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Kia PH bares plans for the future

Four new vehicles are set to arrive by 2024

Brian Buendia is Kia Philippines' new head. PHOTO BY HANS BOSSHARD

Kia Philippines had quite the jump start in 2018 as AC Motors, its parent company, pushed for the brand’s local launch in as little as two months. At the helm of it all was Manny Aligada, who saw the brand grow all the way to the success it enjoys in the country today.

With the former president soon to retire, Kia Philippines’ new head Brian Buendia and his team have bared to the media the company’s plans moving forward.

After-sales director Rommel Ramos discusses improvements to parts and service availability and experience. PHOTO BY HANS BOSSHARD

Improving brand recognition is a change that can be seen at its 45 dealerships (as of this writing) nationwide. By 2024, the company’s goal is to have 50 dealerships around the country, all with Kia’s new global corporate branding.

Apart from that, the firm seeks to further improve upon customer experience as well. Parts availability has been a problem in the past, but a massive five-fold increase in inventory and a partnership with the courier service Entrego aim to make the parts-purchasing process properly smooth.

AC Motors' president for automotive group Antonio Zara III gives a glimpse into the electric vehicle future in the Philippines. PHOTO BY HANS BOSSHARD

It’s this support with Kia being under the Ayala umbrella that’s hoped to further progress the company’s endeavors moving forward. With the EV revolution underway, both the hardware and software aspects of electrification benefit from the breadth of industries that Ayala Corporation carries from hardware and software to telecommunications, fintech, energy and even real estate.

Product planning officer Aila Peñaflor shows what new vehicles and features are in store for us soon. PHOTO BY HANS BOSSHARD

And Kia is getting ready to bring in four new vehicles by 2024: a brand-new battery-electric vehicle, a hybrid, a new ICE model, and a refresh of a current model. The company also plans to launch its own connectivity suite, Kia Connect, soon. This would enable control of customer vehicles through an app, and likewise be able to give pertinent information back to the user by means of the vehicle communicating through the cellular network.

Fourteen percent of vehicles sold in 2027 are forecasted to be EVs. GRAPHIC FROM KIA PHILIPPINES

It’s an especially interesting future ahead as electric vehicles make their way into the market. The EV6 kicked things off for the brand locally, but, as AC Motors explains, it is simply the tip of the iceberg. Internally commissioned industry forecasts claim a 14% EV market share by 2027, with BEVs overtaking hybrids as early as 2024. While it may seem quite daunting at first, our neighbors in ASEAN and Asia-Pacific as a whole are starting to set targets to go full-electric, so such figures may not be too far-fetched.

National sales head John Dahlen presents industry and sales projections. PHOTO BY HANS BOSSHARD

For now, however, Kia Philippines’ sales are expected to continue to grow since the pandemic slump. The Philippine automotive industry as a whole is forecasted to sell some 407,000 vehicles in 2023, and Kia has sold some 2,100 vehicles since January of this year.

Outgoing president Manny Aligada gives a few remarks on the past, the present, and the future of Kia Philippines. PHOTOS BY HANS BOSSHARD

It then seems as though it’s not merely the leadership at Kia Philippines that is getting a shake-up, as the motoring industry as a whole navigates its way through the advent of the electrified vehicle. One thing’s for sure, though: The brand’s new leader has his work cut out for him.

Hans Bosshard

Hans is the ultimate commuter: He drives a car and he rides a bicycle. He also likes tinkering with mechanical stuff.