Is the Philippines ready for Omoda & Jaecoo?

Good product, reasonable price, and exceptional aftersales service – those were the three promises that came from Marco’s mouth (quite frequently, mind you) during our recent visit to China. It was deep in An Hui province, deep in the heart of Chery International’s headquarters in Wu hu, giving us a closer look at what an upcoming brand, Omoda & Jaecoo, has in store for the Philippine market.

Marco Chen, Omoda & Jaecoo’s country director, was a passionate salesperson, with experiences including dealing with markets outside the People’s Republic. Even without prior experiences with automobiles, particularly within Chery, Chen took on the challenge nearly a year ago of putting up two Chinese brands in a market with a history of dissent against Chinese vehicles. It was a tough task – worth millions of dollars in investment – but Chen’s quite confident with the products his company is selling.

What’s Omoda & Jaecoo, anyway? When you ask a mainlander about these two, you’ll likely receive unclear answers. That’s because both brands are not sold in China. They have corresponding counterparts within Chery’s lineup in the country, but as separate brands, they’re pretty inexistent.

Omoda & Jaecoo are both aimed at global markets while still under the umbrella of Chery International, one of the biggest car brands in China. Both brands have already opened shops in China, Russia, Mexico, Brazil, Morocco, Turkey, Egypt, and Indonesia. And toward the end of the year, the Philippines will join the list.

Is the Philippines ready for Omoda & Jaecoo? In recent years, the Chinese vehicle market in the country has regained its foothold, thanks to the good products coming from Geely and Chery. This has given Chery the confidence to bring in its other brands, intending to become the top Chinese automaker in the country.

But we all know how discerning Filipinos can be. We all know our blind loyalty to the familiar. Perhaps the right question is: Is Omoda & Jaecoo ready for the Philippines?

Good Product

I can personally attest to how great Omoda & Jaecoo vehicles are. We’ve been given the keys to their cars to test them out, albeit, in a controlled environment but without stark restrictions. The testing area came with a long straight, plus several obstacles and various road surfaces that mimic whatever adversity a vehicle could encounter. One part even mimics what we usually plight on EDSA, a bittersweet reality.

At least as brand-new vehicles, the Omoda 5 and Jaecoo 7 are promising. These two cars will be the first to arrive on our shores, emphasizing the former. They’re technologically forward, with advanced features such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping aids, high-resolution cameras, and voice control. The last one’s pretty nifty as you can customize the name of your vehicle assistant to anything, and I mean anything.

They performed well, too, with the Omoda 5 feeling spritely despite the CVT. The Jaecoo 7 was particularly good at handling road imperfections, even tackling sudden dips and rises without scraping its precious bumpers. Though technically not an off-roader, this boxy SUV is an all-roader, meant to tackle anything DPWH throws at it. That, plus, it handles like a dream, too, at least in the prepared slalom course.

Not seen in the photos I took was the tour we had as part of our visit. Manufactured within Chery’s superfactory, both Omoda 5 and Jaecoo 7 were made in a high-tech facility, filled with humans and robots working hand-in-hand. Robots were there for relentless precision, while humans assure quality in every product that rolls out of the product line.

Reasonable Price

Unfortunately, Marco and Uzzi Asuncion, Omoda & Jaecoo’s country brand manager and employee #1, couldn’t provide exact pricing for the Omoda 5 and Jaecoo 7. That’s fine because both have yet to host a formal launch.

What I can say is that reasonable is a relative thing. Given the amount of car buyers will get based on our experience, I’m seeing the Omoda 5 to range between P1.1 to P1.3 million. That would be reasonable for me, and probably a sweet spot given the competition in the market. Anything higher than those numbers could raise eyebrows.

Meanwhile, the Jaecoo 7 could be priced above P1.5 to 1.7 million, and that’s because it felt more premium and catered to families looking for a more luxurious, capable vehicle.

The best news? Marco told me they’re already in talks with several banks in the Philippines. He understood their importance, as most Filipino car buyers will likely finance their cars. Chen even mentioned downpayment schemes as low as 20%, then held back when I asked which bank.

That said, expect a tinge of aggressiveness from Omoda & Jaecoo in terms of pricing and promos – something that your average Filipino consumer cares about.

Exceptional Aftersales Service

The Omoda & Jaecoo brand is all about experience. As futuristic as the brand can get – even introducing its O-Universe that serves as an add-on product beyond cars – the company still understands the importance of providing services to its customers even after leaving the showroom.

The timing of the trip couldn’t get any better. It was right in the middle of a current issue with another Chinese brand, which failed to provide a pleasant ownership experience to a customer. This led to the issue exploding on social media platforms, but that’s another story.

For Omoda & Jaecoo, it serves as a benchmark of what not to do when they enter the Philippine market. As an answer to that, Marco shared that a storage facility for spare parts is already underway.

And since Omoda & Jaecoo is going to be a subsidiary in the Philippines – unlike Chery and Jetour, which are both sold by distributors – it has an advantage in terms of parts stocking and priority when importing parts.

Marco admitted that establishing a subsidiary is more challenging than getting a distributor. However, apart from the said advantage, he highlighted that they’re in this for the long term, which is good news for customers who’d very much want to see the brand they bought into for the next 10 years or so.

Plus, Omoda & Jaecoo will also adopt the warranty duration that its parent company offers. That includes the 7-year or 300,000 km bumper-to-bumper warranty, 1-million-kilometer engine warranty, and 8-year warranty for the battery for the upcoming Omoda 5 EV. Yes, the brand will eventually come with an all-electric model if things pan out as planned.

As we’re told, Omoda & Jaecoo will officially launch as a brand in the final quarter of this year. Expect to hear more from the members of the media as it happens.

The company also said it plans to start selling by the first quarter 2024. With a target of 15 dealerships, the two marques will be sold side-by-side a la Jaguar-Land Rover – two brand identities under one roof.

Now, is the Philippines ready for Omoda & Jaecoo? Certainly, another player in the market will always be welcome, and those progressive enough to try will be up for a treat.

But is Omoda & Jaecoo ready for the Philippines? I believe so. What’s left to happen now is execution.

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