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Jetour de force

Interesting products and the backing of two big dealer groups should give this new brand from China an edge

IT’S AN exceptionally exciting time for Philippine automotive scene as I personally don’t recall ever witnessing this many brands making a splash in the industry over such a short span. This certainly bodes well for car browsers who have never been this spoiled for choice (I suspect that you’ll get to hear this observation repeated often).

Clearly one of the more exciting marques to climb onto the ring is Jetour. Owned by the giant Chery Holdings headquartered in Wuhu, China, Jetour used to be a sub-brand within the ambit of Chery but was later spun-off into its own in 2018. Jetour has already sold more than 550,000 vehicles. Today, it exports its vehicles to more than 30 countries, and has a network of over 300 sales and after-sales facilities.

Known as a “crossover specialist,” Jetour has now found its way to the Philippines — predicated on the strength of a distributor group comprised of two established major players. Jetour Auto Philippines, Inc. (or JAPI) is backed up by the Gateway Group and the AutoSpeedyGo Group. This is arguably its biggest strength as it seeks to get a firm foothold in the industry.

The Gateway Group, founded in 2004 by the Goho family, is the largest dealer group in the Philippines. It has a considerable portfolio of established auto brands under its fold, namely (in alphabetical order): BMW, Changan, Chevrolet, Chery, Foton, Fuso, GAC, Geely, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Maxus, Mitsubishi, MG, Nissan, Peugeot, Subaru, Suzuki, Volkswagen, and Volvo. The Gateway Group operates in 53 major cities and provinces in the country. Meanwhile, AutoSpeedyGo Group was co-founded in 2016 by Vincent Licup, who has 30 years of experience in the automotive dealership business. The company today has 14 dealers across six global brands, including Chery, Chevrolet, Foton, Geely, MG, and Nissan — located in the northern part of the National Capital Region and two major municipalities of Bulacan and Pasig City. JAPI’s management team is headed by its President Yves Licup, Vice-President Michael Goho, Managing Director Miguelito Jose (who has three decades of experience in the sector), and Marketing Director May De Los Santos.

JAPI, appointed as exclusive country distributor of Jetour automobiles, recently invited potential dealer partners, members of the media, and content creators to a preview of its vehicles at the Okada Manila.

We also had a chance to get behind the wheel of Jetour’s offerings, which we briefly drove and (of course) ogled and took pictures of. The main protagonist, if you will, for Jetour here is the Dashing crossover — a five-seater crossover with a front fascia akin to a Lamborghini Urus, not a few observed. Priced at P1.329 million, the Dashing features six Sony speakers, headrest audio, a large 12.8-inch LED screen, wireless phone charger, sport seats, armrest box with cooling function, a panoramic sunroof, a so-called Smart Rubik’s Cube key, and other features that surely will get the attention of browsers at this crucial price point.

While the Dashing has one trim for now, the seven-seater Jetour X70 comes in three, priced as follows: X70 Journey (P1.099 million), which gets an eight-speed automatic transmission, 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels, and an electronic parking brake; X70 Tour (P1.259 million) with 20-inch aluminum alloys and a panoramic sunroof; and X70 Sport (P1.299 million) with an electronic rear tailgate and brown leather interior.

Meanwhile, the most premium X70 earns a “Plus” in its moniker. This one, priced at P1.499 million, gets a six-speed wet DCT transmission and six-way power seats, in addition to all the good stuff previously mentioned. And Jetour will surely make waves with its all-electric release, the appropriately named Ice Cream. Retailing for P699,000, it is the most affordable EV of its kind. The three-door vehicle with 12-inch wheels ferries four adults in surprising comfort. Appropriately, its colorways are equally delicious: Matcha, Strawberry, Vanilla, and Blueberry.

In a release, JAPI said it is “pursuing an aggressive network ramp-up to make Jetour vehicles and after-sales services available to more people. Eight dealership locations have been initially identified, and these are in key points in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.”

There’s quite a bit of confidence in the brand, as it projected sales of 1,500 units on its first year of operations. This conviction extends to the warranties JAPI is prepared to extend to Jetour vehicles. The units will be backed with a six-year general warranty with unlimited mileage, and a 10-year engine warranty.

Jetour will officially debut to the public at the Manila International Auto Show, scheduled from April 13 to 16 at the World Trade Center Metro Manila. Perhaps it’s not a stretch to predict that its booth and displays will be drawing a lot of attention.

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