In 2014 a new player arrived in the Philippine auto market: BAIC.

As some may well know, BAIC is a state-owned automobile group and one of the largest in the People's Republic of China. Basically, if SAIC is to Shanghai, BAIC is to Beijing.

In the Philippine setting, BAIC has been under Universal Motors Corporation (UMC) as Bayan Auto. They entered the business when it became clear that Nissan was establishing a national sales company at the time; a company that UMC would be a stakeholder of.

BAIC X35 image

Now that has all changed... and by that, we mean the BAIC side.

From the way we understand it, the BAIC brand in the Philippines is now being handled by the Laus Auto Group; the largest automobile dealership chain that is concentrated north of Metro Manila; specifically in Pampanga. And by large, we mean extra large as Laus has dealerships for Ford, Hyundai, Geely, Kia, Chevrolet, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Foton, MG, Nissan, Peugeot, Suzuki, and Volkswagen. They even have quite a presence in the premium auto sector with BMW, Jeep, and Mini.

BAIC X35 image

But the company is also working on being the exclusive distributor of some Chinese auto brands. Haima is perhaps the most notable; while the brand that has quite a few Mazda lookalikes might not be as visible in other areas like Metro Manila, over in Pampanga it's a fairly common sight. Much of that is owed to the Laus Group and its pricing strategy.

In late 2019, they got into Changhe, and that seems to have opened the doors for their acquisition of BAIC in the Philippines. Changhe is actually a subsidiary of BAIC in China, and their dealerships are also starting to conduct a pre-selling campaign for BAIC's models such as the BAIC X35 crossover and the Wrangler-inspired BAIC BJ40 Plus.

Can Laus take BAIC on a better path? Can they repeat their Haima success with BAIC? Only time (and pricing and after-sales) will tell, but since the group is very much dedicated to the auto industry in a critical growth area up north, we think they just might be the most promising group for the job.

For now, that's all we have, but we're pretty sure that in the coming days and weeks we'll start to understand more about what the new BAIC has to offer.