A few things are changing in the Philippines’ automotive landscape. Certain norms are being challenged and just like how the Koreans disrupted the market and took sales from top-level manufacturers, the Chinese are doing the same with a similar strategy – by offering automobiles with a handful of attractive features, adequate amounts of attractive styling, and quality that is a far cry from what people expect from the land where everything is made. All of this can be had at a price point that is a fraction of the competition’s, and with cars getting more and more expensive, a well-equipped unit that’s affordable will undoubtedly attract some attention – or even sales.
Most consumers would scoff at a Chinese-made car. There is an undeniable stigma that comes attached to the “Made in China” phrase, and it is a great wall – pun intended – in the way of a sale. That’s not the case anymore, according to our 2019 Q3 industry insights.
It’s business as usual for the industry giants in the country, but the fiercest competition is in the middle half of our top 40 most inquired for brands and nameplates of Q3 2019. One brand towers over the rest, and that’s The Covenant Car Company, Inc.’s Morris Garages, more lovingly known as MG. It placed 9th in our most inquired for brands list, beating out a few European brands and even some Japanese marque manufacturers.
Scattered throughout the top 40 are other Chinese brands as well, such as Foton, BAIC, GAC, and Haima. Just making it to the list, JMC makes it to the 40th slot for the third quarter of 2019. The data that we have is gathered from the traffic generated on our site, and it appears that the consumers are receptive to the marketing efforts put forward by these companies.
This also bleeds into our top 40 nameplates in Q3 2019, where the most-inquired Chinese nameplate is the MG ZS. The model accomplishes a big feat, by placing 17th in our encompassing list. Also, quite a large feat is the second-place finish behind the Ford EcoSport. The ZS overtook the Kona in terms of sales based on our data. No other Chinese car comes close. There is clearly something that the MG ZS is doing right, and it has started a ripple among the other Chinese manufacturers.
Other Chinese brands are capitalizing on the success of the MG brand on the back of the ZS nameplate. The familiar front and distinct rear taillights being a common sight on the road nowadays. We see the likes of GAC releasing the GS3 subcompact crossover to respond to MG’s model. Geely, a returning brand, launched recently with only one nameplate in its lineup, the highly-rated Coolray. Chery also reintroduced itself into the Philippines once again with nothing but crossovers. The formula seems perfect since the TRAIN Law made subcompact crossovers significantly more expensive than before. This put consumers off initially, that is until affordable Chinese brands played their hand by showcasing price tags that were about a million pesos – even less.
On that note, the most popular price bracket that consumers go for on AutoDeal is a car between P1,001,000 and P1,250,000. The sweet spot for most brands sits in this range, and the ZS in its top of the line trim costs P998,888. Crossing over into the 7-digit mark is a big ask for most consumers, but here we have the ZS undercutting a popular price point for most manufacturers. Geely’s Coolray is also hovering around the P1,000,000 mark, as is GAC with its GS3. Pair all of that with marketing efforts and you have a rather potent value proposition for consumers, seeing as the second most popular price bracket is the P751,000 to P1,000,000 range, so there is still something to be had in this part of the market.