Ayala Corporation, through its automotive subsidiary AC Industrial Technology Holdings Inc., has successfully signed an agreement to exclusively distribute Kia cars in the country. Earlier this year, Ayala announced its plan of distributing Kia cars locally. Kia Motors is a South Korean car manufacturer formerly distributed by Columbian Autocar Corporation.
This move, which aims to reestablish the Kia brand in the Philippines, makes AC Industrials as the major stockholder for the South Korean brand. As the word ‘major’ suggests, Ayala’s subsidiary company is not the sole distributor. Kia’s former distributor, Columbian Autocar Corp. and AC Industrials signed an agreement forming a joint venture in rebranding the South Korean brand.
Kia Motors has been around in the industry since 1944, successfully selling 2.76 million units in 185 countries in 2017. It became an affiliate of the Hyundai Motor Group in 1998, and is now considered as the third largest automaker in the world, collectively. The Hyundai-Kia partnership was able to produce 7.25 million vehicles worldwide as of last year. Now, the two companies are busy developing their technologies, including a solar roof for future models.
According to news, the relaunch will take place this coming January 2019. Ayala chairman and CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala said that being the major stockholder for Kia Motors will enhance AC Industrials’ position in the local automotive scene. Meanwhile, Kia Motor Seoul headquarters’ executive vice president and COO Ho-Sung Song said this marks the beginning where Kia brings in refreshed and more competitive lineup, as well as improved sales and service experience. So, is the 2019 Soul part of this plan? Well, we’ll see.
Kia is the sixth brand under AC Industrials’ dealership unit, AC Automotive. Other car brands under it are Volkswagen, Isuzu, and Honda. Aside from those, it also distributes motorcycles from the KTM brand, which is also apart from operating 27 company-owned and 30 third-party-owned dealerships. In September 2018, the AC Automotive secured a partnership with China’s largest automaker SAIC, for distributing Maxus commercial vehicles in 2019.