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Subaru PHL to launch 6 models over next 1.5 years

Text and photos by Kap Maceda Aguila

MOTOR IMAGE PILIPINAS (MIP), official distributor of Subaru in the Philippines, is gearing up for a busy stretch ahead as it lines up the release of six vehicles over one-and-a-half years.

This comes directly from Tan Chong International Limited (the parent company of Motor Image) Managing Director and Deputy Chairman Glenn Tan, who presided over a recent online press conference attended by Philippine media and officials of Subaru Philippines

While declaring that 2021 sales targets will be lowered in view of market difficulties, Mr. Tan reiterated how the Philippines has been a “key market (for Motor Image) in the last 14 years.” Motor Image, which oversees the Subaru brand in Asia, is eyeing to move 1,500 units in the country. “I don’t want to overstock. We want to be a little more conservative in light of the COVID situation,” Mr. Tan revealed.

The executive added that the company is prioritizing the survival of its dealers rather than looking to expand its brick-and-mortar network of showrooms and facilities. “We will not take in new dealers — unless a dealer has given up on a particular location (and someone wants to take that on).”

First in line for launch in the front half of next year is the new Evoltis seven-seater. The SUV is made in the US, where it is badged as the Ascent. Mr. Tan reported that the model has been “received well by American media.” The mid-size crossover SUV is a front-engine, all-wheel drive vehicle powered by a turbocharged 2.4-liter engine with an output of 260hp, and boasts low-end torque. Buyers can expect the Evoltis to be priced below P4 million, but the final tag might known a month before launch.

Also slated for rollout in H1 2021 are the XV (with minor changes) and the all-new Outback. Significantly, all XV models will now have the Subaru EyeSight safety suite of features. The much-awaited all-new second-generation BRZ will be unveiled in Q4 2021. For the first half of 2022, MIP is scheduled to present the all-new WRX and all-new Levorg.

The company also formally introduced its new country manager, Gerry Hernandez, who took over from Michael Ramon B. Luyun who “resigned to pursue his own interests.”

Replying to a question from “Velocity,” Mr. Tan said that the company is looking to evolve and grow its digital presence and tools amid the pandemic. Subaru will roll out a virtual reality system and augmented reality functions so that people are able to experience its portfolio of cars safely.

“We’re revamping our websites,” he continued, “(and) we’ll continue with digital marketing to drive people to them.”

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