Yesterday, we confirmed that representatives from Hyundai Motor Co. are already in the country. They are currently busy laying the groundwork for a new distributor that will take over operations from Hyundai Asia Resources Inc. (HARI), the current Philippine distributor of Hyundai cars in the country.
Now we can confirm a few more details from an industry insider. The first is that the new distributor will be launched in June 2022, and they will bring several new models into the country all in one go. The first model you already know; the Staria. This will replace the Grand Starex as the brand's premier people carrier. However, that's not just the only model the automaker will be bringing to the Philippines.
While there have been no official announcements yet from Hyundai, they will also launch three new crossover models.
Hyundai's upcoming offerings will include the next-generation Creta, the facelifted Santa Fe, and the all-new Tucson. Dealerships are actually releasing teasers of the new models on their social media pages, but they are not yet accepting any reservations yet. They are likely waiting for the go signal from the new distributor to do so.
The all-new Creta will be an interesting model. In 2016, HARI actually previewed the then-new Creta. The model was made in India but they didn't actually launch it into the market. There is now a new generation model, and it was first launched during the 2021 Gaikindo Indonesia International Auto Show (GIIAS). It will be manufactured at the newly-opened Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Indonesia (HMMI). The new factory will build both LHD and RHD vehicles and serves as the brand's latest production hub in Southeast Asia. It will serve countries such as Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Malaysia. That's where the new Creta will come from; there is no reason to source a model from anywhere else.
As for the Santa Fe and Tucson, the two crossovers will most likely continue to be sourced from Korea. However, HMMI is also preparing to manufacture the Santa Fe for the ASEAN region sometime in the future. This will make the midsize crossover more competitively priced as it can take advantage of the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA), among other things.
With four new models on its way to the Philippines, it seems Hyundai is looking to make a big comeback this year. This is, of course, just the start of something new.