|Chief Operating Officer of Kia Philippines, Brian Buendia
Kia Philippines Motor Corporation (KPMC) recently ushered in a new chapter with the recent appointment of its new leader Brian Buendia. As Chief Operating Officer, Buendia, who has been with AC Motors—the automotive arm of Ayala Corporation (AC)—since 1998, will lead Kia PH’s Movement That Inspires into a new phase.
“Dynamic, innovative, and inspiring. These are the pillars upon which my vision for Kia Philippines is based,” says Buendia. “We will refine the Kia buying and ownership experience by bringing our corporate identity and culture to the fore; strengthen our industry rankings through the introduction of new and exciting models; expand our already growing nationwide dealership network; and, establish Kia as a major player in the rapidly growing electric vehicle (EV) market through our EV6 and future new-energy vehicle (NEV) models".
Although the drive to a sustainable future of mobility has already begun with the introduction of the multi-awarded EV6 as the ultra-modern face of Kia with its innovation and technology features, here is the roadmap to an even more dynamic, innovative, and inspiring future for the Kia brand through the leadership of Buendia.
THE NEW KIA CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE AND DEDICATION TO SERVICE
The Kia Corporate Identity as seen through the new look in its dealerships is not just skin deep. The dedication to exceptional service and a pleasurable customer experience from the showroom to the service bay is what the brand promises to its valued customers.
To improve the customer experience and lessen downtime when a vehicle is in need of service or emergency repairs, parts availability will be enhanced thanks to a new partnership with Entrego. On Time Delivery for emergency parts within the Metro Manila network is also Kia’s commitment. This service and a massive parts warehouse mean that customers can be assured of swift parts availability.
Kia Philippines is also committed to continuously improving the skills of its sales and aftersales personnel with regular dealer manpower training through certification programs and audits. Key among these programs is the Kia National Skills Cup. This dealer-wide competition showcases the skillfulness of Kia’s aftersales department, and its mission to deliver the best experience to its customers. It is a rigorous competition that includes a theoretical skills test; a practical test; and an on-vehicle scenario-based test. Kia’s 2022 National Skills Cup champion is now in Korea to represent the Philippines in the 6th Kia Service Advisor World Competition.
EXPANDING THE MARKET AND SERVICE COVERAGE
The entire Philippine automotive market recovered and finished strong in 2022 closing at 370,000 units sold. The 2023 outlook is 10% growth and comparable to pre-pandemic levels of 400,000 units sold.
Kia Philippines is set to outpace industry growth in 2023 by double digits. Its position in the industry rankings will be fortified by the introduction of new models and the further strengthening of the distribution network. By 2024, Kia will expand its network to 50 full-operating dealerships nationwide.
The Kia brand will be further recognized in the critical mainstream segments with the scheduled arrival of new models. As aligned with Kia’s global strategy, NEVs will be introduced, together with mainstream Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) models, to further strengthen the line-up. Globally, Kia plans to have 15 EVs in its lineup by 2027.
Considering the availability of key models, sales are estimated to increase towards the second half of 2023. The Stonic remains the volume driver model with 49%. Followed by the Soluto and K2500. Kia grew 19% versus the same period last year, despite supply limitations.
LEADING THE LOCAL EV REVOLUTION
Kia Philippines is already poised to grow an even larger share in the local EV segment because of the recent launch of the EV6. The brand will also take advantage of the current incentives for EVs, which include exemption from excise taxes until early 2028; a 30% discount on MV users’ charges on registration, inspection, and renewal; and more infrastructure dedicated to EV parking and charging slots. With this confidence comes the commitment that Kia Philippines will introduce additional EVs.
By 2027, 14% of total automobile sales is forecasted to belong to EVs. Given these trends, electric mobility plays a huge role in the strategy of Kia Philippines. Globally, all Kia vehicles undergo sustainable design development while keeping with Kia’s “Opposites-united” design philosophy which expands the use of recycled plastics and the application of eco-friendly materials.
KIA PHILIPPINES AND THE FUTURE
With Buendia’s background and experience in sales, business development and network operations, Kia Philippines is confident in his ability to anticipate and carry out crucial brand and market executions for Kia in the future. “Kia Philippines is already a major player in the local industry as well as in the region,” says Buendia. “Kia Philippines became one of the fastest-growing car brands locally and was also recognized by Kia Asia Pacific (K-APAC) for achieving the highest growth rate in the region, as well as being the number one independent distributor in retail sales in 2022. I will build upon these accolades to further steer Kia Philippines to greater success.”