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April 14, 2023

Astara Philippines Targets At Least 10 Percent Of Philippine Auto Sales

Despite handling two of the Philippines’ fastest growing automotive brands, Astara isn’t quite finished yet. The exclusive distributor of Peugeot and GAC Motor in the country says there’s more to come in the near future.

Jorge Belzunce, Astara managing director for Southern Europe and the Philippines says they will not stop until they achieve a “double-digit percentage” in terms of market share in the Philippines. Putting that into perspective, using the 2022 year-end figures of 352,596 units, it would equate to annual sales of 35,000 units. This would make them the third best-selling distributor right behind Toyota (173,245 units) and Mitsubishi (53,211 units), but above Ford (24,710 units) and Nissan (21,222 units).

With their current brands, Peugeot and GAC Motor, Belzunce realizes it’s a tall order. This is why Astara is keen to bring in more brands into the market. At this point in time, he refuses to confirm which brand or brands they’re bringing in next, but he did hint that it’s among Astara’s current global portfolio. This could mean anything from the Stellantis Group including Dodge, RAM, Fiat, to Chinese brands such as BYD, MG, and Maxus, to Japanese brands such as Subaru, to Korean brand, KG Mobility.

Among these brands, Bulzunce seems personally interested in BYD, particularly how the Chinese brand managed to become a leader in electrified mobility in a short span of time. However, he did flatly say that given the current state of the Philippines’ charging infrastructure, it’s perhaps not the right time yet to bring in a brand that specializes in EVs.

Perhaps a clue lies in what Raoul Picello said separately. Astara Philippines’ managing director says they plan to offer a wide range of vehicles in various segments. Again, he’s pretty happy with Peugeot’s positioning in the “mainstream premium” space, but he thinks there’s still room in the “mainstream space.”

Picello says that GAC Motor’s main advantage over its Chinese competitors is its wide product range. Aside form typical crossovers and sedans, GAC Motor also offers MPVs and large SUVs as well. Their recently launched GS8, for example, is enjoying a two-month wait list—a pleasant surprise for the brand. This insight has led them to believe that entering other segments is viable.

Astara Philippines has already inked a deal to distribute Chengdu Daiyun—a new EV commercial vehicle brand being brought in and assembled by Terrafirma Motors Corporation, a subsidiary of the Columbian Group. Now, a perfect complement to this would most likely be SAIC Motor’s Maxus. Although it’s currently being distributed by Ayala Corporation’s AC Motors, it’s no secret that the brand hasn’t exactly flourished. Adding fuel to the fire, several job openings under SAIC Motor International (and not AC Motors) has been spotted online.

Is Maxus the right addition to Astara Philippines’ product portfolio? What brand do you think they should handle, especially given their target to achieve at least 10 percent market share in the country?


  1. 10% hmmnn its like wishing upon A STAR...maybe in 10 years. Any way goodluck astara, bring here the latest maxus models, ac motors failed coz what they brought here were old/dated models maxus and vw

  2. Maybe in a decade or two they can catch up, maybe...but for now NAH


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