Another banner year for BMW
Record sales, opening of more dealerships and a technical school highlight 2012 for German brandBy Joel V. Nigos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
As the year comes to a close, Asian Carmakers Corp. (ACC), the official importer and distributor of BMW in the Philippines, is expected to dominate the luxury automotive segment once again with record sales of its 3 Series and 5 Series which w ere both introduced to the market in 2012.
“BMW did very well in the segments we wanted leadership in. The BMW 5 Series has been the leader in its segment since April, the 3 Series has also regained its spot at the forefront of its segment. Overall, it has been 11 consecutive months of leadership in the luxury segment through our products, which are at the core of our momentum,” says ACC president Maricar Cristobal-Parco.
The BMW 3 Series, its sixth generation model, continued to be the biggest volume driver for BMW, while the 5 Series also ruled its segment with about 50 percent sales growth to date.
The new generation 3 Series also proves to be the best-selling sport sedan, setting a new benchmark in terms of sporting prowess, elegance and comfort. It is bigger than the previous model and it comes in three distinct lines—Sport, Luxury and Modern.
It is indeed a milestone year for ACC and BMW, especially since most luxury brand marketers were cautiously optimistic at the early part of the year. According to Cristobal-Parco, “People were in a wait-and-see attitude during the first half of 2012, but the luxury market didn’t recover as fast as we wanted.”
Despite the fact that the Philippines continued to exhibit a resiliency that defied economic problems for most part of the industrialized world, there were also significant changes taking place in the luxury segment of the motoring industry. “Due to certain factors, people have changed the way they look at luxury vehicles,” Cristobal-Parco says.
“But it’s good that the overall motoring industry is still on an upward trend. Suffice to say, we are grateful for our customer’s loyalty to our products due to the brand’s affinity with quality, durability/reliability and innovations,” she adds.
In 2012, ACC invested in nontraditional media, particularly out-of-home and digital, to boost their marketing efforts in the country. “These have paid off and resulted in our brand reaching out to a wider network of prospects. Also, our ability to cultivate a personalized communication with customers has strengthened our relationship with them,” Cristobal-Parco says.
For example, in May, ACC and BMW launched a major selling campaign by serving as the official mobility sponsor of the 45th ADB Annual Governors’ Meeting held in Manila. A fleet of BMW 5 Series vehicles were used to ferry visiting heads of state to and from the venue.
To strengthen its dealership network, BMW held the groundbreaking ceremony of Auto Allee BMW at the Eton Centris along Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (Edsa), its fourth dealer in Metro Manila, in July.
BMW further expanded its reach in the Visayas region with the launch of its Cebu dealership, Autowelt BMW, and the inauguration of its Bacolod dealership, Autobahn BMW, in September.
Recently, and as part of its program to give back to the community, ACC inaugurated the Jose Ch. Alvarez (JCA) Technology Complex in Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan. This 2.3-hectare facility will be the new home of Xavier University Center for Integrated Technologies (XU-CIT) and is set to become the leading institution for technical education in Northern Mindanao.
“The JCA Technology Complex was conceived out of the need to respond to today’s competitive labor landscape. We need an institution that will train our students in the latest technologies to become top-level technicians, helping them to be part of a competent labor force both here and abroad. This facility hopes to realize that,” said Jose Ch. Alvarez, chair of ACC and Columbian Autocar Corp. (CAC).
With an investment of P72.3 million, the complex, which was built inside the Xavier University campus, will bring BMW’s expertise to the students of Mindanao as part of its partnership with Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan.
It features training classrooms, laboratories, workshops, a canteen, a library, an auditorium, as well as administration offices, and other utilities and services. It will offer extensive skills development programs and the most advanced technical courses and modules aimed at developing technical skills of deserving Filipino students, training them to become the best technicians in the field of industrial and commercial technologies.
There are currently around 600 students who are enrolled in XU-CIT. With the newly constructed facility, the student population is expected to grow more.
The JCA Technology Complex will offer Automotive Technology where students have the option to undergo training in different BMW dealerships, and eventually have the opportunity to be absorbed in the company. The training school will also leverage on the advanced technologies and innovations of BMW so students are guaranteed first-hand training experience from the industry’s best.
ACC will also be donating advanced training modules that will be incorporated in the curriculum of the school.
Looking forward to 2013, Cristobal-Parco says she is confident in the Philippines’ economic outlook, “as the fundamentals are very sound. Influx of money from the OFW sector has been very consistent, and I believe consumer spending will continue to be on the rise.”
She notes, though, that shifting preferences and trends leaning towards fuel-efficient cars with improved engine performance, as well as the rising popularity of connected technologies, will continue to drive consumer taste in 2013. “Which is why I believe the BMW brand is well positioned to continue to lead in the luxury segment as these are already standard features in our products for the past several years now,” she adds.
“The BMW mindset has always been to provide customers sheer driving pleasure, and we have been pushing the envelope in terms of making the latest automotive innovations standard for our discerning target market,” Cristobal-Parco says.
“Our hope is that the European market shows signs of recovery from its ongoing recession. I believe that this affects the worldwide luxury market. I also hope that the elections next year will turn out to be peaceful,” she adds.