SAIC to establish official presence in PH

If you look at the top-selling automobile brands in the Philippines, the top 7 out of the leading 10 are all official national sales companies or subsidiaries of the parent brand abroad.

Toyota, Mitsubishi, Ford, Nissan, Suzuki, Isuzu, and Honda are all directly linked and part of the international organization of the brand in Japan or the United States. There’s actually an 8th that belongs to the list as the new Hyundai is also part of the larger organization.

But soon we will be able to add another one, and this time it is from China. Actually, it’s the biggest in China: SAIC Motor.

The acronym SAIC stands for Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation, and they are coming to the Philippines as a new official entity. The new company is called SAIC Motor Philippines, Incorporated.

SAIC Motor PH: China’s biggest automaker setting up PH operations image

In China, SAIC is the biggest out of the Big Four which also includes First Auto Works (FAW), Dongfeng, and Changan (or Chang’an). And SAIC is the biggest by a wide margin; in 2021 they sold close to 5.4 million units, while the next was around 3.5 million units.

SAIC Motor Philippines, Inc. hasn’t made any announcements yet, but based on what we’re hearing from our industry contacts, their headhunting agency has already been busy. Interviews have been conducted with experienced industry personnel and executives to fill key spots. And from what we understand, more are being interviewed still.

The key question, however, is what brand are they looking at? In China, SAIC has many brands that aren’t present in the Philippines yet, but there are already 4 brands present here with independent importers/distributor partners.

SAIC Motor PH: China’s biggest automaker setting up PH operations image

One is Wuling, and they are marketing the Mini EV in various editions: Macaron and Gameboy. Their website says the units are coming in June 2023, so we’ll have to check with them later on.

Under the Ayala group are two SAIC brands: Volkswagen and Maxus. Yes, VW is a German brand, but the units for the Philippine market (e.g. Lavida, Lamando, Santana) have been sourced from China for quite a few years now. Under Maxus, they market several SUV models, vans, and a pick-up truck.

The fourth is MG (Morris Garages) under The Covenant Car Company, Inc. or TCCCI. That brand is the best performing out of the group, as they are already in the top 10 auto brands here in the Philippines.

SAIC Motor PH: China’s biggest automaker setting up PH operations image

Is SAIC Motor Philippines looking to take back one or more of the brands? We’re not quite sure yet, but there has been quite a bit of buzz during the last motor show with regard to one of the brands we mentioned above. That said, we will have to wait for a more definitive confirmation of what SAIC Motor Philippines is actually looking at doing in the industry.