IT is innate in every Filipino to dream big. Living in a country where tragedies happen very often, where going abroad is the first resort in search for greener pastures, the Filipinos’ talent is usually put to good use in other countries.
But a trio of Southerners decided to take their skills and love for cars into a whole new level by putting up a “design-your-own supercar” business.
All from Laguna, siblings Bryan Factor and Kevin Factor, along with Brendan Aurelio, share a passion for cars long before Factor-Aurelio Customs existed. The company produces supercar-inspired vehicles that come at significantly lower prices.
The 25-year-old Bryan said that Aurelio, 37, makes the cars’ designs while younger brother Kevin, 22, is in charge of research regarding the cars’ aerodynamics.
Raising the funds
“We started the company on February 17 this year. Brendan and Kevin were friends for more than five years, and then Kevin introduced Brendan to me about a year ago,” Bryan said.
“I met Brendan in December last year and we discussed how we can collaborate. I have experience in marketing and investment relations. I told them that I will gather the necessary resources that we would be utilizing, raise the funding, and take care of marketing and business relations while Kevin and Brendan will just focus on creating the cars,” he said.
“Our goal is to establish an automotive manufacturing company here in the Philippines. With the right funding and investment, I can start a company that can be the backbone of this country’s economy,” Bryan said.
However, he admitted that it was not easy getting the ample budget for the projects.
“It’s hard to get the funding. It would take months before the bank approves to give it. I also asked someone if they can invest on our ideas. That time, all were just plain ideas and we can’t blame them if they were skeptical,” he recalled.
“I borrowed money from our parents. They supported us and there was a point when we had to pawn some of our possessions just to fund the two prototypes,” the older Factor sibling added.
Although the vehicles resemble a Lamborghini, Bryan said Aurelio and Kevin designed the two prototypes, then through “trial and error have made our own mold.” Even now we think that there are a lot of things that we wanted to do with the car but we need more funding to finish them,” he said.
Bryan said the body of their prototype is made of reinforced fiberglass plastic while the chassis is made of tubular steel.
“Many are asking why we did not make the body out of carbon-fiber. We told them we can do that if we have a composite curing system like those available in other countries. And carbon-fiber is much more expensive than fiberglass,” he explained.
Bryan noted that most of the parts used for the cars were locally made.
“Almost 80 percent of the components of the prototypes are made in the Philippines. Only the tires, brake system, transmission, engine and suspension are not made here since we have no resources to make such parts.
“We made our own chassis, body and dashboard, while we found the right collaborators to create the glass, wheels, seats and interiors. The two units are a labor of love, products of sacrifices and dedication. The body was handcrafted and the only machines used were a buffing machine, a grinder and an air compressor for painting,” Bryan said.
Both prototypes have hand-built reinforced fiberglass bodies, steel-tube chassis frames, mid-mounted Mitsubishi 4G63 turbocharged engines, and 18-inch Rota alloy wheels. They have an approximate top speed of 300kph and a claimed power-to-weight ratio of 457hp per ton.
Asked about the price, Bryan said that one of the finished products has a tag between P1.5 million to P1.6 million.
He assured that the vehicles are roadworthy and comply with government rules. “Before turning over a unit we will make sure that we have complied with the necessary requirements of the LTO,” Bryan said, adding that they have drove the cars at the South Luzon Expressway when they joined the recent Trans Sport Show.
“As of now there are orders coming in, not just locally but also outside the Philippines. However, I told them that I will inform them as soon as we have established everything,” he said.
With regards to their capacity to build the vehicles on a larger scale, Bryan said that they could most likely “produce six to 10 units a year with their current manpower.”
He added that there will be a limit on the number of models that they would produce and they will make cars on a per-order basis.
“Interiors will be designed based on the client’s demands. One could choose what fabric would be fitted on seats, among others,” he said.
The vehicles that would be produced are much detailed than the prototypes, according to him.
“Even though we built the two prototypes in three months, I tell clients it will take four months before we can turn over the units so we can perfect the details.”
The cars are covered by a one-year warranty. Bryan said they are also looking forward to talking with car companies to see if they can supply brand-new engines.
With ingenuity that is purely Filipino, many are hoping this would not go to waste.