EVEN as vehicle sales declined by 52 percent year-on-year as a result of the pandemic, Korean car maker Kia Philippines sees the bright light coming from the rise of the new “hometrepreneur” and the difficulty of public transportation.
Kia Philippines President Manny Aligada said that his company sees various opportunities for growth and a way for his company to contribute to the local economy—even with the cautious lending of bank institutions and dealerships challenged to generate volume along with the burden of fixed overhead costs—that are seen to dampen the industry’s overall performance.
“The coronavirus and lockdown may have taken their toll on the local and global economy. Yet, we at Kia Philippines, are confident that we will overcome these with sales and aftersales initiatives, continuous expansion of our dealer network, entering into the digital age with a virtual showroom, and an unboxing of an all-new model,” Aligada said in a virtual press conference with local motoring journalists.
While the automaker currently sits at the 10th spot in the sales rankings, some of its vehicles are seen as being in tune with the new normal way of life. Affordable personal transport is on the rise in the face of difficulties in public transportation. Easy acquisition of these small, compact vehicles is the key to availability and affordability. The Kia Picanto is now available at an unbeatable P1,000 down payment while the Soluto with a P40,000 discount.
When asked how he sees the industry was going to jump from the major, pandemic-instigated losses, Aligada confidently said that he believed that every car maker was going to apply strategies, from digitalization of the business, to financing and pricing packages that will not simply entice sales but answer new demands.
“There are new demands created by the pandemic. That is the opportunity I was talking about…for example, the quarantine created new entrepreneurs from their houses who supplied cooked food, baked good, fresh produce delivered to homes. This is the business direction that is happening, not only in the short term. Businesses that evolve from this opportunity usually last,” the Kia President said connecting this observation to the vehicles Kia is offering through special pricing packages.
Aligada sets the K2500 as an example and comments that “it is ideal for delivery and shuttle services for businesses. And now when you buy it, it comes with specially designed plastic barriers that can be easily installed and easily removed.”
He also explains how the plastic dividers are safer than other designs because it does not have any piping or metal supports which may break and turn dangerous in case of a collision. Since it is easy to install or remove—owners can quickly transition from passenger carrier to cargo transporter. The base model of this mini truck can be purchased with a P18,000 downpayment.
Then he goes on to explain how in the midst of the uncertainty of the pandemic, public transportation becomes a great risk. His theory is that due to this condition, there will be more buyers of small footprint, easy to maintain vehicles. He talks about the Picanto which “is available for a mere P1,000 downpayment. Cheaper than a motorcycle,” he said with “much more benefits.”
The Sportage, and Sorento, Rio Hatchback, Forte, Grand Carnival are also available with special financial packages. Performance enthusiasts will marvel at what the Stinger has to offer with a P250,000 cash discount.
Besides its vehicles, Kia PH will have four new dealerships by the 3rd quarter of 2020 in Marikina, Fairview, Isabela, Bonifacio Global City to bring to a total of 34 its dealer sales and service facilities. Four more facilities are planned by the end of 2020 or early 2021.
To further boost its presence and provide better customer service that Promises to Care, all vehicles are backed by a 5-year or 160,000-km warranty and 24/7 Emergency Roadside Assistance. These will be further boosted by upcoming programs such as increasing its parts line-up by four times, and subjecting each dealer to stringent operations standards. The overall objective is to improve the customer experience from the moment they walk into the door to way after the vehicle has been delivered.
Before the year ends, the company will launch its Virtual Showroom and unbox an all-new model, designed to cater to the needs of the Filipino motorists for speedy mobility.
“All these are designed to not only jumpstart our brand but the economy as well,” Aligada concluded as he highlights that businesses should pump prime the economy by creating opportunities for sales and business.”