Universal Motors Corporation--the erstwhile Philippine distributor of Nissan commercial vehicles before Nissan Philippines Inc. was established to take over the Japanese carmaker's operations in the country--is now the importer and seller of Chinese-made BAIC vehicles.
BAIC belongs to the formidable Beijing Automotive Group of China, and is said to be one of the top five domestic car brands in China. BAIC, if we're not mistaken, is acronym for Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co.
According to a press statement released in December last year by Nissan Motor Company, UMC still has a 24.5% stake in the newly established Nissan Philippines. Obviously, UMC, which claims to be "the first and oldest 100% Filipino-owned automotive assembler and distributor in the Philippines, having been in business for the last 60 years," will not be content just watching from the sidelines. The company will always want to be in the thick of the action. Hence, the BAIC distributorship.
An official statement confirms that "BAIC has signed an agreement with Universal Motors Corporation through its subsidiary Bayan Automotive Industries Corporation (Bayan Auto) to be the exclusive Philippine distributor of BAIC vehicles."
Also, the UMC showroom at 2232 Don Chino Roces (Pasong Tamo) in Makati will serve as BAIC's "temporary showroom."
The BAIC models that are available now?
* A523 Senova (first photo below) - a big sedan priced at P2,389,000 (good luck with that);
* Wevan MZ40 (second photo below) - an eight-passenger van with a pair of sliding doors, powered by a 1.2-liter engine and priced at just P468,000;
* X424 (third photo below) - an SUV which BAIC says is manufactured and tested like a "military vehicle," with a price tag of P1,798,000 and which you'll probably consider buying if you haven't heard of the Toyota FJ Cruiser; and
* A113 (fourth photo below) - a small car in sedan and hatchback versions, priced between P650,000 and P800,000 "depending on engine and configuration."
If you're in any way interested in these Chinese vehicles, you may check them out at the Philippine International Motor Show later this month.
Photos from BAIC Philippines' Facebook page