In their first full year as the distributors of Kia, AC Motors, a wholly-owned company of Ayala Corporation saw its sales rise to 5,019 units compared to 2,238 units in 2018. The 124 percent increase is, undoubtedly, spectacular, but still a far cry from the projected 10,000-unit per annum sales they mentioned at the start of 2019.
According to Manny Aligada, President of KP Motors Corporation, the newly-formed company within AC Motors that now distributes Kia, the brand experienced some unexpected head winds. Nonetheless, he praises his team for battening down the hatches to produce a good full-year result.
When Ayala took over the ailing Korean brand from its previous distributor, it must be recalled that Mr. Aligada said that his priority lay in strengthening their relationship with both banking and dealer partners.
The first part, he says, has been accomplished. This has helped Kia tap into a broader market where a majority opt for financing over straight cash transactions. This has helped Kia offer competitive low all-in downpayment schemes at par, or even better than what’s currently in the market.
The second part, he says, admittedly is where they’ve encountered some difficulties. Throughout their first year, Mr. Aligada took it upon himself to build a stronger, more personal bond with their dealer partners. With the distributorship changing hands, some dealers opted not to renew their respective franchises. The decision of these dealers to split was painful for Kia, so now the task is to once again strengthen the nationwide dealer network. This is the focus of his team in 2020.
Once this is done, Kia’s progress will no doubt accelerate says Mr. Aligada.
Together with products that compete in the high growth segments of the Philippine automotive industry (except pickup trucks), Mr. Aligada is confident that Kia’s 5,000-unit 2019 performance wasn’t a fluke. Now, if the performance of the Soluto and the Seltos are any indication, things are on the right track. The Soluto’s full-year 2019 performance stands at 2,579 units sold, while the Seltos, despite being launched just last November, managed to move 324 examples.
Kia Philippines 2019 Sales (% of Total Sales)
- Kia Soluto / Sub-compact Sedan: 2,579 (51.4 percent)
- Kia K2500 /Light-duty Truck: 1,060 (21.1 percent)
- Kia Carnival / Medium MPV: 637 (12.7 percent)
- Kia Seltos / Sub-compact SUV: 324 (6.5 percent)
- Kia Picanto / Sub-compact Hatchback: 205 (4.1 percent)
- Kia Sportage / Compact SUV: 73 (1.5 percent)
- Kia Sorento / Mid-sized SUV: 48 (1.0 percent)
- Kia Rio Hatchback / Sub-compact Hatchback: 32 (0.6 percent)
- Kia Soul / Sub-compact SUV: 32 (0.6 percent)
- Kia Stinger / Executive Sedan: 22 (0.4 percent)
- Kia Forte / Compact Sedan: 7 (0.1 percent)