Today, October 1st, officially marks a new chapter in the professional life of former Nissan Motor Philippines (NMPI) marketing and product planning head Raymond Tribdino, as he commences his new job as marketing and sales vice president at Iseway Motors Philippines, where he will concurrently hold the position of director for Philippine operations. Iseway is the authorized local distributor of Chinese-made Chery vehicles.
"Chery believes that the Philippines will be a hub for its ASEAN operations," Tribdino, 44, told TopGear.com.ph. "I think I can help them make it happen."
Iseway presently distributes the A5 subcompact sedan, the Cowin compact sedan, the Eastar midsize sedan, the QQ mini hatchback, the Tiggo compact SUV, the V5 station wagon, the V2 multipurpose van and the Karry compact MPV. All of them boast a significantly cheap price tag compared to the more established competition.
Tribdino leaves NMPI--the distributor of Nissan passenger cars in the country (Universal Motors Corporation imports and sells Nissan commercial vehicles)--after seven years of loyal service to its owner, Taiwan's Yulon Motor Company. He joined NMPI in October 2002. On his Facebook profile, Tribdino described Nissan as "the best automotive brand, period."
The question now is: What would drive someone to leave "the best automotive brand" in favor of a Chinese stable that has failed to take off in the Philippine market even after more than two years of presence?
"Chinese cars will be the future," Tribdino confidently said. "I want to ride the wave early--as in now. The challenge of China's capitalist automotive venture is just too much to resist."
Asked if NMPI was in any sort of trouble, he replied: "Oh, no! On the contrary, NMPI is finally poised to launch the all-new X-Trail, which was my last baby before I left."
Pressed again about how confident he was with his decision, the business management graduate, who had been a motoring journalist himself before crossing over to the other side of the industry fence, said: "It's a big and crazy jump--make or break. In all honesty, it was a very difficult decision for me."
Let's just say the truly difficult part--that of selling a Chinese nameplate to a brand-conscious Filipino car market--is only just beginning.