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Top Gear Philippines

This is the first Land Rover Forward Control 101 Ambulance imported into the country

Automobile Central Enterprise

"From day one, Volkswagen has always wanted to come back to the Philippines with a bang," Automobile Central Enterprise sales and marketing head Arnel Doria told TopGear.com.ph.

That statement may have been the most crucial one spoken at today's round-table meeting between the newly appointed Volkswagen distributor and the motoring press.

"With a bang" means moving fast. After Ayala Automotive Holdings' appointment as Volkswagen distributor in October last year, ACE was incorporated in January this year specifically to handle the VW business. Ayala Automotive Holdings has interests in other brands like Honda and Isuzu. In April, ACE moved to its new digs in Bonifacio Global City. The following month saw the ground-breaking ceremonies for the first VW showroom, on 28th Street also in BGC (between the showrooms of Audi and Honda). Next month, in September, ACE will officially launch the Volkswagen brand in our market, to be complemented by the opening of the BGC dealership.

"With a bang" means shocking and awing upon one's arrival. According to Doria, Volkswagen will be launched at the Ayala-owned Greenbelt. And not just in one wing of the shopping complex, but in all five (yes, that's Greenbelt 1 to 5). Talk about making noise.

But most of all, "with a bang" means impressing the market with an attractive product lineup. At launch, Doria said ACE will immediately make available the Jetta, the Polo, the Touran, the Touareg and the Tiguan--all powered by TDI diesel engines. Arriving a little later is the New Beetle (but of course), the only model equipped with a petrol engine among ACE's initial offerings.

Why mostly diesel?

"Volkswagen engineers conducted tests of our fuels, and surprisingly, they had no issues with our diesel products," Doria revealed. "It was our gasoline fuels that didn't meet the standards of VW engineers."

The Touran, the Tiguan and the Touareg will all be sourced from Germany, while the Jetta and the Beetle will come from Mexico. The Polo will be imported from India. Doria explained that it is simply not possible to get the units from China--where Volkswagen has a big manufacturing base--since the demand of the Chinese market alone is more than what VW's facilities in the country can produce.

In the pipeline for the Philippine market are the Golf and the Passat CC.

As for the Scirocco, Doria could only lament: "Too expensive."

Asked why Volkswagen picked Ayala among a handful of suitors from the Philippines, Doria said: "In my opinion, Volkswagen wanted to come back to the Philippines with a bang. And they need a big company like Ayala to achieve that."

Vernon B. Sarne
Editor-In-Chief
The editor-in-chief has been a motoring journalist for almost two decades. He only looks young (or so he thinks) because his job is literally a fountain of youth.
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