Ramon Ang Makes Surprise Appearance at BMW’s Zoom Conference with Media
SMC Asia Car Distributors Corp. (SMCACDC) arranged a virtual press conference with members of the motoring media to announce the introduction of its BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe 4-door sedan and F 900 R roadster motorcycle last weekend. The virtual launch was separated into two groups – one for the motorcycle group and another one for the automobile group in two Zoom online conferences held Saturday night (June 20).
There wasn’t anything unusual about that except that, aside from SMCACDC President Spencer Yu and his marketing team hosting the Zoom online event, no less than San Miguel Corp’s big boss and car aficionado Ramon S. Ang made a surprise appearance, much to the delight of the motoring media.
It wasn’t the first time that Ang, or RSA as he is fondly called, had shown up in car launches. In the past he would even sit in on intimate conferences involving his favorite luxury car and motorcycle brand that he also represents.
This writer remembers when BMW Motorrad CEO Markus Schramm made a courtesy visit to the Philippines right after being appointed as CEO in October 2018. He was here to visit BMW”s motorcycle distribution in the country, where a small group of writers were invited to a roundtable meeting. RSA made an appearance and chatted with our group. He was also seen in the recent model launches for the X7 SUV and M5 high performance sedan.
During the Zoom conference last week, Ang picked the brains of the journalists, often asking about the latest news in the auto industry and intently listening to all the chatter of some 50 media personalities. Some of them even remarked about their current situations and endeavors, even if unrelated to the automotive industry, just to strike a conversation with arguably the country’s most powerful executive.
Ramon Ang was cool and calm
Like a human sponge, the man just carefully and patiently soaked in all he could and calmly replied to each question and comment eagerly passed to him by the people in the chat group as if they were talking to their favorite and coolest tito, a man who really has some of the coolest cars this side of the planet.
But what was really cool and calm about RSA was his outlook for the luxury automotive market.
“Despite these challenging times, BMW has introduced a pair of new products aimed at growing its footprint in the Philippines,” he said. “We are happy to see a member of the SMC family adapting and maximizing the potentials of technology and the new opportunities it brings. We look forward to being a part of our customers' most cherished experiences in life, whether it is online or at our dealerships where our partners have implemented new guidelines to keep everyone safe."
While one can say that the battle-scarred businessman/philanthropist/car collector has nerves of steel introducing an all-new luxury compact sedan and roadster motorbike at the height of the pandemic, people like him are wired differently. They always think long term. They invest. They take risks, but their appetite for risk is not foolhardy.
New 2-Series Gran Coupe
In the case of the all-new 2 Series Gran Coupe, it is the first-ever sedan in the 2-Series line up to have the sexy silhouette of a 4-door Gran Coupe that was previoously reserved for the upper model ranges of the BMW, so it is a rather important model for the brand.
This four-door coupe’s driving dynamics and nimble handling makes it the perfect choice for young urban professionals with a small family looking for a sporty sedan. Its sexy and appealing profile comes with the same cutting -edge connectivity, ample on-board space and interior feel of its bigger Gran Coupe siblings. Priced at P2.99 million, the new model appeals to first-time BMW owners or those who find the higher models like the 3-Series a bit out of reach.
Dynamic Roadster F 900 R
The introduction of the Dynamic Roadster F 900 R, on the other hand, is likewise BMW PH’s strategy to get a larger chunk of the mid-range motorbike market. It offers a unique range of equipment options, packaged to offer a very attractive value for money proposition. The new BMW F 900 R Dynamic Roadster, is for the purist rider who is self-confident, sporty, active, primarily focused on a dynamic experience.
Earlier we mentioned that the Philippines was the first country its motorcycle division CEO visited. The Philippines started selling BMW motorbikes in 2009 and only sold 28 units, according to Yu. By 2017, sales grew to 470 units and the trajectory has been up since then.
The demand for luxury and premium motorbikes has been growing fast, with BMW leading the market. Prices for the two variants are P655,000 for the standard F 900 R and P775,000 for the sport variant. This is a small admission price to ride with the big boys’ league where big bikes go for seven digit figures. The big bike market is fueled by a growing demand from successful individuals who are mostly into luxury cars but want the freedom of mobility only big bikes can provide.