Gray market importers beat Volkswagen in bringing ID.4, ID.6 EVs to PH
To say that more and more automakers are releasing electrified vehicles is an understatement. From electric vehicles (EVs), hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), as well as plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), car companies are now focused on providing customers with more eco-friendly automobiles.
Take for example Volkswagen which has already released several all-electric vehicles for some time now. From the ID.3, ID.4, ID.5, ID.6, and the retro-styled ID. Buzz, Volkswagen has an EV for every discerning customer who wants a zero-emissions vehicle.
Volkswagen Philippines, however, is not yet ready to sell any EVs. That's understandable as it does take time, but the gray market isn't waiting. The parallel importers are already selling the brand's EVs in the country. And that prompted Volkswagen Philippines to respond.
The company released a statement saying they are aware that vehicles such as the ID.4 and ID.6 are already being sold locally. While Volkswagen vehicles (including the EVs) are built to global standards, Volkswagen Philippines said that the ID.4 and ID.6 are not yet homologated for official release in the country.
Before any vehicle is launched, it typically undergoes months of local testing to check for any issues that customers may encounter. Then and only then does it become what we call "retail ready". That's not an official term but is most definitely apt.
Moreover, the said EVs are not covered by international warranties and aftersales service requirements – meaning the automaker will not be able to service the EVs properly.
The company ended its statement by saying that they remain committed to providing quality vehicles that are officially on sale in the Philippines complete with warranties and aftersales support. Unfortunately for Volkswagen Philippines, their statement had the opposite effect on social media.
One commented that Volkswagen failed to see the EV boom and that the gray market importers are cashing in on the EV models. One user also said their local lineup is a disaster and that they did not bring in the good cars Volkswagen is selling in other markets. There's also one who shared that the management is slow and not attuned to what the market wants. One even commented that Volkswagen in the Philippines is at risk of losing the potential to sell to people if they don't act fast.
Insiders also tell us that the statement that VW Philippines released has been pending since last year. There was much debate about whether the company should actually publish it given the limited reach of the gray market. Clearly, it has opened them up to criticism from social media users and customers that are interested in the VW brand.
Ever since Volkswagen Philippines switched to China-made (i.e. SAIC-built cars) offerings to sell in the country, market reception towards the brand has not been exactly welcoming. With customers still looking for models like the Golf, Jetta, Tiguan, and even the Touareg, customers are not familiar with the new China-sourced vehicles like the Santana, Lavida, and Lamando. The only global models sold by the company are the T-Cross (which also comes from China) and the Multivan Kombi which hails from Germany.
The automaker does plan on selling the ID.4 and ID.6 EVs to the country thanks to insider information we received last year. But with gray market importers beating the official distributor in actually releasing the said EVs, it seems Volkswagen Philippines will have to fast-track their plans in joining the EV bandwagon.