New SAIC Philippines: Will it be MG, Maxus, or VW?

So there will be some fairly big news concerning the Philippine market, thanks to China’s largest automobile manufacturer: SAIC.

As we had previously reported, SAIC or Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation is coming into the Philippine market in the form of SAIC Motor Philippines Incorporated. We’re not sure if they’ll use the acronym SMPI or SMPH, but what is clear is that the company is SAIC owned; there appears to be no local ownership.

We can say that because AutoIndustriya acquired a copy of their Articles of Incorporation that was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission or SEC. In it, we can see that the new company will be headquartered in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig and that the filing was done by SAIC’s operations in Hong Kong: SAIC HK Limited.

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SAIC Motor Philippines Incorporated has 120,000 shares subscribed at PHP 100 per share. 119,997 of the common shares are with SAIC HK Limited, while three key figures each have one share: Aimin Zhao, Chunxu Piao, and Zhijian Zhao.

The three individuals are actually senior executives of SAIC that have international roles. The limited information we can find shows that Zhijian Zhao was in Mexico for SAIC Commercial, while Chunxu Piao was assigned as Managing Director of SAIC in Germany. Aimin Zhao is the Executive Vice President of SAIC International and oversees the expansion of the SAIC brand outside of China.

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There is, however, an interesting line in the Articles of Incorporation. Normally, that’s where the carmaker states their primary objective in setting up the company in relation to the auto business such as importation, wholesale trading, distribution, after-sales, and so on and so forth. As expected, there was no mention of manufacturing or assembly, meaning they have no plans of expanding such operations here, but what it does say is the kind of vehicles they will bring in.

“To engage in, conduct, and carry on the business of importing, wholesale trading, marketing, and distribution of vehicles powered by traditional and new energy sources…”

That in itself is key, as it highlights that SAIC intends to not just bring vehicles that are powered by fossil fuels (traditional energy sources) but also by new energy sources such as electricity. In the short term, that means hybrids and EVs, but it’s also fairly open-ended as the phrase “new energy sources” is wide-ranging.

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The real question is what brand will they work on. There are three brands of SAIC already in the Philippines that are independent importers/distributor partners: MG (Covenant), Volkswagen (Ayala), and Maxus (Ayala). The articles of incorporation also state that they intend “to purchase, acquire and take over” any entity they deem necessary in relation to the business of SAIC Motor Philippines. So, there will be a shake-up happening.

We don’t expect it to be Volkswagen because while the Ayala company in charge of the VW brand does get units from SAIC-VW (hence Santana, Lavida, Lamando, T-Cross, etc.), our understanding is that the direction comes from VW in Germany, not SAIC-VW. So that leaves Maxus, which does make sense given one of the directors does seem to work with Maxus.

MG, however, will be the likely brand they will take on.