It's only been a few months since Hyundai launched the all-new Staria last March. But now, there are already units on sale in the Philippines.
Yes, it only took four months for Hyundai's new people carrier to arrive in the country, but take note: these units are not being officially sold by Hyundai Asia Resources Inc. (HARI). Instead, they're private imports by a gray market dealership in Metro Manila.
You may even have already seen photos of the new Hyundai Staria for sale circulating on social media. We called the importer to ask for a price and whether there were still units available. We were told all units are sold out already, but the price is what surprised us the most.
According to the gray market dealer, their 2021 Staria starts at PHP 2.6 million. The top-of-the-line model is even more at around PHP 3.4 million.
For reference, the PHP 2.6 million entry-level Staria comes with bench seats. It's only the higher-end model that features more luxurious amenities and captains seats. All models are diesel-powered as well.
That price is steep; it's actually a lot more than the Toyota Super Grandia Elite, and the high-end model is inching close to the Alphard. But then again, the Starex has been a rather pricier model, even if you purchase from HARI dealerships.
If you check the price list of Hyundai in the Philippines, the entry-level Grand Starex starts at PHP 2.225 million, while the top-of-the-line Grand Starex Premium retails for PHP 2.938 million. The only Starex models that are under PHP 2 million are the cargo van versions.
Compared to the prices of the gray market models, it's still a big difference (roughly PHP 350,000). But do remember that they are selling the Staria, a brand new model that just made its global debut four months ago. It features a new futuristic design on the outside, and an interior laden with new tech and gizmos. In comparison, HARI has yet to launch the new Staria/Starex and still sells the current-generation Starex/Grand Starex.
There are some questions with regards to gray market dealers like warranty or servicing. There's also a question mark with regards to fuel quality; since the units spotted at gray dealerships are undeniably South Korean market models, these could be Euro-6 engines and could have issues in the long term with local Euro4 standards. Some stations do have Euro5 and Euro6 fuels though.
With gray market prices for the Staria ranging from PHP 2.6-3.4 million, we're now wondering how much Hyundai Philippines will sell the van once it officially arrives in the Philippines.