VW says China sourcing makes sense for PH

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    ESTRELLA

    Coupled with a brand refresh that focuses on flexibility and versatility, Volkswagen Philippines is making its vehicle lineup more accessible to Filipino buyers.

    At a media roundtable over the weekend, company president Felipe Estrella explained Volkswagen Philippines’ China sourcing strategy “makes sense” as it gives Filipino buyers access to vehicles of the same quality at less or no “friction cost.”

    He was referring to a relatively lower duty if vehicles are sourced from China than if they are sourced from Europe.

    “We are not shortchanging our customers by bringing in products from China.

    On the contrary we’re … giv(ing) them more value… In the Volkswagen world, regardless of what the source is, (a Volkswagen) is built (with) the same standards, built in the same quality,” said Estrella.

    “There is more value to the products we are offering now than the products we had before… the only factor that is influencing value discrepancy is friction cost, it is not the type of market, it’s not even the engineering, it’s not even technology. Why would you pay 1.3 times or 130 percent more for the same product you can get at a lower price?,” Estrella added.

    When asked why the company has not been re-offering more popular models like the Beetle and the Polo in the local market, Estrella said this matter is part ongoing discussions.

    “It’s actually seen as a positive when a market has access to a product that is not otherwise available in other markets,” referring to models like the Santana and Lamando.

    China is the largest market for Volkswagen.

    When asked about the decision to shift to lower priced-vehicles, Estrella said: “We may be on the lower end of the price spectrum right now with our sedan lineup (but this) “does not necessarily mean that we will not have vehicles at higher price points.”

    He cited the T-Cross subcompact sport utility vehicle as an example of a Volkswagen that is coming in at an “aggressive” price point. Other models are being planned for launch this year. – Irma Isip