Former Nissan PH chief joins Ayala’s car group

    AC Industrials positions AC Motors for renewed growth

    Starting October 1, veteran automotive executive Antonio “Toti” Zara III will join AC Motors as president of its automotive business unit.

    Zara’s vast automotive industry experience spans over 3 decades and includes stints with General Motors, Nissan, and Toyota. His last assignment was with GT Capital running several Toyota dealerships.

    Zara’s deep involvement in both the local and regional automotive business will be a huge advantage for the AC Motors group comprised of the Honda, Isuzu, Kia, Volkswagen, and Maxus brands.

    “Toti brings with him 30 years of experience in the global and local automotive industry covering service, sales, and marketing functions. We welcome his experience and hope he can add fresh and innovative perspectives to help accelerate the strategies we have set forth and started in order to navigate this crisis and take advantage of the long-term trends that continue to drive the industry’s evolution,” AC Industrials Chairman and CEO Arthur Tan said.

    Tan will continue to serve as Chairman and CEO of the various companies under the AC Motors’ umbrella, while Zara will also serve as head of the different dealerships.

    In 2014, Zara was largely credited to have helped resurrect Nissan’s business in the Philippines, when its two distinct manufacturing and distributorships were combined under then, a new company, Nissan Philippines Inc.  Two years later Nissan headquarters assigned him to Nissan Indonesia as president. He was then promoted to general manager at Nissan Motor Corporation in Japan a year later. He returned after his tour of duty, rejoining Toyota via GT Capital in 2018.

    AC Motors announced the organizational and executive movements to position the latter to move past the current pandemic and prime itself for future growth. Moving forward, AC Motors will organize itself into two distinct businesses – automotive and motorcycle – to allow the group to capitalize on the unique growth opportunities in each sector.


    Manny Aligada will continue to serve as President of the Kia distributorship under the KP Motors Corporation, while Felipe Estrella will likewise continue as President of Automobile Central Enterprise, the distributor company for the Volkswagen and Maxus distributorship businesses.

    Dino Santos, meanwhile, will transition to lead and focus on AC Motors’ motorcycle group as it forges its own path as a major player in the two-wheel space. The motorcycle division currently houses the manufacturing, distribution, and retail operations of the KTM and Husqvarna brands.

    AC Industrials is Ayala Corporation’s wholly-owned industrial technologies arm and direct parent of the group’s vehicle distribution & retail dealerships division.


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