British firm Inchcape mulls distribution of mass-market cars in the Philippine market

BRITISH AUTOMOTIVE distributor Inchcape PLC said it is looking at the distribution of mass-market vehicles in the Philippines with its aim to serve all market segments.

“It is our job to make sure that we are bringing the right vehicles that are affordable to the consumers,” Duncan Andrew Tait, chief executive officer of Inchcape, said in an interview with ANC on Wednesday.

He said the company’s recent deal with China’s Changan International Corp. will help it achieve this goal. The deal made the joint venture of Inchcape and CATS Group of Companies the official distributor of the Chinese company’s products.

Last month, Inchcape announced that the joint venture — Inchcape Philippines — will be operating the distributorship of Changan vehicles in the Philippines.

The partnership covers Changan’s Alsvin Sedan, CS35 Plus compact crossover, CS55 Plus compact SUV, UNI-T, and UNI-K.

Changan has continuing investments in new energy vehicles, which are seen to expand its electric vehicle (EV) offering, Inchcape has said.

“We are also now looking at new energy vehicles like hybrids and EVs. And to make sure that they are affordable for the consumers as we bring it into the markets,” said Mr. Tait.

On whether the move to enter the mass market would dilute the luxury branding attached to CATS Group of Companies, Mr. Tait said the company’s job is to “serve all segments of the market and do so successfully for consumers and our automotive manufacturing partners.”

He added that it is just about time for the company to enter the mass market considering the growth in its market share in the Philippines.

“Today we have a reasonable market share in the Philippines. When you look at some markets like Chile, where we have 25% market share, we are able to support consumers from their first ever vehicle right to the point where the consumers are super financially successful and want to move to more luxury vehicles,” he said.

“Our job is to make sure that we can serve for their whole life regardless of where they are in their mobility journey,” he added.

Mr. Tait also said that Inchcape is optimistic about the Philippine market, adding that the company entered the market believing in its medium- and long-term growth

“We don’t enter the market for how we are going to perform in the next month, next quarter, or the next six months. We enter them for the medium- and longer-term,” he said.

“And we are very positive about the market here, with the good gross domestic product growth, 110 million population inside the Philippines, a young vibrant population that bodes well for the future growth of automotive,” he added. — Justine Irish D. Tabile

Neil Banzuelo

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