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Saturday, June 8, 2019

Jaguar Land Rover Thinks Philippine Premium Segment Will Go Electric in 3 Years

Despite the uphill challenge facing electrified vehicles in the country (both in the form of hybrid electric and battery electric vehicles), Chris Ward, the newly installed President of Coventry Motors Corporation thinks the time is right for Filipino motorists to adopt the technology.

The head of the country’s exclusive distributor of Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles says he thinks that in the next three years, majority of the premium vehicle segment will offer some sort of electrification built in.

“When I came to the Philippines, I immediately sat down with my Jaguar Land Rover team to see where the market is going,” reveals Mr. Ward. “I wanted to see a general picture of the premium segment—which one was selling and what was not. I was surprised to see that there was no general trend, especially when it came to gas and diesel options. It’s as if sales were driven simply by what the distributors offered.”

Mr. Ward is particularly curious about the high share of diesel sales in the premium segment which is something he doesn’t see elsewhere in the world. That said, diesels are fast becoming passé in the luxury space citing that several brands have already stopped making available diesel variants for sale outside select markets in Europe.

“The adoption of electrification is accelerating. It’s a trend we see globally and it will come here,” he says.

For his part, Mr. Ward is no stranger to introducing electrified vehicles. With his previous employer, he was responsible for introducing to market a Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle or PHEV. And contrary to popular belief, the lack of infrastructure wasn’t the primary hurdle, but it was educating various shareholders such as the government and even the buyers on the merits of electrified vehicles.

“The lack of infrastructure isn’t a big problem in introducing PHEV or BEVs. Quick chargers only cost USD 600 to 1,000 (~ P 31,200 to ~ P 51,920) so we simply bundled them with every PHEV we sold. It’s simply the confusion when it comes to the different electrification technology available that’s the problem.”

With that, Mr. Ward understands he has his work cut out for him. Not only has Jaguar introduced its first all-electric vehicle in the award-winning I-PACE, but moving forward, the British premium brand will come up with more electrified vehicles. And the wait may not be long. Land Rover’s all-new 2020 Range Rover Evoque, whether it’s diesel or gas, is only available with Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle (MHEV)—and it’s making its market debut next week.

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