BAIC Philippines opens flagship showroom, launches light truck models

Ceremonial ribbon-cutting by Mr. George Chua of BAIC Philippines and Dr. Haiyang Dong of BAIC International

BAIC H5 light truck

BAIC Freedom compact truck

BAIC Philippines formally opened their flagship showroom in Makati City last July 14 and made the new facilities the backdrop for the official unveiling of their new Bayanihan H5 light truck and Freedom compact truck models. The flagship showroom in a new, purpose-built building now speaks of BAIC Philippines’ continued commitment to this market, while the new Bayanihan H5 and Freedom trucks show their intent to keep providing up-to-date, affordable and versatile vehicles to Philippine customers.

Flagship to a fleet of showrooms and service centers

The inauguration of the flagship facilities comes with the automotive brand already having 8 dealers and 22 accredited service centers in Luzon, Visayas and in Mindanao.  A division of Universal Motors Corporation (UMC), BAIC’s Philippine distributor Bayan Automotive Industries Corporation (Bayan Auto) was launched almost three years ago at the 2014 Philippine International Motor Show. 

The new showroom stands in the country’s premier business district at 2232 Don Chino Roces Avenue in Makati City. The new two-storey building has 1,200 square meters of floor-space featuring a 12-vehicle street-front showroom, a plush customer lounge, multiple sales offices, an after-sales services reception area, and the executive suites.  Well attended by business partners, customers, members of the motoring press, and by BAIC global brand dignitaries, the inauguration was officiated by Mr. George Chua, president and CEO of BAIC Philippines, and was graced with the participation of Dr. Haiyang Dong, president and CEO of BAIC International Development Co., Ltd.

The event was a milestone in many ways with Mr. Chua saying, “close to 3 years ago when we first introduced the BAIC Brand in the Philippines … we were confident that with the long and strong history of UMC and partnership with the dynamic and global outlook of BAIC, failure was not an option.”  Adding to the significance of the occasion, Dr. Dong revealed that, “the Philippines is a key market and a potential hub to service the ASEAN market.”

Mindful focus on Euro 4, lowest taxed haulers

“Establishing a new brand is indeed a challenge and doing so in a highly competitive market like the Philippines requires more than experience, financial resources and luck,” says Mr. Chua. “We realize that for us to succeed we must have the right product at the right price.” 

Citing the county’s clean air act which mandates January 1, 2018 as the deadline for all new vehicles to be Euro 4 compliant, and the tax reform program that calls for a significant increase in vehicle excise taxes, Mr. Chua observed that these make “ownership of new vehicles more difficult and possibly out-of-reach for many of our countrymen.” 

With these compelling factors in mind, BAIC Philippines has officially launched their Bayanihan H5 cab and chassis and Freedom compact truck, both with SRPs that put these squarely in the lowest taxed tier of the new vehicle excise tax structure.  The Bayanihan H5 is the only model in the light truck category that offers a ton-and-a-half of payload on a roomy 10-foot rear deck and is powered by an up-to-date Euro 4 compliant turbodiesel.  The Bayanihan H5 lists at P598,000 in basic cab-and-chassis form with built up variants that will feature dropside flatbed, aluminum van and passenger rear bodies—the last, also with an option for dual-type air-conditioning.

Completing BAIC Philippines’ small hauler line-up is the new Freedom offered in pickup truck layouts with a dropside flatbed cargo bed in back and either a single- or double-cab up front.  SRP for the single-cab variant is P458,000, the double-cab’s is P488,000. With its Euro 4 compliant 94hp, 115Nm of torque, 1.4L gasoline engine and almost a ton payload, the Freedom offers surprisingly mainstream capabilities yet at competitive prices. And the double-cab variant in itself is a rare enough offering in the light truck category, at least as far as new vehicles are concerned.  In Mr. Chua’s estimation, these features put together make the Freedom, “the affordable, smart man’s pickup!”

More to come from BAIC

Mr. Chua reveals that, in addition to the Bayanihan H5 light truck and Freedom compact truck, BAIC Philippines is looking to introduce a new model among their MPV offerings.  Although other details are still under wraps, Mr. Chua says the distinction of the new multi-purpose-vehicle vis-a-vis their popular M20 MPV will be an automatic gearbox for driving convenience in the country’s notorious traffic jams.