Rumors have circulated for over a year now that Volkswagen will be returning to the Philippine market. Fast forward to 2013, and all the rumors have been confirmed. Volkswagen is definitely returning to the Philippines, spearheaded by a new subsidiary of Ayala Corporation known as Automobile Central Enterprise Inc. (ACEI). The ceremony was held in Hong Kong on May 27, 2013 when Weiming Soh, Commercial Operations in Greater China/ASEAN placed his signature on the agreement for the distributorship of Volkswagen in the Philippines with Fernando Zobel de Ayala, President and CEO of Ayala Corporation, and John Philip Orbeta, Chairman and President of Ayala Automotive, and Managing Director of Ayala Corporation.
A Little Bit Of History
Volkswagen first entered in the Philippine market in 1958, with DMG Inc. as the official assembler and distributor. Volkswagen soon became the leading brand, and soon released what is considered the first Filipino car. The Volkswagen Sakbayan, combining the two words “sasakyan” and “bayan”, hinting on Volkswagen’s true reason for its existence, and that is, the “people’s car”. In the 1980s, the difference between the Peso and Euro’s value was so huge, Volkswagen was at a huge disadvantage, especially since it has to compete with lower priced Japanese cars. This resulted to DMG Inc. ceasing its operations. In 1996, Volkswagen returned to the Philippines, and was warmly welcomed by the Filipinos. The Proton Pilipinas factory in Alaminos, Pangasinan was inaugurated, and the Volkswagen Polo and Caravelle was produced. Audis were also supposed to be built at the plant in its near future, but this never happened, as Volkswagen eventually had to throw in the towel again, ceasing yet again the production of the Polo and Caravelle.
Back With A Bang, And Here To Stay
Volkswagen has such a great history if you were to ask me, and their comeback further makes the Volkswagen brand very special for the Filipinos. September 27, 2013 marked the official day of Volkswagen’s entry into the Philippines, with the event taking place at no other than Ayala’s own high end shopping mall, Greenbelt, located in Makati City. Promoted with the tagline “The Time Is Now”, Volkswagen is very serious about the timing of its return to the Philippines. The have no intentions of leaving the Philippines ever again. In order to lay out the message to everybody about how serious they are in staying in the Philippines, Volkswagen has commissioned an agency in China to write an original song. Jonalyn Viray laid the message beautifully to the audience in a beautiful display of pride and emotion to Volkswagen’s return to the Philippines. Children were also on stage to beautifully interpret the message to the audience about how important is Volkswagen’s comeback to the Philippines.
Fun For The Family
The brand launch happened from September 27-29, 2013. There are a lot of activities that the whole family could enjoy. Near the Volkswagen stage is an eco-driven photobooth wherein it will only take a picture if the person in the stationary bike has produced sufficient energy or electricity, promoting Volkswagen’s BlueMotion technology and its environmental responsibility. Also near the stage is a mini track where children can “drive” small Volkswagen Beetles.
For the little artists out there, there is also a coloring area where they can make drawings and artworks that are posted in display panels for everyone to see. If you want to race the Volkswagen Scirocco R, but you aren’t allowed to do so since the Scirocco R on display is for, err, display purposes only, there are iPads in the Racing Pavilion with the Scirocco R 24H Challenge racing application. If you don’t like the Scirocco, as your are probably a Golf GTI fan, a Volkswagen Golf GTI racing application is also available. All these apps are available for free at the Apple App Store. Near the Racing Pavilion is a registration area wherein you can get a questionnaire (which is also done by email, since the competition has been announced days before the event) that tests your knowledge about the Volkswagen brand. Answering and submitting the questionnaire entitles you to one (1) raffle entry to win a brand new Volkswagen Beetle.
Volkswagen fans will love the Brand Gallery. It is bascially the lobby of Ayala Museum with the history of Volkswagen written al over it. It is certainly a blast from the past, featuring the past advertisements and magazine reviews about the cars Volkswagen had to offer. For the Beetle fans out there, Volkswagen Beetle car parts, including its original user’s manual, are displayed around the gallery.
The Stars Of The Show
The stars of the show were of course, the cars. On display are all the models that Volkswagen is now selling at their Bonifacio Global City dealer, namely, the Volkswagen Jetta, Beetle, Touran, Tiguan and Touareg. Also, models that they plan to sell in the near future are on display all around Greenbelt, namely, the Passat, Golf, Beetle Cabriolet, and Scirocco R. A few days before the launch event, Volkswagen revealed the prices of the first batch of vehicles they are currently selling.
Volkswagen Jetta Trendline 2.0 TDI 5-MT: P1,295,000
Volkswagen Touran Comfort Line 2.0 TDI DSG: P1,775,000
Volkswagen Tiguan Trendline 2.0 TDI 6-AT: P2,109,000
Volkswagen Touareg 3.0 TDI V6 8-AT: P4,290,000
Volkswagen Brand Launch In Photos
Volkswagen Scirocco R
Volkswagen is officially back in the Philippines, and they are very serious about their return. Ayala will be sure about it, and nothing will hold them back.
For more information, visit the official website of Volkswagen Philippines.
Top Gear Philippines: Vernon B. Sarne (2013). Volkswagen Philippines Announces Pricing For 1st Batch Of Models. Retrieved September 30, 2013 at http://www.topgear.com.ph/news/industry-news/volkswagen-ph-announces-pricing-for-1st-batch-of-models
Top Gear Philippines: Vernon B. Sarne (2013). Back In A Big Way: Volkswagen Declares Time To Return To PH Is Now. Retrieved September 30, 2013 at http://www.topgear.com.ph/news/industry-news/back-in-a-big-way-volkswagen-declares-time-to-return-to-ph-is-now