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Manila Auto Show 2013 Part 3: Jeepney Special Report

Manila Jeepney1Good old me proudly posing next to “Jesus loves you” the Jeepney…

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This is Part 3 of 3 special reports on the Manila International Auto Show 2013. You can check Part 1 – an overview of the Filipino car market and its perspectives for the near future here and Part 2 – Has the time come for Chinese manufacturers in the Philippines? here. Last but not least, I am now introducing the much-anticipated special photo/video Report on the world-famous Jeepneys that crawl the streets of Manila.

First a bit of history. Our friend Wikipedia says Jeepneys were originally made from US military jeeps left over from World War II. The word jeepney came from the combination of the words “jeep” and “jitney”, a small bus that carries passengers on a regular route with flexible schedule.

Manila Jeepney8b“Virgin Mary”

The original jeepneys were refurbished military jeeps by Willys & Ford. Modern Jeepneys are now produced with surplus engines and parts coming from Japan. My faithful Loney Planet guide said you are bound to lose yourself on your first couple of trips in a Jeepney… Well.

Manila Jeepney3“Capri Conn”

You see directions are written on the Jeepney itself but are pretty confusing to understand as the same street can have 3 different names… In spite of the elements conspiring against me, my first Jeepney trip was perfect – probably because I asked the driver to tell me where to get off. The following two trips: not so much. But that’s the whole fun of it!

Manila Jeepney10“3 Brothers” with happy passengers

One ride from/to anywhere in Manila costs just 8 Pesos (20 cents) and can last up to an hour depending on the traffic. So lots of photo opportunities and a truly amazing experience, which I strongly recommend to any of you readers that have decided to travel to the Philippines. Much better (and much cheaper) than travelling in a taxi, trust me on that one!

Now to the Jeepneys’ sound…

See the full article featuring 23 photos and 2 videos below.

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Manila Auto Show 2013 Part 2: Has the time come for Chinese manufacturers?

Manila Auto Show Chery1Can’t be clearer…

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This is Part 2 of 3 special reports on the Manila International Auto Show 2013. You can check Part 1 – an overview of the Filipino car market and its perspectives for the near future here. Next, let’s focus on the most striking aspect of the Auto Show to me: the space allocated to Chinese manufacturers and their dynamism in the place. Even though Chery first launched in the country in 2007, I have seen absolutely no Chinese cars in the streets of Manila during the 4 days I stayed there. So far, not so good for the Chinese in the Philippines, which makes their dominance at the Show even more interesting.

Manila Auto Show Chery2Good old me with Leon Herrera, CEO of Chery Motors Philippines

I had the privilege to interview Leon Herrera, CEO of Chery Motors Philippines, the brand’s new distributor in the country. For him, “the time has come” for Chery and Chinese manufacturers in the Philippines. Mr Herrera started his career turning the VW Beetle into a roaring success locally in the 70s and 80s, before launching both Hyundai and Kia here. Like in most export markets Chery has entered so far (with the exception of Europe with the Qoros brand), it competes on price. Mr Herrera says “similarly to the Korean when they first appeared locally, we are the cheapest in each category we compete in, but most importantly the technology is now on par”.

Manila Auto Show DongFeng4The Hummer is alive and kicking – as a DongFeng…

Chery resets its presence in the Philippines by launching no less than 4 all-new models this month: the X1 Mini SUV, E5 compact sedan, Fulwin 2 hatchback and QQ3 minicar, all very recent technologies. Mr Herrera sees the most sales potential for the all-new QQ3. At P419,000 or US$10,070 the QQ3 is the cheapest new car on sale in the Philippines (bar the classic QQ3 at P399,000) and “perfect as a first car, for young families, women or students”, says Mr Herrera. With car ownership set to increase sharply over the next few years (see my first report), Mr Herrera does have a point: I saw countless amounts of Hyundai Eon in the streets of Manila during my stay, and the QQ3 is sized similarly.

Manila Auto Show Chery3The Chery Q22 11-seater generated lots of interest from the local press

But it’s the Q22 11-seater LCV that generated by far the most interest from the local press at the Show. Selling for P565,000 or US$13,700 it has no competition price-wise for this size. Remember the smaller Toyota Avanza and Mitsubishi Adventure both ranked within the Top 5 models last year locally, so the potential is there. Mr Herrera confirms: “in the Philippines there is a tradition of extended families living together. When you get married you stay at your parents’ place and when you move out your sister moves in with you and so on. So this is perfect for this type of structure, and also of course for commercial use as a taxicab.”

Manila Auto Show FotonFoton comes in the Philippines all guns blazing

Numbers now. Chery is “aiming at a spot in the Top 5 this year and between 10 and 15% of the market” by 2015, which would place Chery at #3 below only Toyota and Mitsubishi and on par with Hyundai… A very bold target indeed. Mr Guibing Zhang, vice-president of Chery International who I also had the privilege to interview, was a little more cautious. For him, “the priority is to establish a solid foundation in the country and earn the trust of the Filipino consumer as a reliable brand. It’s a step-by-step process”.

Manila Auto Show DongFeng5Good old me with Raymond Tumao, CEO of DongFeng Philippines

I came back a couple days later to check out the public reaction at the Show and the Chery stand was literally flooded by (future?) consumers intrigued by this whole new range of very cheap cars. But Chery was only one of 10 Chinese manufacturers present at the Show. Foton had an impressive display of manliness with leather-clad male and female models posing next to 3 souped-up Thunder pick-ups, making all the other exhibitors at the Show look like teenage girls with ponytails.

See the Full article including Jinbei and JMC studies by clicking on ‘Read more’ below.

Manila Auto Show JMC2JMC logo (bet you didn’t recognise that one!)

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Manila Auto Show 2013 Part 1: Is the Pinoy car market on the verge of explosive growth?

Manila Auto Show1Good old me at the Manila Auto Show yesterday

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Yesterday I had the privilege to attend the Manila International Auto Show thanks to the invitation of Rico Soriano. This is the first of 3 articles dedicated to the Show, the Pinoy car market and its perspectives in the short/medium term through the views of the main actors of the Pinoy car industry.

See Part 2 here: Has the time come for Chinese manufacturers in the Philippines?

Manila Auto Show2Mini girls at the Manila International Auto Show, April 2013

Back to the Pinoy car market. It is a fascinating time for new car sales in the Philippines and during the opening ceremony Lucita Reyes, Executive Director of the Board of Investments of the Philippines, went through a few key figures that make it clearer why the Pinoy car market could well be on the verge of explosive growth in the coming years. First the total figures: in 2012 a record 184,248 new vehicles were sold in the Philippines, a 12% gain over 2011. However car ownership is still extremely low in the country. With a population of over 95 million inhabitants, there are only 33 registered cars for every 1,000 Filipino and the 2012 figures mean that only 2 new vehicles were purchased last year for each 1,000 inhabitant.

Hyundai Accent Philippines April 2013Hyundai Accent and Jeepney in Manila, Philippines April 2013

How does this compare regionally? The 3 main neighbouring car markets are still way ahead of the Philippines but interestingly they have all also broken their all-time record in 2012. Thailand has been the most impressive with a whopping 81% year-on-year growth to 1,436,355 registrations (or 22 per thousand inhabitants), placing it #12 in the world above Italy. Indonesia was up 25% to 1,116,224 units or 5 per thousand and Malaysia was up 5% to 627,753 registrations or 22 per thousand. Both Thailand and Indonesia experienced their first millionaire year in 2012.

Hyundai Eon Philippines April 2013Hyundai Eon in Manila, Philippines April 2013

Lucita Reyes quoted another very important figure…

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