Ayala's latest entry into the automotive business isn't wasting any time to get moving after successfully moving in as the new distributor of Kia in the Philippines.

Ayala Corporation subsidiary AC Industrials, the company responsible for their automotive interests, has just held a meeting with journalists wherein they announced their plans for Kia in 2019. They outlined their intent to revitalize the Kia brand in the country, particularly after the slump in sales in the last 3 years.

Prior to 2015, Kia (still under Columbian Autocar Corporation) had been steadily growing, achieved a milestone in 2015 by selling 10,010 units. But since then, Kia has steadily tracked downward, dropping to 7,304 units in 2016 (a 27% drop), and 5,186 units in 2017 (a further 29% down). In 2018, Kia is poised to finish at about 3,000 units.

The 2018 projection means that the 37 Kia dealerships nationwide will end up averaging just 81 units each for the year. The new distributor announced a bold plan to arrest the fall.

First, they intend to stabilize the business by emphasizing the strength of the partnership of the Kia brand with Ayala Corporation. They'll also strengthen the current dealership network and introduce competitive financing packages.

Second, they intend to improve their facilities to the new global standards of the Kia brand, as well as the standards of Ayala. Eventually, they'll expand the dealership network; three new showrooms are in the pipeline, so we've been told.

Third, they intend to maximize the digital space to engage with customers and gain sales. And they'll also introduce next generation platforms, though they did not elaborate further.

For consumers, the most important factors are: the 5-year, 160,000 kilometer warranty will be retained, and that Kia plans to launch 3 new models in 2019. Perhaps the most important announcement is the new company's plan to make the pricing of Kia more competitive in the Philippine market.

The new distributor hopes that through these plans, they can achieve a much higher sales target in 2019: 10,000 units. Achieving that would return the brand to their 2015 sales volume.

Understandably Ayala wants to get moving quickly, especially since they own the majority of the shares and the controlling stake in the new joint venture (JV) with longtime Kia distributor (and assembler, previously) Columbian Autocar Corporation.

New Kia PH distributor Ayala sets lofty 10,000 unit sales target in 2019

The company had not yet released the official name of the joint venture, though they did announce that Ayala executive Manny Aligada from the AC Automotive dealership business will be heading up the new Kia outfit which will have its official launch on January 30, 2019.