GERMAN-based car manufacturer Volkswagen has raised the possibility of setting up a factory in the Philippines.
Weiming Soh, executive vice president of Volkswagen AG, and the company’s president for Commercial Operations of Greater China and Asean, said this is the time that the brand’s presence in the Southeast Asia should be felt.
Soh, however, said he could not categorically tell if this possibility would happen soon.
“Yes we have to build a big factory in the Asian region, or perhaps in the Philippines, but it is still early to say when it will happen,” he said.
Soh added that Volkswagen has just started the first chapter of its presence in the Philippines when it decided to reintroduce the brand in the country.
“This is just chapter one. We will continue to evaluate and study our presence in the Philippines,” he further said.
Volkswagen has partnered with Ayala Corp. under Ayala Automotive Holdings Corp. to reintroduce the cars in the country.
The launch was held at Ayala Tower One and Exchange Plaza, highlighting the brand’s heritage under the theme “The Time is Now.”
During the launch, Soh said, “Volkswagen started with a vision adding, that when Ferdinand Porsche developed the first Volkswagen prototype, his dream was to create a car that was affordable for everyone.”
“The time to come back to the Philippines is now,” Soh added.
According to him, the Southeast Asian market, including the emerging Philippine market, is the next frontier for Volkswagen in the Asia Pacific region.
“We are very excited to reconnect with the Filipino market, knowing how well-loved Volkswagen is in the Philippines. Volks, being a status icon here, as it is around the world, is like no other car before or after,” Soh added.
He noted that despite the brand’s huge presence in Europe and China, their share of the 4-million unit market in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations remains small.
That would presumably change soon as the brand is looking for opportunities within the region.
During the launch, Volkswagen showcased the Touareg, Touran, Tiguan, Phaeton, Golf, CC, Polo Hatchback, Beetle Cabriolet and of course, the Beetle Classic. The initial local lineup for local sales are the Beetle, Jetta, Tiguan, Touareg and Tiguan.
Today, the Volkswagen Group is the largest automotive manufacturer in Europe, featuring 12 brands such as Volkswagen Passenger Vehicles, Audi, SEAT, +KODA, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Ducati, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Scania and MAN.
Currently, the Volkswagen Group operates 104 production plants around the world, with more than 550,000 employees producing more than 37,700 vehicles per working day.