It Was a Tough Year for the Car Industry, But Kia Philippines Is Optimistic It Will Double Sales in 2021
For its 2021 forecast, Kia Philippines held a virtual round-table conference with the media, as Kia Philippines President Manny Aligada announced its sales project to hit not just double but triple digit growth and poising to doubling its market share this 2021. In 2020, it sold 2,129 units as the entire local automotive industry suffered a 40% decline with about 240,000 units sold thanks largely due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
But what is fueling Kia PH’s optimism? According to Aligada, it plans to “unbox” at least two new models this year, adding that it may add two more models if the business landscape calls for it.
Kia’s popular Soluto subcompact sedan contributed 39 percent of the company’s total sales, followed by its K2500 commercial vehicle with 17 percent. The third performer is its newly launched Stonic, with over 200 units sold since October, making up 16 percent of total sales. The rest of the lineup—the Seltos, Sportage, Picanto, Sorento and Carnival—make up for the rest.
With the increasing number of models in its lineup, Kia is now in a position to cater to almost every segment in the mainstream automotive market. Aligada also cited Kia Philippines’ major shift to the digital sphere last year, allowing the brand to gain a wider audience reach.
More dealers and better ownership experience
Kia Philippines currently has 40 dealerships and is planning on opening five more this year. While Luzon continues to be the key market, Kia PH will also expand its dealership network in the Vis-Min regions.
Last year, the after-sales service part of the business suffered almost a 50 percent decline in largely due to an adverse economic environment, customers clocking lesser mileage because of the lockdown, and motorists’ fears of going out in public. With the economy starting to open up this year, this part of the business is seen to improve drastically.
The expected increase in vehicle sales is pushing Kia to streamline its parts acquisition and logistics by increasing its inventory by five times. With its new logistics partner DHL, parts sourced from Korea and China will only take seven days to reach the dealerships. The pandemic is also an opportune time to conduct skills training and certification of its 300 dealer frontliners. Thanks to its new online remote diagnostics, cars can be diagnosed by Kia Philippines and even by Kia Motors Corp (Korea) in real time to make sure repairs are analyzed properly and done quickly by dealers. The company has also made preventive maintenance servicing much more affordable by using a mineral oil that Kia claims to be 40 percent cheaper, making cost of ownership lower in the long run.
By having a more efficient parts delivery system, better technical support and lower cost of ownership, Kia buyers will also be attracted to a worry-free ownership experience with its five-year warranty or 160,000 kilometers, whichever comes first (only the K2500 comes with a three-year or 110,000 km-warranty), and the 24/7 Roadside Assistance that’s free for the first five years.
New brand experience
Kia also recently announced its new logo and branding, together with a new global brand slogan: “Movement that inspires” and has kick-started the year locally with its “My Year, My Kia” initiative. The campaign is aligned with its fresh approach on creating an emotional bond with its customers by giving exciting and innovative offers, shifting from just “value-for-money” vehicles to just simply making their cars “valuable,” and forging an enduring connection with customers. With this in mind, buyers or would-be buyers can expect Kia vehicles to be more emotionally engaging and desirable in the years to come.
As a caveat though, despite the best and well-laid out plans, Aligada conceded that the future is not set, and that new challenges may present themselves along the way.
“These new challenges will always be there, but Kia Philippines will remain resilient and strong-willed,” he said. “After all, our Power to Surprise springs from our drive to serve.” He added that the “secret sauce” is not really much of a secret. Just like any Ayala-run company, the secret is not in the so-called “sauce,” but the people behind the organization running them, so we can be almost sure to expect these guys to bring in the numbers and overcome future challenges.