Philippines' commercial vehicle segment is about to get tighter this year, as one of Russia's leading van and truck manufacturer GAZ has arrived in the Philippines. GAZ, in an agreement with the Eastern Petroleum, will supply industrial and commercial vehicles in the country, specifically vans, buses, and cargo trucks.
GAZ, short for Gorkovsky Avtomobilny Zavod (Gorky Automobile Plant in English) manufactures vehicles for business, public transportation, and industrial vehicles. The company started out in 1932 with technical support from Ford, where the Russian brand based its first model from. The company later on started supplying the Soviet military with cargo and heavy-armored vehicles like the Sadko mid-duty truck.
Included in the agreement between the GAZ and Eastern Petroleum is a plan to support the local government's PUV Modernization Program by supplying Gazelle Next line. This particular light commercial vehicle offers two passenger vehicle variants, a 17- and 19-seater Euro-4 van and minibus, respectively. Imagine commuting to the office, mall, or supermarket in this, rather than the current black smoke-belching, health-risky jeepneys?
"The Philippine commercial vehicle market is growing by 30% annually, and the large-scale Government’s Fleet Modernization Program begins in 2018. We are glad that GAZ Group was able to get such a reliable business partner as Eastern Petroleum that will help us to develop rapidly in the market, and also become a full participant in the state programs for the public transport renewal. Our reliable, safe and comfortable Gazelle Next will appear on the Philippine roads very soon."
Aside from the Gazelle Next, which is the initial focus of the agreement, the brand will also be launching bigger models, such as the Sadko and Gazon Next mid-duty trucks. An Ambulance van is also set to be available in the local market. As a matter of fact, Eastern Petroleum CEO Fernando Martinez claimed that the Russian brand will not only supply vehicles but modern transport solutions for low-mobility commuters.
Meanwhile, we can't help but think whether the Russian brand is also set to supply the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) with personnel and light- to heavy-armored vehicles. Considering that the Sadko cargo truck (originally designed to carry Soviet personnel) will be available, it's quite possible though but that's a different story.
There are no prices yet for the Gazelle Next line, as well as the other models. Price tags are promised to be announced soon and will reflect in our Car Guide.