A Russian vehicle brand has finally made its way into the Philippines: GAZ Motors.
Gazelle Motors Group, the official distributor of GAZ Motors in the Philippines, has launched its initial line-up of NEXT minibuses in the local shores at the Manila Polo Club on Thursday.
GAZ will initially offer the NEXT Citiline light commercial vehicle and three trim levels for the NEXT van. The Citiline will be initially offered with a Euro 4 compliant 2.8-liter Cummins turbodiesel engine making 120 hp, but Euro 5 gasoline models, which are powered with a 2.7-liter 4-stroke Evotech engine, will be available for pre-order. The gasoline models can be filled with LPG, though it will result in a slightly lower power output compared to the gas model. There are plans to introduce Euro 6 models as well.
The NEXT Vans are available in three trim levels of varying interior trims – the base van, the more comfortable Premium, and the luxurious Executive Class trim, with the latter customized by Atoy Customs. As with the Citiline, the vans utilize the same turbodiesel engine, but with a higher output at 150 hp and 330 Nm of torque. Euro 5 gasoline models are also available for order as well.
“The start of sales of multi-functional, reliable, and eco-friendly Gazelle NEXT minibuses is the first stage of our entry to the Philippine market, which is interesting from both points of view – commercial sales and in terms of participation in a large scale stake program of public transport modernization. I am sure that together with such a strong partner as Gazelle Motors Corp., we will be able to quickly and confidently develop in this market,” GAZ Motors Senior Vice President Christian Kremer said in a statement.
No pricing yet
Gazelle Motors has yet to reveal the pricing for the NEXT minibuses until the Manila International Auto Show this coming April. After-sales operations for GAZ vehicles will be done by Gazelle’s accredited partners Rapide and Payless. Gazelle Motors Chairman Fernando Martinez told Fast Times that more models will arrive in the local market starting next month.
“GAZ group has the responsibility to supply the highest quality and level of products, to be a reliable partner to supply in the right time and in the right price. We are working on a lot of modifications for the end customers in the Philippines based on our vehicles. We promise not less, not more. We promise environment-friendly technology with the vehicles we have right now – all of them can be ordered with Euro 5 specifications. We are also working on bringing Euro-6 vehicles as soon as the market here is able,” GAZ Group head of sales Kristina Dubinina told Fast Times.
The partnership with Eastern Petroleum and GAZ Motors during President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to Moscow gave rise to Gazelle Motors Corp. Both parties then signed the agreement for Eastern Petoleum to be the official distributor for GAZ vehicles in the Philiipines during the Comtrans Show in Russia in September 2017, with Martinez designeated as chairman for Gazelle Motors Corp.
GAZ Motors stands for GorkovskyAvtomobilnyZavod, or Gorky Automobile Plant, which is located at Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. It was born from a cooperative enterprise with Ford and the Soviet Union as part of the Russian government’s Five-Year Plan in 1932. It halted production of civilian cars and started production of war vehicles during the World War 2. The company is now the top producer of vehicles in Russia and exports to 40 countries.