Ayala’s 6th auto brand to help form ‘backbone of PH economic growth’

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Felipe Estrella and Reginald See

From Britain to the Philippines in 123 years, and it had to take the Oriental route. That’s how British brand Leyland Motors found its way to the Philippines.

Leyland Motors was a manufacturer of lorries, buses and trolleybuses when it was formed in the late 19th, and throughout the early 20th centuries. The company diversified into car manufacturing with its acquisitions of Triumph and Rover in 1960 and 1967, respectively. Understandably, this auto brand never really rung a bell with Filipinos all that time, and my first encounter with the brand in literature was with “The Car Book: The Definitive Visual History”. The book showed an image of the Leyland Mini Moke 1968 with its 998cc, straight-four engine, and a top speed of 75 mph (120km/h). Looking functional and practical, it was made in Australia.

Thus, I was a bit surprised that AC Industrials, an Ayala Corp. subsidiary that handles its automotive businesses, would tap into British heritage by launching Maxus Philippines at Blue Leaf Filipinas in Parañaque City last June 5. What unique flavor does the Leyland/Maxus brand bring to the Ayala automotive buffet?

That question was clearly answered soon enough as soon as the new Maxus vehicle models rolled onto the stage. No sports cars, sedans, nor SUVs roared their way in, but four people carriers—three vans and one MPV. Easily these vehicles could have swallowed half of the hundred or so guests in attendance. And with that, Maxus Philippines staked its claim in the burgeoning van and MPV category by debuting its flagship model the G10 family MPV and the V80 Comfort, Flex and Transport vans. A truly wise move, expected of a 185-year-old conglomerate that believes commercial vehicles (CVs) are the backbone of the country’s economic growth. Its success, however, will depend on how the Filipino public will receive a British-born marque with a 123-year heritage that’s virtually unknown in this side of the globe.

Maxus airbags

“While new to the local market, Maxus is already an accomplished automotive brand in the global sphere. It traces its roots to 1896 when the Leyland Steam Van was built. This vehicle would eventually lead to the creation of Leyland Motors in 1907, and become the great predecessor of many British-made icons such as Maxus. The Leyland DAF Vans (LDV) Group launched the Maxus brand in 2004, and in 2010, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) acquired the assets of the LDV Group, and continued the Maxus brand. It now has distributorships in Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Africa, among others. Maxus has firmly established its place in the European and global commercial vehicle market, and has established itself as a leader in the design, production and distribution of international commercial vehicles,” narrated Felipe Estrella, Maxus Philippines’ president, as he traced Maxus lineage from the beginning.

“It is this European heritage, coupled with the scale and global support of SAIC, that provides AC Industrials with the confidence to introduce Maxus to the fast-growing Philippine market,” he added.

AC Industrials and Maxus Philippines CEO Arthur Tan said, “The Maxus brand continues AC Industrials’ strategy of providing automobiles and motorcycles that not only speak of the rich heritage of their countries of origin, but are also the best examples of a global collaboration in vehicle engineering, design, assembly, and distribution.”

Maxus Philippines becomes the sixth automotive brand partner under AC Industrials’ wing, which includes other world-renowned car brands Honda, Isuzu, Volkswagen, Kia and KTM motorcycles. Maxus has become one of Europe’s most influential and recognized commercial vehicle brands, and a leader in the design, production and distribution of international commercial vehicles.

Arthur Tan

Backbone of economy

“If you’re growing the economy, you need to do certain things. You need to move people around. You need to move goods around. You need to provide services to the public and to the people. And that’s where commercial vehicles come in. Commercial vehicles address those different needs,” Estrella explained to Inquirer Motoring.

And when it comes to CVs, Maxus was literally born to be one. The Maxus nameplate first appeared with the launch of the “Maxus” prototype LD100 van at the end of 2004. The distinctive Maxus V80 and Maxus G10 first rolled out in 2011 and 2014, respectively, with the Maxus G10 establishing the Maxus brand image.

Maxus has also been looking to expand its vehicle portfolio and technologies, prototyping a pure electric wide-body light bus in 2014, an all-electric MPV in 2016, a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, and internet-connected SUV in 2017.

During the Maxus launch program, which was themed “Max It Out!,” Maxus Philippines introduced the initial models to be offered locally:

Maxus G10

The Maxus G10 offers “Max Design” in a 9-seater MPV configuration that offers spacious interior amenities, highlighted by adjustable seating for all seats, which includes four captain’s seats in the second and third rows, and 60:40 split rear bench seat with tumble, flexible and spacious luggage room, 7-inch touchscreen radio with USB and Bluetooth and 6-speaker system, a 220-volt power supply, and front and rear air-conditioning system.

For “Max Safety”, the Maxus G10 features the double-layer welding technology that meets European MPV active and passive safety standards, driver, front passenger and side airbags, 3-point seatbelts for all seats, ISOFIX Child Seats, and front and rear parking sensors. For “Max Stability” and handling, the G10 is fitted with a McPherson suspension at the front, and the 5-link coil springs at the rear, and chassis timing by Lotus and GM Pan-Asia, resulting to increased stability and better handling.

The Maxus G10 offers “Max Adventures” for all members of the family. Powered by a Euro4 1.9-liter diesel engine equipped with VGT charger mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission that produces a maximum 148 horsepower at 4,000rpm and a maximum torque of 350 Nm at 1,800 to 2,600rpm, the Maxus G10 can go on road trips “to the Max!” with the high-power yet fuel-efficient output.

With all its “Max-ed Out” features, the G10 is offered at a “Max Savings” special introductory price of just P1.68 million.

Maxus G10 interior seat layout

Maxus V80 Comfort, Flex and Transport

Maxus Philippines has positioned the V80 Comfort as its “Max-Mataas, Max-Maluwag, and Max-Protektado (taller, roomier, safer)” van. Its 13-seat capacity makes it ideal as a family van, as a school bus or passenger shuttle service. Being the widest in its class, the V80 Comfort offers “Max Capacity” as it can be loaded to up to 1.1 tons, and is sufficiently powered by a 2.5-liter CRDI diesel engine with VGT. The V80 Comfort’s dual front airbags, ABS, EBD, ISOFIX, and rear proximity sensors offer “Max Protection”. The V80 Comfort is offered at a “Max-Sulit” price of P1.57 million.

The 3-seater V80 Flex is the van that’s “Max-Malakas, Max-Malaki, Max-Maaasahan (more powerful, bigger, more dependable)”. With the same body dimensions, engine, safety features, and load capacity as the V80 Comfort, the V80 Flex is the ideal van for Filipino small- and-medium entrepreneurs (SMEs) who require “Max Flexibility” for the powerful and efficient transport of their cargo. The V80 Flex offers spacious, flexible interiors. The Maxus V80 Flex is made “Max-Sulit” with its price of only P1.19 million.

Lastly, the V80 Transport variant offers an 18-seat passenger capacity which is ideal for the shuttle service business. It is equipped with the same engine and safety features of the other V80 variants. The Transport version comes with a “Max-Sulit” price of P1.288 million.

Maxus driver-oriented dashboard

In describing the company and its vehicle offers, Estrella said: “All of our automotive brands offer unique value propositions to particular segments of the motoring market, and we envision Maxus to be very competitive in the commercial vehicle category, particularly in the passenger van and MPV segments. Not only does its strength lie in transporting families, Maxus also adds a distinct proposition to cargo transport and shuttle services, offering our multitude of Pinoy SMEs, the opportunity to get their shuttle and cargo businesses going in style, comfort and power.”

Reginald See, Maxus Philippines’ GM, highlighted the easy maintenance of the Maxus models: “For the convenience and peace of mind of the Maxus owner, the periodic maintenance service or PMS interval schedule of the three models is the first 5,000 km, and every succeeding 10,000 km, or only once a year, whichever comes first. The warranty coverage is three years or 100,000 km, whichever comes first. It comes with 24/7 roadside assistance, parts support, on-site servicing for fleet accounts and pick-up delivery service for our valued customers.”

See added that Maxus Philippines also offers a 24/7 emergency roadside assistance, a pick-up and delivery service for customers, and on-site servicing for corporate fleet accounts.

Maxus stylish foglamps

Dealer network

Maxus Philippines also revealed that it will soon establish a dealership network that will be accessible to customers right in the heart of Metro Manila, particularly at the Greenfield District Showroom and Service Center in Mandaluyong City—the first showroom and aftersales facilities. Subsequently, Maxus Philippines will bring the brand closer to customers with dealerships at ASEANA Manila Bay in Parañaque City, Quezon Avenue in Quezon City and Cebu in the Visayas region.

Maxus Philippines will also be appointing other dealers across the country following the establishment of its initial network.

For more information on Maxus Philippines, and the G10 MPV and the V80 Comfort, Flex and Transport vans, log on to www.maxus.com.ph.



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