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June 9, 2020

Another Chinese Brand is Set to Enter the Philippines

Just when you think you’ve memorized all the Chinese brands in the country, get ready for a new one: Changan.

If the name sounds familiar, it should be. Changan has had a particularly interesting ride in the Philippine market. It was once “Chana,” brought in (in both passenger car and light commercial vehicle flavors) by Focus Ventures, before almost being brought in at one point by Motor Image Pilipinas. Eventually it changed hands to Berjaya Auto Asia, which opted to just bring in the light commercial vehicle (LCV) line-up.

However, with Berjaya Auto Asia announcing a name switch to Kaicene effective this July, this added further speculation that Changan is once again bringing in its passenger car line-up albeit through a different distributor.

That distributor, according to a source, is the same one behind Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc.—the distributor of Hyundai passenger cars and commercial vehicles in the country.

There were whispers as early as January when dealer principals were invited to look at Changan Philippines’s business case. Plans were also underway for a courtesy call to the headquarters in Chongqing, China; the visit never happened due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Be that as it may, it seems Changan’s Philippine expansion will still push through in the next few months.

Changan is one of the “Big Four” Chinese brands and is China’s second most popular car brand.

Locally, the division between Berjaya Auto Asia and Changan’s new distributor will likely be drawn based on whether it’s classified as a passenger car or light commercial vehicle. With that, vehicles that carry the Star Trek-like “A” logo will be distributed by Berjaya Auto Asia, while vehicles that have the “V” logo will be distributed by the new company.

A quick view at the Changan global portfolio shows that the new distributor will have 13 models to choose from including those with rather peculiar or unpronounceable names: Raeton, Eado, and Alsvin. They also have a full range of SUV with alphanumeric names.

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