Peugeot Philippines president Glen Dasig on building his French car brand
You spent a good part of your initial time as president of Peugeot Philippines teaching people how to properly pronounce your brand. Why was this so important to you?
When you meet someone for the first time, you wouldn’t want them to mispronounce your name, right? Getting your name right is equivalent to a proper handshake, which becomes the basis of whether you have a relationship or not.
For every brand, the name is the first contact of the customer with you. This is why it was critical for us to teach the public how to pronounce Peugeot. By doing so, we were also able to educate them on a central component of our identity—our French heritage.
The French culture has always fascinated people. One of the best ways to introduce a culture or a way of thinking is through language. As you know, French is one of the most unique languages in the world.
The campaign involved having an eye-catching facade installation at all of our dealerships. This was deliberately done to allow the general public to experience our brand. Even if they had not gone into the showroom, their interest was piqued and they were already engaging with the brand. Just imagine the thousands of motorists in traffic every day, and when they see the display, they start practicing how to pronounce our name.
It is interesting to see how a simple idea created such a huge impact for our brand and has become a conversation piece for many. In fact, it is quite amusing that people have actually approached me saying they now know how to pronounce Peugeot.
You came from an American automaker (Ford), then you moved to a German car company (BMW), and now you’re with a French one. Describe the cultural and corporate differences among the three.
Having such a diverse professional background has taught me that culture plays an integral role in the work environment of companies. Whatever you have read or seen in the movies is true. The Americans tend to be less formal, more direct and forthcoming. The Germans are more formal, and they value precision as reflected in their focus on engineering and performance.
The French, on the other hand, espouse passion for their love of life. They are stylish, refined and emotive—from the way they connect with you and how they look you straight in the eye, to their language that is unique and pleasing to hear. Their passion for beauty is shown in everything they do—from food to fashion, and even automotive. There is a uniqueness that comes from being truly French. When you are in a French company, you are sure to be different and you stand out from the rest.
But while there are cultural differences, what has struck me more is the level of professionalism that each of these brands carries. I am fortunate to have worked with many talented and extremely professional individuals who deeply express the DNA of their respective brands. Essentially, they live the brands, which is the best way to create amazing things for your organization.
People think being president of an automotive company is all cool and glamorous—which it is. Share with us the difficult, unsavory part.
The life of a car company president is more than the events, the parties and the ceremonies. There is a whole lot of planning that goes into making sure that we have the right strategy for the brand. We need to know what is happening in the industry, keep an eye on trends, and be abreast of the latest innovations to see what else we can do for our business.
When people look at success, they only see the glamour, the perks and the spotlight. But that is just the shell. It takes a lot of inner strength, hard work and passion to lead an organization.
As a leader, one must be brave in the face of challenges and humble in times of failure. But what is most important is to have the courage to do what is right. This means having the values to choose the right decision in spite of popular direction, because you know you are responsible for the livelihood and the future of so many families.
Being a president for me also means knowing how to develop the team and shape our culture in such a way that we can weather the changing landscape. Introducing a new brand is no easy feat. But with a strong team, anything is possible.
In the local car industry, you’ve developed a reputation for the GQ-esque clothes you wear. Have you always had a thing for fashion, or is this just something you feel you need to do for your brand?
You’ll be surprised to know that I have a simple reason for always making an effort to be well dressed: respect. I believe it is only but a sign of respect for the brands that I have handled that I represent them well.
Don’t get me wrong—I do love fashion and I find joy in looking well. But beyond the vanity, I dress well because I am proud of my brand and I respect it.
I have always given due respect to the companies I’ve worked for, by being passionate with the tasks I am given, in whatever capacity, and by ensuring that I imbibe and personify the brand. For Peugeot, I value the brand, its heritage and its origins. I want to honor everyone who worked so hard in the past to bring us to where we are now, from customers to employees and partners.
As a new company in the Philippines, the public gets engaged with a brand through those who represent the organization. It is crucial that their first human touchpoint with Peugeot must be someone who imbibes it.
Being stylish, well-dressed, courteous and accommodating are some of the delights we offer our customers when they engage with Peugeot. This shows them that the Peugeot experience is unlike the others. It is unique and unforgettable, and it stands out from the rest.
We already know that Peugeot started out making bicycles and salt and pepper mills. Tell us something we don’t know about the company.
Did you know that Peugeot is more than two centuries old? There are so many things about Peugeot that are fascinating. We are very much part of the history of France with a heritage that spans more that 200 years. When you think about it, not a lot of companies in the world have survived this long. This gives us several lifetimes’ worth of history that chronicles our story from being a simple industrial toolmaker to a global powerhouse that is now the second-largest European carmaker in the world producing all sorts of mobility solutions.
Let me also tell you about the choice of the lion for use as a logo and emblem. Today, the Peugeot lion logo is one of the most widely recognized and distinguishable logos in the automotive world. It has established Peugeot as a prestigious and sought-after brand. But I bet you did not know that it had nothing to do with the automotive industry.
The roots of the logo can be traced back to 1847, when the Peugeot brothers asked Julien Blazer, a jeweler and engraver, to produce a logo for identifying all the products. The chosen design was a lion, as the characteristics of this animal were very similar to those of the saw blades the Peugeot brothers were producing: the strong teeth, the suppleness of the blade like the lion’s spine, and the swiftness of cut like the lion pouncing on its prey.
Today, these three attributes are still very much present in Peugeot products—the inspired sharp design, the well-engineered vehicles, and the emotive character. Our cars are uniquely and unmistakably Peugeot.
The previous distributor of Peugeot in the Philippines closed shop and left customers hanging. What is your best guarantee this won’t happen with your group?
As I mentioned, not a lot of companies have survived over 200 years, and Peugeot Philippines intends to be as strong and established in the country. Our commitment to the Filipino customer has been evident from the start. Peugeot Philippines has been relentless in pursuing this. From establishing nine dealerships in all major islands nationwide in less than two years, to implementing a strong product strategy.
This is also shown in our strong after-sales dedication. We ensure that our service advisors and technicians are highly skilled to diagnose and repair our advanced engines. We invest in ensuring that our parts inventory is robust and able to quickly respond to the needs of the customers.
We are continually working to strengthen our dealer network by ensuring that they have good facilities and equipment, and that they are properly staffed and employees are well trained. A lot of human and financial resources were poured into establishing nine locations in a short time frame. If this is not solid proof of our commitment, I don’t know what is.
Let’s say we’re particularly torn between a Toyota and a Peugeot. Why should we pick your car?
Because Peugeot. Kidding aside, in Peugeot we pride ourselves on our dual expertise, which means we produce cars that are engineered well with striking and gorgeous designs. If a customer wants to be unique and express their individuality without compromising safety and quality, then Peugeot is for them. There is a Peugeot for every customer who wants to upgrade to a European brand and stand out from the crowd.
What’s your dream Peugeot car? And what is your dream non-Peugeot car?
Hands down, it would have to be the Peugeot Onyx concept. The Onyx is a big paradox in itself. It is a supercar that is environment-friendly, with a body made of metal and carbon fiber, and a diesel engine that spews 768hp. It possesses a modern-looking cockpit yet is made of recycled materials. This makes up for an interesting dream car, don’t you think? I wouldn’t mind the stares if I could drive down the street in this gorgeous machine.
For a non-Peugeot car, it would have to be the BMW 507 roadster. This is a very rare classic with only 252 units produced in the world. I really like cars that stand out from the crowd.
You are famously the father of seven kids. What Peugeot vehicle is perfect for such a sizable brood?
I was very fortunate to have had cars that became bigger as my family grew. From a humble Kia Pride to the ginormous Ford Expedition—and now the Peugeot Expert Tepee.
When looking for a family van, the number one consideration of doting fathers is the set of safety features, with comfort being a close second. European cars are best-in-class in these two areas.
Every time my family is in the Expert Tepee, I am confident that they are in a safe environment. All fathers will agree that they always want to protect their precious loved ones, and no amount of money should impede the achievement of this goal.
What can we expect from Peugeot toward the end of the year and also in 2017?
This year, our goal is to strengthen our brand and build awareness of who we are and what we have to offer. In 2017, Peugeot will be on a major product offensive. We will execute our “Push To Pass” global strategy, which is our profitable, responsible and organic growth plan.
The new 3008 and a new van will be launched in the Philippines. These will define the future image of Peugeot as an automotive company that provides superior quality, sharp and timeless designs, and enhanced customer experience.
We will continue to earn the trust of our customers, the media, our dealers, and the whole motoring community. This is our passion and our commitment.