BMW, Suzuki expand networkBy Riza T. Olchondra
Philippine Daily Inquirer
BMW importer Asian Carmakers Corp. and Japanese vehicle and motorcycle manufacturer Suzuki Philippines Inc. are opening new dealerships in the Philippines to serve growing demand.
Asian Carmakers executive director for sales and marketing Glen Dasig said a BMW dealership was opening in Bacolod next month, bringing the number of its dealerships to seven. Another one may open in Metro Manila in the first quarter of 2013, he added.
“It’s anecdotal but we have had feedback that clients were holding back purchases earlier this year and are expected to make their purchases in the second half,” he said. Dasig said the recent Asian Development Bank summit in Manila helped boost interest in BMWs, which were among the cars provided to dignitaries.
Suzuki is on a more aggressive sales track. Company president Satoshi Uchida said in an interview that Suzuki had 20 existing dealerships and would be adding five more before the end of the year. Another 5 to 10 may be added in 2013.
“We are opening dealerships all over the Philippines to increase our coverage and help boost sales,” Uchida said.
Suzuki has raised its sales target for this year to 5,500 vehicles, which is 10 percent higher than its original target of 5,000. Among the models it is pushing in the Philippine market is the Kizashi, a sporty sedan set against segment leaders Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.
The company sold about 4,000 units in 2011.
Uchida said the Philippine market showed sustained growth in demand for compact cars that were fuel-efficient and environment-friendly, which was the segment Suzuki had been focused on. Suzuki is, however, exploring new territory with the luxurious yet sporty Kizashi, which was launched this year.
The Japanese vehicle manufacturer had focused on compact and economical cars until recently. The subcompact Swift, the all-purpose APV, the economical SUV Jimny and the value-for-money SUV Vitara are among the company’s popular models.
Suzuki is a member of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (Campi) and is among those expecting better-than-expected sales. This, as improved economic conditions prompt buyers to go ahead with purchases they held back earlier in the year, company officials said at the 4th Philippine International Motor Show.
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