Chinese automaker BAIC will be making its Philippine debut under a newly formed Bayan Automotive Industries Corporation (Bayan Auto), subsidiary of Universal Motors Corporation. The brand will officially launch at the 2014 CAMPI Philippine Motor Show next month at the World Trade Center Manila. BAIC will be headed by Commodore George Chua as its President and CEO.
For those unfamiliar with the company, the Chinese state-owned Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co., Ltd., it is also a manufacturing partner of Daimler and Hyundai for China. It recently bought chassis, engine and transmission technology from embattled Swedish carmaker SAAB. Also known in China as Beiqi, the company is a stakeholder at Foton Motors, which has been offered locally since 2008.
BAIC will display five models at the show: The A113/A115, A523T, X424 SUV, Wevan, and the BJ5030 van.
The A113/A115 subcompact will be available as a hatchback and sedan. The hatchback measures 3998mm long, 1720mm wide, 1503mm tall with a wheelbase of 2500mm, while the sedan measures 4310mm long, 1720mm wide and 1500mm tall. It is expected to compete in the B-segment at near A-segment price levels for entry-level models. They will be powered by 1.3-liter and 1.5-liter Mitsubishi MIVEC-based engines mated to either a 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual.
The A523T is based on a SAAB 9-5 platform measuring at 4861mm long, 1820mm wide, 1462mm tall, with a 2755mm wheelbase; is expected to compete in the D-segment executive class. It will be powered by a 2.3-liter SAAB-based turbocharged engine which outputs 250 PS and 350 Nm of torque, mated to a 5-speed automatic.
The X424 SUV is a Jeep Wrangler-inspired model measuring at 4350mm long, 1843mm wide, 1834mm tall with a 2450mm wheelbase. It will be powered by a Mitsubishi-based 2.4-liter engine mated to a 5-speed manual.
The Wevan is expected to slot into the microvan and compact MPV segment. It measures 4495mm long, 1636mm wide, and 1912mm tall with a 2920mm wheelbase. It is powered by a mid-mounted 1.2-liter which outputs 86 PS and 108 Nm of torque mated to a 5-speed manual driving power to the rear wheels.
The BJ5030 van is expected to fill in the utility van segment requiring a low-priced, low ownership cost van. The design is 'heavily-inspired' by the previous generation Toyota Hiace. It will be powered by an Isuzu-based 2.8-liter diesel capable of 92 PS and 174 Nm of torque mated to a 5-speed manual.
BAIC is currently building its flagship showroom and corporate headquarters at the UMC complex along Pasong Tamo in Makati City. They conservatively looking at opening at least 4 showrooms nationwide in the first year.
What do you think of the new brand's offerings?