Russian car brand enters PH

by Malaya Business Insight 

Eastern Petroleum Corp. last week launched its partnership with Russian car manufacturer GAZ Group to form Gazelle Motors Corp. and start selling minibuses and framed buses in the country.

The company is targeting to sell as much as 500 units on its first year of operations, ramping up to 2,000 units by 2021.

Once viable, the partnership will consider local assembly.

“Our entry level model is pegged at around P2.3 million and our competition’s price is around P2.6 million so we are around P300,000 (cheaper),” said Fernando Martinez,  chief executive officer of Gazelle Motors Corp. and Eastern Petroleum.

The  models  are said to compete against European cars.

Martinez said the company has a  site in Cavite and in Mindanao for the possible car assembly.

He said the company would be able to save around 19 percent in tariff if the units are assembled locally. The  imports are slapped 32 percent tax, 20 percent tariff and 12 percent value-added tax.

Gazelle Motors through dealer centers will initially sell  GAZelle Next minibuses and GAZelle Next Citiline framed buses that are equipped with Cummins diesel engine ISF 2.8l.

Martinez said the company has obtained private orders and is eyeing  drivers associations to market the products.

GAZelle Next Minibuses are ideal for route transportation vehicles for  up to 17 passengers, or as  company office vehicles or  tourist buses.

Gazelle Motors has appointed five  dealer centers  and accredited 35  aftersales service centers.

“The start of sales of multi-functional, reliable and eco-friendly GAZelle Next minibuses is the first stage of our (entry)  in the Philippine market, which is interesting from both points of view – commercial sales and in terms of participation in a large-scale state program of public transport modernization. I am sure that together with such a strong partner as Gazelle Motors Corp., we will be able to quickly and confidently develop in this market,” senior vice president for sales and marketing of GAZ Group, Christian Kremer said in a statement.

The cooperation agreement between GAZ Group and Eastern Petroleum was signed in September 2017. The companies agreed to supply the commercial vehicles to the country, as well as multi-functional, reliable and modern buses of the GAZelle Next family which fully meet the requirements of the government’s Fleet Modernization Program.

Martinez said Russian-made cars are known for their durability in overcoming extreme weather conditions.