2023 is starting with a big bang for Astara Philippines. The company is already in charge of Peugeot in the country and is working to raise the profile and presence of the brand by leveraging the advantage of having a core lineup of competitively priced models sourced from Malaysia.

Now they’re about to manage another brand with a lot of promise, and that is GAC. This major auto player in the Chinese auto market has major JV partnerships with a lot of foreign brands, and it certainly shows the quality that we’re seeing out of their models. Actually, we have one of their sedans in the office fleet, and we’ve had zero issues in the last 3 or so years.

Astara wants to push the GAC brand in the coming years, and that’s why they brought in Redentor “Jun” Cajayon as head of the GAC Motor brand.  We know Jun from his work with Ayala’s automobile divisions, particularly with Volkswagen and Kia, and thus brings his extensive experience to drive the brand forward.

GAC GS8 image

We reached out to Jun and asked him about what his priorities are for the brand. He says that one of his first priorities is to raise the brand awareness of GAC in the country. While GAC has been around for a few years already, it’s not a brand that is so well known amongst Filipino consumers. Jun knows this, and it goes without saying that they’ll be working on communicating the brand to customers.

The new GAC brand head also said that they’ll be working on ramping up their dealer network and expanding to other regions. While that’s good for sales, what’s really key is aftersales. An automobile is only as good as having dealer-level service close by, and expanding the network is going to be key.

The third aspect that GAC will focus on is having a relevant product portfolio; that means they aim to compete in key segments in the market. Cajayon also mentioned that being competitive in price will be important.

We asked Jun if they will be going for a free service plan for customers like what other brands are trying out, but he says they won’t go that route. Instead, they’ll be working on improving pricing through subsidies (e.g. discounts) for customers.

There are more plans that Jun Cajayon has in store for GAC, and it will start with the launch of two models: the new GS8 SUV as well as the new Empow sedan. There are more, but we’ll disclose those at another time.