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‘These vehicles are for a new generation’

Jetour Auto Philippines Managing Director Miguelito ‘Lito’ Jose — PHOTO BY KAP MACEDA AGUILA

Interview by Kap Maceda Aguila

VELOCITY: How did you identify Jetour as a good brand to bring into the country?

Miguelito Jose: The Gateway Group and AutoSpeedyGo also carry other Chinese brands. When they saw Jetour, they were amazed. The last five years, Jetour has been operating on its own as a brand separate from Chery. Actually, I think there were three local groups that were vying for Philippine distribution. We’re happy that we got it.

An interesting development for Jetour here is that it is now handled by two established dealership groups. How will the brand leverage these groups’ networks?

These two groups behind JAPI (Jetour Auto Philippines, Inc.) operate as dealers. They’re very experienced in dealer operations. Now that they have the chance and opportunity to be distributors as well, it is an advantage for other dealer networks if they join us. The concerns and nature of the Gateway Group and AutoSpeedyGo Group operations are similar. They speak the same language. As the managing director, however, they’ve given me a free hand. We will establish dealerships owned by our group, and we consider the areas where they’re strong. In other parts of the country though, we will let our friends from other groups do that, if they’re interested. We invited about 23 groups to be our dealers. That implies that we will not corner this business; we want to share. In case there are areas where there are no partners but we think are important, then the Goho and Licup groups might take a look.

These days have seen an influx of Chinese brands into the market. What do you think about this and what this means for the so-called China-brand stigma for Filipinos?

Four to five years back, Chinese brands entered the country and we saw how they had already collaborated with established American and European auto brands. They now have access to innovation and they’ve even set up their own R&D (research and development), in collaboration with these famous brands. They now have value-for-money vehicles with luxury features. If you’re brand-conscious, you’ll probably go for a Japanese or European brand. But we’re seeing a new generation of buyers who are not brand-conscious. They are considering technology, comfort, features, and value for money. Jetour’s direction is exactly that; these vehicles are for a new generation.

Why did JAPI bring in the Ice Cream?

The global direction is to go electric. We’ve seen that even here in the country. When we saw that Jetour is also into electric, that also contributed to our interest in getting this brand. Maybe by early next year, all our models may be comprised of full hybrids.

Where will the first dealerships be?

In the next three months, we will work on our presence in eight areas. We’ll have five dealerships in Metro Manila alone. We will establish boutique-style dealerships where we can display maybe two or three cars. For after-sales concerns such as PMS we can accommodate these at existing facilities of our dealer partners, while we work on our own 3S locations.

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