It seems that for the next few months, we'll be keeping our eyes and ears open for news regarding one of the country's most popular auto brands: Hyundai.
All the talk in the background points to a changing of the guard when it comes to the distributor/importer of Hyundai's passenger car business, as insiders have informed us that the new distributor will be led by Hyundai Motor Company. HMC will supposedly take the helm from long-time partner Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI) very soon; most likely it will coincide with the new fiscal year which begins on the first of April.
We can say this because representatives from HMC are already in the country, and are busy laying the groundwork for a new distributor. We've been told that work involving documentation such as applying for emissions certifications for their models with the DENR is happening in the background. HMC representatives are supposedly already speaking with partners such as banks regarding the new state of the business.
“The Koreans are already here for HMC,” said one of the managers of a Hyundai dealership; many of which have struggled since the pandemic began two years ago. But now there's actually excitement in the voices of Hyundai's sales staffers and dealer executives over the prospect of a new distributor with access to more models they can offer customers.
And it seems one of the models is something the local market will be interested in; the Staria.
In April 2021, Hyundai held the world premiere of the Staria; the successor to the Starex model line. The futuristic-looking van holds a lot of promise, and as expected the Staria started popping up at Philippine gray market dealers as early as June 2021 and were snapped up by customers right away.
Well, it seems the new distributor wants to put a stop to that, and dealers are telling customers that the new model can be in our market and in showrooms as early as June 2022.
As to what the specs, variants, and prices will be, we're not quite sure. There is no official announcement yet, but it's going to be an exciting time for Hyundai's dealers. Here's an interesting thing to keep in mind though: company-owned distributors (e.g. subsidiaries) generally have preferential treatment when it comes to negotiating manufacturer selling prices (read: the price of the vehicle for dealerships) as opposed to an independent distributor.
If that holds true for Hyundai, then hopefully we can see more attractive pricing as well as more features with the models from the new HMC-owned distributor.