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Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Subaru PH to Freeze Dealer Expansion Plans But Expect Sales to Triple in 2021


Two years ago, Motor Image Pilipinas announced an ambitious plan to expand its network of authorized dealerships from the current count of 17 to 34 within the next two years. Putting that into perspective, it will be close to double segment rival Mazda’s 20, and closer to Honda Cars’s footprint of, at the time, 37 dealerships (it now currently stands at 35).

The pandemic-related economic slowdown, however, has put a stop to those plans. For 2021 onward, Tan Chong International Deputy Chairman and Managing Director Glenn Tan revealed that they will be sticking to their current roster of dealerships for now.

“This year has been tough, and we understand the situation of our authorized dealers,” says Mr. Tan. “This year, we have managed our inventory, and also offered them support. For 2021, we are extending it by loosening their quotas to help them recover.”

Mr. Tan was quick to say though that if any of their dealers would want to expand their footprint, they’ll be allowed. However, Motor Image will not be accepting new applications who are outside their current roster of dealer groups.

The authorized distributor of Subaru though is bullish on their prospects next year. With the announcement of six all-new or refreshed models to hit the local market in the next 18 months, they expect annual sales to hit 1,500 units. While this is a 50 percent decline from their usual 3,000-4,000-unit target, it is better than their 2020 figure which stands at 450 (year-to-date as of October).

In particular, the much-awaited Subaru Evoltis (aka Ascent) has been well-received. The delay of its launch plans didn’t hamper enthusiasm surrounding the 7-seater SUV. Motor Image says that the first batch of units are already spoken for, and this is even before customers know the exact price and specs (Mr. Tan did say it’ll be priced below P 4 million). The Evoltis is now scheduled for a Q1 2021 launch.

Aside from the Evoltis, Subaru will be launching the all-new Outback, Subaru BRZ, Levorg, and WRX, as well as the refreshed Subaru XV.

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