Mini big on Cebu market

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

SAYING Cebu is ready for “premium” car brands, local car dealer Auto Global Inc has brought to Cebu the Mini brand, its first dealership outside Metro Manila.

On Tuesday, Mini officials from Manila and Singapore went to Mandaue City to open the 800-square meter Mini Cebu showroom and service center across J Center Mall.

Mini Asia head Preecha Ninatkiattikul said the opening of Mini Cebu is part of its plan of growing the Mini market in the country.


“Mini in the Philippines has a potential to grow,” he said.

Mini is sold through an independent Mini dealer network in over 70 countries around the world. Many of its members already enjoy a long-standing cooperation with the BMW Group as BMW dealers.

At present, the Mini brand holds an eight percent market share for the premium car segment in Manila, said Mini Global City general manger Ryan D. Watson. Last year, it sold 168 Mini units in its showroom and service center in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.

Watson said the company is also eyeing to open Mini centers in Alabang and Quezon City.

Officials said the growth of Mini cars in the Philippines will be driven by market demand for “individualized cars,” which the brand can provide through customization to tailor-fit a unit to the buyer’s preference.

“It’s difficult to find one Mini that’s similar to another Mini,” Watson said.

He said 90 percent of their buyers in Manila do customization, while the remaining 10 percent customize six to 12 months after they purchased the units.

Auto Global president Kris Lyndon C. Go said he is confident the Mini brand will be embraced by Cebuanos, despite the market being saturated by Japanese car brands. Go said Mini is a “legendary” European brand.

Watson said this year, Mini Cebu will focus more on marketing the Mini brand to Cebuanos. The official begged off from disclosing the targeted number of units to be sold in Cebu.

“There’s that feeling of Mini already (here in Cebu),” Go said, adding that he already observed Mini Coopers running on the streets of Cebu since last year.

Mini is a successor to the classic Mini, which first appeared in 1959. Mini One and Mini Cooper were launched in 2001, with the Mini Cooper S and the Mini Cabrio models following in 2002 and 2004 respectively.

Currently, Mini Global City and Cebu sells seven variants of Mini cars, which include the Mini Cabrio, Clubman, Countryman, Coupe, Roadster, Paceman, and John Cooper Works. Also on Tuesday, Mini officials launched the New Mini or the Mini F56. The cars are manufactured in the United Kingdom.

Prices of the car variants range from P2 million to P4 million, Go said. JOG

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 26, 2014.


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