For Ramon Ang, Politics, Fast Cars, and Business Don't Mix
SMC Asia Car Distributors Corp., the official importer and distributor of BMW in the Philippines, held a virtual press conference last week announcing the opening of the latest and largest BMW dealership in the country. No less than Ramon S. Ang, San Miguel’s big boss presided over the press con with the motoring media on a virtual Zoom meeting.
Here are our best takeaways from the virtual press conference, which Ang himself attended.
1| No, for the nth time, he’s not running for president
Aside from the new BMW dealership, the charismatic tycoon talked about his current projects including updates on Skyway 3 and the river rehab project. Early on, he also got pressed again about possible plans about running for the country’s highest office, and once again, he said he is not running and politics is just not his thing.
2| He also said he is not endorsing anyone.
Besides clarifying his position on running for public office, Ang also made it clear that he’s not endorsing anyone for the position. He said that he works for San Miguel and by representing one of the country’s largest conglomerates, he should not allow himself and SMC to be an organization that endorses anyone in politics.
Despite running the company for several years as president and COO, he was only officially named CEO after a recent meeting of the company’s board of directors.
3| Business is good for luxury and super cars during the pandemic
According to Ang, despite the effects of the pandemic, sales of luxury and exotic cars globally have been brisk. With the super rich having no place to go because of travel restrictions, buying luxury and exotic cars have become a form of “revenge” shopping and retail therapy. He said really wealthy people will always have money, and luxury cars are a form of conspicuous spending. Since travel and other luxuries are not an option these days, buying a supercar seems to be a popular choice these days.
“Sales of BMW cars and motorcycles have been steady last year,” added BMW Philippines President Spencer Yu also. Considering the whole auto industry sales suffered a massive decline, a relatively steady or flat trajectory is already considered good news.
“First quarter sales for us was good but unfortunately, the ECQ and now MECQ momentarily affected sales performance,” Yu added. “We look forward to recouping from this once the economy goes back online.”
Artist's rendering of the new BMW Greenhills showroom
4| Starting up a business these days takes twice as long
The four-storey RSA Motors Greenhills is near EDSA and at the corner of Connecticut Street and Florida Street, Barangay Wack Wack, Mandaluyong City, which is considered a very high-end area. With each floor about 1,500 square meters, the new showroom sits on prime location.
Ang said the new showroom took two years longer than the expected one-year construction period because of the limited logistics brought largely by the pandemic. As the flagship dealership in the country, this BMW facility is one of only two in the world that follows the unique fit to BMW standards, offering a more personalized customer experience together with signature furniture pieces and design elements. This creates an atmosphere that’s unmistakably BMW while still ensuring every guest feels right at home. It also offers the most comprehensive lineup of BMW vehicles combined with key services, for a complete brand experience.
5| Ang does not recommend going over the speed limit on Skyway 3
This seemingly no-brainer is actually a stern reminder and a personal challenge from Ang, who explains that the 60kph speed limit has basis despite the complaints of many motorists.
“The Skyway 3 is an elevated highway and has a zipper lane system that diverts traffic by switching the north and southbound lanes on both sides depending on the time of the day to accommodate a smooth traffic flow,” he said. “We do not use concrete barriers on these sections of the highway so driving over this limit can be dangerous.”
Ang also challenged YouTubers who post on social media how fast their sports cars can go on Skyway to challenge him on the race track instead. The car aficionado said his 1960s TVR Griffith 200 can beat any classic Ferrari including the 250 GTO, considered the world’s most expensive Ferrari valued at close to $50 million (P2.417 billion).
Ramon Ang (second from right) leads the ribbon-cutting of the brand new BMW Greenhills showroom
6| How the pandemic has affected Ramon Ang
Ang revealed that he personally got sick from Covid19 three times and that 2020 was really a tough year for him. The tycoon said the experience made him manage his own expectations and fueled his desired to be closer to his family and to spend more time with them. As a family man, Ang said he reflected these ideals with action by taking good care of his SMC family as well, committing some 70,000 doses of vaccine to be given to all the members of his organization.
7| Progress on river-dredging project
Ang also provided an updaet on hi With its Tullahan River dredging program for example, SMC has removed 168,000 metric tons of silt and trash to date. SMC’s five-year project covers the entire 27-kilometer length of the Tullahan-Tinajeros river system. SMC is also advancing the start of dredging at the tributary’s Malabon and Valenzuela sections, to boost government’s flood mitigation efforts before the rainy season sets in.
“We were able to average 1,000 metric tons per day last March to deliver our highest monthly dredging total so far,” he said. “Currently, we are averaging 1,200 metric tons and we will gradually increase to 1,500 metric tons. With the arrival of our new, additional dredging equipment, we will also start dredging Sectors 4 and 5, where heavier flooding was experienced during typhoons last November 2020.”