Monday, September 23, 2013
Volkswagen Reveals Initial Philippine Line-Up, Prices; Launch Celebration this September 28-29.
“Third time’s a charm,” opened Mr. John Philip Orbeta, Chairman and President of Ayala Automotive Holdings Corporation, the parent company of Automobile Central Enterprises, Inc. (ACEI), the newly appointed distributor of Volkswagen vehicles in the Philippines, as he laid down the company’s plans to launch the hotly-anticipated German brand back to the local market.
“We have been preparing and finalizing plans in order to make sure that the brand is successfully launched. The timing is very conducive and the strapline of Volkswagen has always been to become the vehicle of choice for every consumer. We feel that with the introduction of a variety of models as well as the construction of multiple dealerships, complemented with excellent and efficient aftersales service, Volkswagen offers the right choice to the discerning Filipino customer,” he continued.
Indeed, the re-entry of Volkswagen is the single biggest automotive news of the year; after all, who can forget the brand behind iconic vehicles such as the Beetle? ACEI has already whet the appetite of enthusiasts, fans, and potential customers through the brand’s online presence on Facebook (Volkswagen Philippines) and its official website (www.volkswagen.com.ph), but they’re kicking things up a notch with the “People’s Car Celebration”—a weekend long event set to happen at the Ayala Greenbelt Park this Saturday, September 28 to Sunday, September 29, 2013. There, ACEI will display the brand’s initial range of products: the Jetta sedan, Touran MPV, Tiguan compact crossover, and Touareg mid-sized crossover alongside future and potential model offerings such as the Beetle, Scirocco R, Golf MK7, Passat, and Phaeton. The display cars will be scattered all over the Greenbelt Park and Ayala Museum area.
With a weekend foot traffic reaching 160,000, ACEI aims to triple that number through a unique promotion where visitors to the People’s Car Celebration can actually win a brand-new Beetle by simply participating in a special game. Contestants simply need to log-on to ACEI’s new microsite (www.timeforvolkswagen.com) and register. There, contestants will be given a set of questions, the answers of which can be found throughout the People’s Car Celebration exhibit. The filled-up questionnaire is then submitted to the registration counter during the weekend. The winner must be present on Sunday, where he or she stands the chance to win a brand-new Beetle.
The other highlights of the People’s Car Celebration include various showcase highlighting the various facets of the Volkswagen brand including Brand and Heritage Gallery, Think Blue photo booth, mini-concerts at the Volkswagen Plaza, Racing Pavilion, and Innovations Zone.
Coinciding with Volkswagen’s return to the Philippine market, ACEI has announced that its first dealership with commence its operations (“soft opening”) on Saturday, September 28. Their dealership is located along 28th Street in Bonifacio Global City. The next dealership in the pipeline would be in Cebu followed by one in North Metro Manila (likely in the Quezon City area) and another in South Metro Manila (Alabang or Cavite). ACEI also revealed that its vehicle service workshop will be located along Sheridan Street and Pioneer Street in Mandaluyong City. It will soon be open catering to owners including gray market units (though at a premium price point).
Finally, ACEI revealed the initial specifications and prices of Volkswagen’s Philippine line-up which is as follows: Jetta 2.0 TDI 5MT (110 PS, 280 Nm, P 1,295,000); Touran 2.0 TDI 6DSG (110 PS, 280 Nm, P 1,775,000); Tiguan 2.0 TDI 6AT (140 PS, 320 Nm, P 2,109,000); and Touareg V6 TDI 8AT (245 PS, 550 Nm, P 4,290,000). All Volkswagen models sold in the Philippines passes the Euro IV emissions standard.
Noticeably, ACEI’s initial line-up is an all-diesel affair given that Volkswagen AG has failed the local gasoline standards (except the Big Three) due to the presence of manganese—a heavy metal lead substitute that boosts octane. Despite this hurdle, ACEI is working closely with its German headquarters to bring in the famed direct-injection TFSI engines in the country which could happen sometime in 2014.
Though Volkswagen may be limited by the country’s inferior fuel quality, the re-entry of Volkswagen will undoubtedly shake the very core of the Philippine automotive industry. As Mr. Orbeta puts it, “Ayala has always been calculated in every business venture in enters. With Ayala Corporation’s 180 years of experience, we have what it takes to make Volkswagen succeed in the country.” Indeed, Volkswagen promises to be a game-changer in the local automotive market.