COURAGEOUS. That is how to best describe Changan Motors Philippines Inc, (CMPI) and its foray into the automotive market at a time of the pandemic.
With an automotive industry in doldrums and literally competing against itself in an ecosystem where Chinese brands are still looked at with concern, sometimes suspicion, relaunching a brand is no easy task. And while car companies retracted or delayed planned new vehicles launches, CMPI bravely comes in with five cars, one each for the most important segments, with surprising features and an even more surprising pricing scheme and dealership network.
“In these challenging times, we need to get on with our lives and move forward. And that requires safe, technology-driven mobility options to bring us to a better normal, a better future. We hope that the introduction of Changan in the Philippines will serve as a shot in the arm for the ailing auto industry,” CMPI president Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo explains.
Changan, is a mouthful. And the names of the cars it will release are difficult to recall by name.
But that poses no problem to Perez-Agudo, who is no stranger to turmoil. She almost singlehandedly resurrected the Hyundai brand, damaged by poor management, a beeline of unserved parts invoices and unfixed vehicles orphaned with the closure of the company that used to handle it locally.
Those who know Fe as the big boss at Hyundai and the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors know that she is relentless in the face of a challenge.
“Many have asked why we are launching a new brand in this challenging environment. The answer is simple–as an industry veteran of 20 years, I strongly believe Changan is a promising brand, a challenger brand with vehicles and services that will excite the Philippine market at this most unexpected time,” Perez-Agudo pointed out.
From what the current Changan line up is, and what Agudo said at the virtual launch of these new cars which includes a fully electric luxury car, it seems that the strategy moved away from just low pricing and focusing on value–in terms of technology, safety, fuel efficiency, and design—plus an already established network of dealers ready to sell and service their vehicles.
“We are planned out well. Notice that our line-up is not only technologically superior at its price points. It’s not just about price points, it is the value that we are offering and the backing that we have that makes the difference,” Agudo said responding to a question in the media forum that followed the virtual launch of the Changan line-up.
Changan is known for its “V” logo and is one of China’s ‘Big Four’ automakers.
It has partnerships with Ford and Mazda and technology transfers are not uncommon. But what separates the brand from other Chinese brands with American or European partners is that in its 158-year tradition of business excellence it has 37 years devoted to vehicle manufacturing, first making trucks for the Chinese army then going on to develop its own cars.
The partnerships with Japanese and American car brands are marriages of convenience. Changan gets to learn, replicate, develop, originate, evaluate its own technologies, while Ford or Mazda has a foot in the door of the world’s biggest automotive market. In China alone, Changan has sold 19 million cars, while globally has it distributed 1.3 million vehicles to markets in Europe, Asia and Africa.
What will the product, pricing and marketing strategies be now that the big guns are handling the Changan?
CMPI’s strategy is precise.
Set up dealers. Make their vehicles available—to be seen—then experienced. Build strong parts and service teams and make customers happy with products that match their needs. This is why right at the start there are 15 dealerships now set up nationwide and another 24 sales outlets that will eventually develop into dealerships. That number will reach 39 dealerships in the next few years.
Agudo mentioned that CMPI is run by an experienced management team and a dealership network led by industry veterans. All of these actions are designed to build trust. And trust is the most important element in the brand-building process, according to Agudo.
“Trust is essential to engage in lasting relationships,” she said adding that it takes conscious effort.
“We are confident about winning the hearts of customers who have an eye for stylish, tech-driven, value-for-money vehicles,” Agudo said as she invited the public to visit Changan dealers launched simultaneously with the introduction of the new cars.
The Changan vehicles all come with a 5-year, 150,000-kilometer warranty and free Preventive Maintenance Services (PMS) for the first year, or up to 20,000 kilometers, whichever comes first. Road testing and lifecycle evaluation mean that every Changan has to complete about 4 million kilometers in test mileage, hurdled 4,500 tests in 15 areas including strength, safety, and environment before development goes into production.
A customer-focused line-up of vehicles
“I am also a believer in offering Filipinos a wider range of product options, and Changan vehicles have that winning combination of intelligent features, trend-setting designs, extensive safety features, and outstanding engine performance. With its attractive price points, motorists no longer need to pay a premium to enjoy premium features,” Agudo comments.
What does she mean?
CMPI launched a clearly curated line-up that moves from the feature-packed but budget-friendly Alsvin subcompact sedan; a midrange subcompact SUV, the CS35 Plus, a larger and tech-filled SUV the CS75 Plus, a necessary family seven-seater mid-size SUV CS95, and the Eado EV460 electric vehicle. Except for the electric vehicle, these cars are squarely positioned in the fast-selling, fast-growing segments of the market. The release of the electric vehicle is a smart and vey calculated move as other carmakers—Nissan, Mitsubishi, Hyundai, BYD—are heading for this electrified future. It is thus not a good choice to be left behind.
Not a new player, but a new attitude
Changan is not new to the Philippines. It was once marketed by Focus Ventures group, and sold vehicles mostly from showrooms in Mandaluyong and Cebu. There was a sprinkling of dealers in between. Changan was called Chana when it was introduced at the Manila International Auto Show in August 2008.
Chana sold a small 1.3-liter car, the Benni, small, bulbous but with an extremely competitive price. It also had commercial vehicles that were favored by small companies and LGUs—the Star II, Rainbow, and Starlight.
In 2018, Changan partnered with Berjaya Motors, distributor of Mazda and Ssangyong in the Philippines to market the small commercial vehicles, including the Honor S and next-generation Star Truck through its Auto Asia dealerships.
There are currently changes in the distribution scheme of the brand in the Philippines. Thus starting immediately, only CMPI will be the country’s official distributor of Changan vehicles. According to sources, Auto Asia will only market a small truck. All passenger cars, SUVs and mini-vans will be under distribution by CMPI.
“We guarantee that once you drive a Changan, it will change your mindset, change the status quo and definitely change your life,” the CMPI chief added also saying that they are also getting ready for a media test drive event as well as a customer-centered test drive and experience activity.
The 2020 Changan line up
The Alsvin Subcompact sedan has all the bells and whistles which include a sunroof, cruise control, blind spot and rear cameras, tire pressure monitoring system, and leather seats.
Feature highlights available in the CS35 Plus are its panoramic sunroof, engine remote start, passive keyless entry, blind spot and rear cameras, 10-inch touchscreen Display, and 7-speed DCT.
The CS75 Plus has a panoramic sunroof, 360° panoramic camera, engine remote start, 12-inch touchscreen, 7-inch digital cluster, cruise control, triple drive modes, and six airbags.
The CS95 features a 2.0L turbocharged GDI engine, 6-Speed automatic transmission, 12.3-inch touchscreen, 10-inch digital instrument cluster, 360° high-definition panoramic camera, and panoramic sunroof.
The Eado EV460, named the best “green” car in China, has all the amenities including six airbags, electric stability control, leather seats, and more.
Changan vehicles come with a 5-year, 150,000-kilometer warranty and free Preventive Maintenance Services (PMS) for the first year, or up to 20,000 kilometers. Each model completed 4 million kilometers in test mileage plus 4,500 tests in 15 areas including strength, safety, and environment.
The Changan brand story
Changan: Driving change towards new and upward mobility
The future of Philippine mobility is here with Changan.
The characters “Chang” and “An” put together mean “Lasting Safety.” This is what the country’s newest automotive player, Changan, offers the Filipino public.
Counted among China’s Top 4 auto brands, with a 158-year tradition of business excellence and 37 years in vehicle manufacturing with global sales of 1.3 M vehicles in 2019 alone, the Changan motoring tradition is not to be trifled with.
From its pioneering mass-produced vehicle, the Changjiang Type 46 jeep, launched in 1958, to its current lineup of future-forward cars, the Changan “V” embodies “victory” and “value” in five key areas of motoring pleasure—innovation, intelligence, quality, design, and sustainability.
Value in innovation. As the “Never-Stop Tech and Care Provider,” Changan is all about affordable yet amazingly value-laden cars born of the company’s yearly investment in product research and development (R&D), amounting to 5% of its annual sales revenue, or about US$1.5 billion (B).
Changan’s global R&D network today spans three continents with a staff of 80,000 from 24 countries: four facilities in China for vehicle engineering, top-billed by the Changan Automobile Global R&D Center in Chongqing; Yokohama, Japan for interior design; Turin, Italy for exterior styling; Birmingham, UK for advanced engine design; Detroit, USA for chassis design and autonomous driving technologies; and Munich, Germany for Intelligent Interaction, and development of new energy vehicles.
For the past decade, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of China has consistently ranked Changan R&D at the top of the country’s highly competitive auto industry.
Value in Quality. There are currently 19 million satisfied Changan customers the world over. And Changan takes pride in having the lowest rate of customer complaints. Every new Changan vehicle has been field tested to ensure that it lasts at least 10 years of use or 260,000 kilometers (km) of travel.
It figures: the company has been mindful about implementing its forward-thinking 4+N Technical concept. “4” pertains to “stylish, intelligent, eco-friendly, and enjoyable” technologies and “N” refers to the numerous fundamental support technologies, such as crash safety, NVH, chassis, and CAE.
Providing solid support for 4+N are “two magic weapons,” the Changan Automobile Product Development System (CA-PDS) and Changan Automobile Test and Verification System (CA-TVS).
CA-PDS covers the product life cycle and accurately guides the product development team to meet customer demands, while CA-TVS ensures durability and performance by subjecting every new model to more than 12,400 tests in 16 areas, including parts verification, system matching, and complete vehicle level, totaling 4,000,000 km of punishing driving conditions.
Product testing takes place at the sprawling Chongqing R&D base which houses the Changan Automobile Comprehensive Test Field, one of the most accurate of its kind in Asia.
And for even more peace of mind, Changan After Sales treats customers like family with quick, efficient, and friendly service, 24/7 from its over 8,700 sales and service outlets in more than 50 countries.
Value in design. With a design team led by over 440 experts of diverse nationalities and creative disciplines, Changan in the past decade has produced more than 10 concept vehicles and 20 mass-production vehicles that have become trendsetters and earned 20 design awards in China and overseas.
In 2011, the Changan Eado sedan burst into the global scene at the Internationale Automobil Ausstellung in Frankfurt, Germany, capturing consumer attention for its dynamic design, ushering a new era for Chinese-branded vehicles. While the concept car of powerful CS95 holds the distinction of being the first China-made vehicle to be inducted to the National Automobile Museum of Turin, one of the world’s oldest automotive museums and dubbed the “dreamland” of car enthusiasts.
Value in intelligent driving. In China, Changan is a pioneer in mass producing intelligent vehicles that seamlessly link phone, car, and home through cloud-based interconnection. Its intelligent strategy, or the Dubhe Plan, envisions to transform Changan from a traditional auto maker to an intelligent travel technology company. Under Dubhe, the company has built its three-stage roadmap for autonomous driving technology: Level I-assisted driving; Level 2-semi-automatic driving; and Level 3-highly automatic driving.
In April 2016, the Changan Raeton completed a 2,000-km super autonomous driving test from Chongqing to Beijing. By 2020, Changan expects to mount Level 3 technology on its serialized models to offer customers intelligent mobility that is safe, personalized, and worry-free.
Value in sustainability. Changan has produced 16 new energy models thus far, including the All-New Eado. Its R&D bases in Chongqing and Beijing are dedicated to developing an entire ecosystem for EV operation.
In 2017, Changan launched its ambitious $US15-B new energy strategy, dubbed the Shangri-La Plan. A year after, the company sold a total of 90,000 of its EV units. In the coming years, Changan aims to expand the production of its new energy product line.
The “Guanxi” of lasting safety. Relationships are everything in China, and guanxi is all about developing trust. Which is what Changan Motors Philippines, Inc. (CMPI), the official distributor of Changan automobiles in the country is set to build with Filipino motorists.