Early this year, SsangYong returned to our market through its new distributor SsangYong Berjaya Motor Philippines. Officially making a brand launch at the 2016 Manila International Auto Show where it unveiled three models, the Korean marque seems set on establishing its identity in our part of the globe. Top Gear Philippines recently sat down with its managing director, Dave Macasadia, to talk about the company's goals and its rebirth in the country.
Top Gear Philippines (TGP): Korean brands have made a reputation for themselves in our car industry. Is this part of the reason Berjaya chose to invest in SsangYong?
Dave Macasadia (DM): There are several factors. SsangYong represents a true Korean heritage. It has 60 years of manufacturing expertise and has established itself as a major player in the South Korean automotive scene. It is establishing its own unique identity through modern design and solid engineering of its models.
On the other hand, Berjaya has always been an automotive industry-focused company that has proven that it can transform a brand, give it its own identity, and make it stand on its own. This is the same challenge we saw in partnering with SsangYong Motor. It is also very timely that starting this year, the Korean-Asean Free Trade Agreement implements its decreased tariff trade rate for vehicles imported from Korea to 5%.
TGP: What is the goal of the brand's comeback in the Philippines?
DM: The BAP-SsangYong partnership has been designed from the ground up to cater to our customer's needs and satisfaction. So we make our own path and establish the brand as a premium, innovative and respected Korean brand.
TGP: SsangYong did not enjoy a very solid reputation in the country before Berjaya's involvement in it. What are the challenges of heading the brand?
DM: Whatever perception the public had before, we want to be different. We are here to take a new path. We are here to drive different.
TGP: What is your favorite SsangYong model?
DM: I like the SsangYong Rodius. I am a family man, and this vehicle fits the needs of a family. The Rodius is a dynamic, elegant and luxurious MPV with true SUV functionality.