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With a projected 0.6% market share in sales for 2018, we can’t deny the fact that Kia Philippines is facing a major setback this year. Blame it on the rather silent marketing move from the brand locally, or the rumors of an upcoming new management – whatever the reason or reasons are, there’s only one way but up for the South Korean brand.

AC Automotive, under the management of new Kia PH President Manny Aligada, along with Chairman and CEO Arthur Tan, shares the same optimism about the future of the marque. In fact, the company has one goal in mind: more than 10,000 units sold in 2019. While that can be a shocking figure to achieve for a brand that's projected to sell only 2,400+ units this year, Aligada looks like a man with a plan – and he’s generous enough to disclose the blueprint to us motoring journalists.

In a media roundtable held recently, Aligada lays out the company’s plan to revive Kia’s foothold in the tightly-competed automotive market.

Under the wing of the Ayala Group, together with Volkswagen, Honda, Isuzu, and KTM, Kia PH aims to reinforce its foothold in the market. Aligada sees Kia as a strong brand with an equally competitive lineup that can position themselves in each segment, even citing the current position of the brand in the global automotive scene. Currently, Kia cars comprise 60% of the locally available segments – nearly all, sans the commercial vehicles and electric/hybrid segments.

Aligada promises that Kia PH will be in line with the Ayala Group’s branding, carrying the conglomerate’s name with each product it sells. He also recognizes the strength of online marketing – an area that the company will work on, moving forward.

Kia was cited by J.D. Power this year as the brand that satisfies its customers the most at the onset of buying a new car. But Aligada doesn’t want to stop there; he wants to focus on aftersales services as well. In fact, it will be at the forefront of the marque’s offensive for 2019. After all, what good is a car if owning it would be such a hassle. Aligada believes that car ownership doesn’t end when the buyer drives out of the showroom with a shiny new ride.

Ultimately, Kia’s current 5-year warranty (or 160,000 km, whichever comes first) will be honored moving forward and will continue to be offered by the company to its future buyers to ensure and assure seamless ownership experience.

The revamped Kia PH will be officially launched by the end of January 2019, and with it comes three new models to bump the brand’s current position in the market. As to what specific models are coming in, Aligada was reluctant to share the names but he assured us that the new cars would be whatever the market dictates. When asked if the Stinger sports sedan will enter the Philippine shores, Aligada was firm about his previous statement but quipped that if the market says so, then so be it.

With these three new models coming in, along with the brand’s current lineup, Kia PH is looking to sell more than 10,000 cars by the end of 2019 – a number that the brand achieved back in 2015. Now, with the Kia Soul and Forte Sedan making waves globally, it isn’t far-fetched if the brands should bring those two next year. But right now, all we could do is to wait and speculate. Aligada was also quick to turn down the idea of EVs and hybrids for now, but he said that the doors weren’t closed. Again, Kia will follow what the demand dictates.

Among Kia PH’s top priority is to upgrade its nationwide network of dealerships. It currently has 37 showrooms and outlets nationwide, which is quite a number, so Aligada sees this as an advantage. What he plans to is to bring these dealerships up to par with the global standard.

Although, with only 10 dealerships existing in Metro Manila, Aligada also sees an opportunity to improve the network nationwide. The main areas to expand on will be up north in the Ilocos and Cagayan Valley Regions; the west side of the Philippines in Palawan; and down south in Mindanao. 

Kia PH will officially re-launch on January 30, 2019,  along with the new names it will add to its lineup. It will signify that the company’s return and we sure do hope it will have a more fruitful year for the South Korean carmaker. And of course, Kia Stinger GT, please?

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