars is the biggest category in Sulit; 40 percent of traffic in Sulit goes through cars,” Sulit co-founder and managing director RJ David says. With such figures, David wants to offer more features and intricacies for car buyers and sellers.

But David does not want to mess with the simplicity of Sulit, and so he looked elsewhere and found the features and intricacies of PinoyAutoTrader.com.ph. “I was amazed at the passion they had for making buying and selling of cars online better for Filipinos,” David says.

On July 3, PinoyAutoTrader.com.ph officially announced its acquisition by Sulit and launched its version 2.0. “We believe that Sulit’s resources and strong command of the local online classifieds market will result in PinoyAutoTrader.com.ph becoming the market leader,” co-founder and chief executive officer Daniel Scott says.

According to a March 2013 report, Sulit was the eighth most visited website in the country—just behind Facebook, Google, Yahoo!, and YouTube and even ahead of Twitter. From March 2012 to March 2013, it recorded 289 million page views (from 163 million the previous year), 13 million visitors (from 10 million the previous year), 2 million members (from 1.4 million the previous year).

PinoyAutoTrader.com.ph features include: publicity space, online showrooms and customizable dashboards for dealerships and contact information, direct communication, and vehicle reviews from car magazine C!.

However, the key prospect in PinoyAutoTrader.com.ph and Sulit’s joining of forces is the opportunity for car dealers to “be in two places at once.” “Dealers will have their cars advertised simultaneously on both PinoyAutoTrader.com.ph and Sulit Cars,” Scott says.

After all, amidst the spatial suffocation, being in two places at once just may be what the metro needs.


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Tags: Business , car industry , Department of Public Works and Highways , News , roads



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