By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Hyundai Asia Resources Inc. (HARI), the country’s official and exclusive distributor of Korea’s Hyundai vehicles in the Philippines, is geared for competitive 2019 as it ramped up its e-vehicle line-up, introduced a new flagship SUV model, and an expanding commercial vehicle dealership network.
Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo, HARI president and CEO, said they welcomed the challenges in the market as she expressed confidence to regain its third spot, now occupied by Nissan Philippines, Inc., among car players in the local market.
“With the additions to the Hyundai family (Reina, New Accent, Ioniq Hybrid, etc.), our first-in-the-industry after sales services, and promising new CV business, we are more than confident about regaining our ranking and pulling away from our closest competitors,” said Agudo at the recent Manila International Automotive Show.
Agudo noted that the first two months of the year already gave them a significant market lead with 16 percent increase in sales.
“We have turned the corner and are optimistic that this trend will continue in the coming months. We aim to end the year on a high note,” she said.
The optimism was driven by the introduction of two full electric-vehicles Kona EV (retails at P2.3 million) and Ioniq EV (P1.8 million) and the Ioniq Hybrid (P1.5 million). This triumvirate product line-up has made HARI at the forefront in the local EV market.
Kona, the first fully electric vehicle model in the Philippines to date, is using a lithium-ion polymer battery pack instead of conventional nickel-metal hydride batteries. This provides excellent charge and discharge efficiency, along with outstanding maximum output. Additionally, it weighs less and occupies less space than standard batteries.
“With our full line-up of Hybrid/EV vehicles that fuse high-performance, technology and safety in bold packages, Hyundai is well-poised to be a force in this exciting space,” said Agudo.
HARI is also participating in the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program where the government is allowing 10 percent of the 200,000 PUJs to be EVs. Hyundai will be at the forefront of this revolution – bringing clean and cutting-edge EV technology, Agudo said.
“Electric vehicles are the future of the automotive industry,” said Agudo. In fact, she said, the Hyundai Motor Group will increase the number of its green car models including hybrid electric vehicle (HEV), plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), EV (electric vehicle) and fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) from 13 to 38 by 2025.
Also highlighted at the MIAS was Hyundai flagship SUV model Palisade, which retails at P3.2 million. Tagged as “Always Remarkable,” Palisade epitomizes the Hyundai brand of “Quality Time” with its lavish interior and exterior, and first-of its-class safety features.
For its commercial vehicle segment, Agudo announced they are boosting its performance with the construction of more dedicated CV dealerships.
Agudo prided HARI’s recognition as 2018 Regional Distributor of the Year in the Asia-Pacific/Russia & CIS by Hyundai Motor Company for its outstanding overall performance, besting 25 other distributors.
To make Hyundai bus and trucks more accessible, it opened three dedicated full service CV dealership facilities in Metro Manila and Central Luzon in March this year – Hyundai Trucks and Buses Commonwealth, Hyundai Trucks and Buses Alabang, and Hyundai Trucks and Buses Cabanatuan.
HARI intends to add another seven as part of its goal to establish 20 dedicated CV dealerships by 2020.
“We expect a bullish growth trajectory for our CV business as demand is expected to rise with the government’s ongoing Build Build Build Program. With the rollout of the PUV modernization program, the demand for reliable transport solutions will intensify,” said Agudo. Total sales of Hyundai trucks and buses grew 113.9 percent and 190.3 percent for the year-to-date February 2019 and year-on-year February, respectively.