Hyundai is officially back in the Philippines after being silent for quite some time. In an event attended by the members of the media, the automaker presented its revamped four-pronged lineup that consists of three crossovers and one MPV.
For the uninitiated, there has been a change in the distributorship of Hyundai passenger vehicles in the Philippines, which happened earlier this year. Previously handled by Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI), the reins were taken over by Hyundai Motor Philippines (HMPH), led by its President Lee Dong Wook. HARI now handles the distribution of Hyundai commercial vehicles, trucks, and buses.
Moving forward, the HMPH lineup is now populated by the facelifted Hyundai Santa Fe midsize crossover, the all-new Hyundai Tucson compact crossover, the Hyundai Creta subcompact crossover, and the futuristic-looking Hyundai Staria MPV. A few more will arrive this year, albeit no definite timeline has been set.
I sat down with HMPH President Lee during the media event to understand the company’s plans, moving forward. The discussion includes upcoming cars, aftersales services, electrification, and the gray market, among others.
How are you going to handle the aftersales services of existing Hyundai vehicles? How about current Hyundai vehicle owners in the country? Will you honor their warranties as well?
So yes, we have 5-year, 200,000-kilometer warranty. So we will provide all owners with these warranty policies. And we have 38 dealers so we are now trying to provide an excellent dealer network for our Philippine customers. Don’t worry about that, we have already prepared the dealers.
We will take good care of our customers even if they brought it from the previous distributor. This is our customer so we will take good care [of them].
You currently have 38 dealerships. Any plan to expand within the year or maybe in 2023?
At the end of 2023, we would like to increase the 38 to 45.
Going back to warranties. How are you going to handle cars that came from the gray market? Will you honor their warranties or will you even service them? How are you going to handle the gray market moving forward?
We have prepared services for our customers… if our customers buy their cars from our official dealer network, they can easily enjoy our services. In the case of the gray market, as I know, the gray market price is higher than our price. In this kind of situation, we would like to minimize the gray market. The reason is we would like to increase customer satisfaction in the Philippine market. We’re prepared the services, with reasonable prices, and I think this is very important to the point of customer satisfaction.
How about if someone bought from the gray market before you took over? Will you serve them or are there any limitations to the services you will provide to those customers?
Yes. We have policies regarding warranty. We have already mentioned the 5-year, 200,000-kilometers so within this year, within this kilometer, we will provide services.
You’ve probably received this question so many times but what exactly is included with your push for electrification? Does that include infrastructures or charging infrastructures? What exactly can future EV owners expect from Hyundai?
The customer’s worry is, “How to charge my car? Where to visit to charge my car?” This is a big concern in every country. So charging station [and] infrastructure like charging station are very important. Regarding the infrastructure, HMPH cannot go alone without government support or incentives.
We will prepare our internal plan, step by step. For example, when our customers buy our Ioniq 5, we can provide a home charging cable. This is one option.
How about performance vehicles? Like the N cars? Any plan to bring in the Elantra N or Kona N?
I heard that so many customers waiting for the N cars [but] we currently don’t have imports. We don’t have a plan to import the N brand, N cars. For example, the Kona N. But, I think our customers can meet the N brand with EV cars.
So basically, N cars will arrive, but as EV?
Yeah. Instead of ICE N, our customers might enjoy the EV N.
Since we mentioned the Kona N – the Kona and Accent are both bestsellers here. What was the reason the Kona was removed? I know that the production of the Accent has stopped. But for the Kona, what’s the reason why it’s removed from the lineup?
Okay. This is the Creta – a new model produced in the Indonesia factory. Indonesia factory is a totally new factory. So the Creta is developed for the ASEAN market. We consider ASEAN customers, including the Philippine customers, so I think this will be better considering the concept of this car.
The Philippines is essentially an MPV country. They are really popular here. Any plan to bring in the Stargazer MPV and compete in this segment?
Now, we have MPV, the Staria. But, we would like to launch additional for the Philippine market as you mentioned, really want to buy the MPV model. We are considering launching the Stargazer from Indonesia. So I think, this year, our customers can meet our Stargazer.
There is another smaller crossover, I think this was mentioned in the presentation, which is the Casper… smaller than the Creta. Is there actually a plan to bring it this year? Or even next year?
So many customers… I heard that so many customers are waiting for the Casper, like the Ioniq 5. But Casper is a very small car, A-segment. In the A-segment, the important thing is price. But the concern, the price, we have challenges to import the Casper.
Okay. So if you bring the Casper in here, it will be a bit pricey?
Yes. So very challenging. Comparing the car from Thailand, from Indonesia.
There is an increasing popularity of Chinese vehicles in the Philippines, especially in the crossover market. What’s going to be your strategy against them, or for you to fight that market?
First of all, our top priority is… we just launched the full [lineup of] cars. And then we can consider the addition model from China. I already mentioned, we have very well-prepared the cars, according to the ASEAN customers’ demand. So after increasing the [sales of these models], so we can consider importing the additional models from China.
Is there any plan to bring in and compete in the luxury market considering the growth of Genesis globally?
I know there are so many customers who are waiting for our Genesis brand. Under the umbrella of Hyundai Motor Group, we have three brands, Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis. Now, I’m in charge of the Hyundai brand in the Philippine market so I’m not in the position to [comment on] the plan about Genesis.