The first thing that Volkswagen engineers told Automobile Central Enterprise, the new Philippine distributor of the German carmaker, was that the company cannot sell gasoline-fueled variants in our market. That's because the engineers, after conducting tests and spot checks, found that some of our petrol fuels contain a harmful ingredient.
"They found manganese in some petrol products," revealed ACE sales and marketing head Arnel Doria during a media roundtable at the Manila Polo Club in Makati today. "They use manganese to achieve high octane ratings. It's a substitute for lead and can be damaging to some engine components. Lead has already been banned. Manganese, like lead, also causes ailments that involve the nervous system."
"We were disappointed when we were told we couldn't bring in our gasoline models," ACE president John Philip Orbeta said. "They said our gasoline fuels are bad."
On the other hand, the engineers cleared our diesel fuels.
"The surprise here is that our petrol is bad and our diesel is good, contrary to what we've always believed," Doria added.
To be perfectly clear, the ACE executives pointed out that only the petrol fuels of the smaller oil companies were found to contain manganese. Apparently, the gasoline products of the major brands are okay.
"The major brands submitted to us a certification stating that their fuels do not have manganese," Orbeta shared.
Ultimately, Volkswagen will sell gasoline variants in our market after this issue with petrol fuels has been properly dealt with.
So, how come the gasoline models of brands that belong to the Volkswagen Group--Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini and Bentley, all of which are distributed by PGA Cars--are being sold here without this issue ever having been brought up?
"That's their problem, not ours," the ACE bosses answered matter-of-factly.