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October 23, 2012

Peugeot Roars Back into Philippines

Honed and perfected through more than a century of experience, Peugeot automobiles have become a synergy of style and technology epitomized by its tag line of “Motion & Emotion”. What started out as a manufacturer of bicycles has become Europe’s second largest selling automobile brand and the world’s leading producer of diesel engines. With such a reputation, Peugeot is surely a force to be reckoned with, and all they need is the best local partner to grow the business in the Philippines. That partner has arrived through Eurobrands Distributors, Inc. and now they are setting their sights on leading the luxury car segment.

A part of the Columbian Group of Companies, Peugeot joins the holding company’s exclusive distribution of two other global brands and uniquely combines high-end exclusivity with practicality and affordability. At the helm of the Columbian Group of Companies is Jose Ch. Alvarez, Chairman Emeritus with Johnny T. Hernandez serving as Chairman, and Felix J. Mabilog as President and COO.

According to Mr. Mabilog, Peugeot sets itself apart by addressing two major global concerns: fuel efficiency and environmental friendliness. Thanks to its revolutionary e-HDI Micro-Hybrid technology, Peugeot engines can cut fuel consumption as much as 15 percent and reduce 5 g/km in CO2 emissions. The e-HDI technology features a new generation automatic start/stop feature that automatically switches off the engine when stationary and combined with an advanced Reverse Alternator system allows for quick and seamless shutdown and start-up. This technology is standard on the local line of Peugeot cars equipped with the 1.6-liter diesel engine. All Peugeot models equipped with diesel engines also come with Particular Filter System to significantly cut emission levels.

Marc Bocque, Peugeot’s International Communications and External Relations Manager stresses the importance of Peugeot’s expansion in developing markets such as Asia, Russia, and South America. In fact, as of 2011, 48 percent of sales happen outside Western Europe, making markets such as the Philippines a great untapped potential. Their unique “French Touch” has given rise to “2020 Vision” which aims to develop Peugeot into a strong global brand with a great emotional connection as well as cutting-edge technology. Lionel Faugeres, General Director of Peugeot ASEAN Operations, reiterates the importance of emerging markets to the French automaker. The regional sales office in Shanghai currently employs 1,000 people with regional sales reaching 10,000 units per month. Eventually, the company hopes to triple this figure in the near future.

Locally, Eurobrands Distributors, Inc. aims to present itself as a bonafide luxury brand with no less than four introductory models: the 3008 crossover, 508 mid-sized sedan, 5008 MPV, and RCZ sports car.

The 3008 is positioned as a dynamic blend of SUV, MPV, and hatchback. It’s powered by a choice between a 1.6-liter and a 2.0-liter diesel engine mated to either a six-speed automatically controlled manual or a six-speed automatic. Features of the 3008 include 17-inch alloys, a panoramic sunroof, automatic climate control, and rain-sensing wipers. The 508 has the same 115 horsepower or 163 horsepower engine but in a shapely sedan body. The 508 is elegant and timeless with only the choicest materials used in its interior. It ups the luxury factory by having a heads-up display, 18-inch alloy wheels, and an eight-speaker system as standard. The range-topping model even comes with a four-zone climate control and automated parking assist. Meanwhile, the 5008 is perfect for upscale families on the go with a seven-seating capacity, available headrest-integrated LCD screens complete with two Bluetooth headphones and rear window shades. It is also the segment’s safest with radar-based Distance Alert and a multitude of safety features. Lastly, the RCZ sports car serves as Peugeot’s flagship. The best-selling car in its class, this turbocharged, 156 horsepower coupe features a unique “bubble” rear glass. It also has standard 19-inch alloy wheels, full-grain leather seating, a JBL audio system, and an automatic pop-up rear spoiler

Although pricing is yet to be finalized, early indications point that the Peugeot models will range from P 1,480,000 to P 1,780,000 for the 3008; P 1,780,000 to P 1,980,000 for the 508; P 1,680,000 to P 1,880,000 for the 5008; and P 2,580,000 for the RCZ. Eurobrands Distributors, Inc. believes this makes their model range highly competitive and plans to open 12 dealerships across the country underlie this. In fact, eight dealerships are already in various stages of construction and will be operational by the end of this year. All in all, Peugeot expects to sell between 2,000-3,000 units per year with a goal of reaching 10,000 accumulated sales by the end of the third year.

“We at Eurobrands are convinced we have in Peugeot one of the finest cars available in the market today. We believe that out Peugeot models can strongly compete with any brand in their class in style, quality, innovation, and would you believe, even in price,” says Mr. Mabilog.

Those certainly sound like fighting words, and if Mr. Mabilog is to be taken seriously, Peugeot is positioning itself to eat a good chunk of the Philippine car market. Only time will tell whether that can be done or not. However, there’s no denying that Peugeot is back and will be around for a long time to come.

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