French carmaker Peugeot makes its return once more to the Philippine market, this time partnering with Eurobrands Distribution Inc. (EDI), a subsidiary of automotive conglomerate Columbian Group of Companies. The Columbian Group also distributes BMW and Kia brands in the Philippines. The new company will be headed by no less than Felix J. Mabilog Jr. as President and COO, who comes out of his brief retirement to continue his forty-year automotive industry journey to breathe new life into Peugeot badge.

"Peugeot will be with Eurobrands in the Philippines not only today, here and now, but for a long time to come," declared Mabilog.

The brand's entry to the highly competitive Philippine car market is part of its '2020 Vision' ten-year global plan to expand its global presence with emphasis to emerging markets such as South America, Russia, and Asia; particularly in the ASEAN region which is recognized as one of the world's fastest growing automotive markets.

EDI has announced that it will be opening no less than 12 full-service dealerships in the country in the next twelve months. Five of those will be strategically located in Metro Manila, while the other seven in major cities Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Eight out of the twelve dealerships are expected to open by the end of 2012.

Expressing much enthusiasm and optimism for the new brand, EDI also revealed their forecasted market share to capture at least 5% of the total car sales of the Philippine market. This will be very much attributed to aggressive marketing, exciting new models and brand strategy led by the dynamic vision and vast experience of EDI's President and COO Felix J. Mabilog, Jr.

When I asked on the possibility of an ASEAN production facility, which could make their vehicles more competitive, Mabilog hinted on a 10-hectare facility which the Columbian Group owns located in Mamplasan, Laguna which could be a possible site. Peugeot's World Press & External Relations Manager, Marc Bocqué however declined to comment further on the matter.

Cutaway of 3008 HDI

Majority of customers in the Philippines now prefer diesel fed vehicles due to their economy and lower fuel cost. EDI recognized Peugeot's strengths in their diesel engine technology, and their state-of-the-art Diesel Particulate Filter technology referred to as FAP by the carmaker.  Peugeot's FAP technology allows it compatibility with most diesel fuels worldwide; the Philippines' Euro II-spec fuels included. EDI will be introducing Peugeot's e-HDI micro hybrid diesel technology to their vehicle lineup comprised of the 3008 crossover, 508 luxury sedan, and 5008 7-seater MPV; except for the RCZ compact sports coupé which has a 1.6-liter turbocharged gas engine under the hood.

With regards to the newly debuted global models aimed at emerging markets, Bocqué stressed that the brand's current strategy for the Philippines will be aimed at branding where they will offer competitively priced premium vehicles. However, he did not rule out the possibility of introducing other models in the future.

EDI also hinted of competitive pricing to go with their new exciting models. While no official pricing has been revealed, EDI PR and Marketing Director Dong Magsajo has hinted a very competitive price range of Php1.5M-2.5M for the entire range of models.