Russian vehicle maker taps PH oil firm

Published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, September 7, 2017

Written by Ronnel W. Domingo

Eastern Petroleum Corp. has teamed up with Russian commercial vehicle maker Gaz Group, which would supply its Gazelle Next buses in answer to the government’s public utility vehicles modernization program.

Based in Nizhny Novgorod City, Gaz is part of Russia’s Basic Element industrial group and exports commercial vehicles to at least 40 countries.

Christian Kremer, Gaz senior vice president for sales and marketing, noted that the Philippine commercial vehicle market was growing by 30 percent yearly.

“The large-scale government’s fleet modernization program begins in 2018,” Kremer said in a statement.

Intended to replace aging PUVs, the program’s planned first stage is meant to retire at least 200,000 units of jeepneys and vans. At the same time, at least 150 new routes will be launched through 2023.

“We are glad that Gaz Group was able to get such a reliable business partner as Eastern Petroleum that will help us to develop rapidly in the market and also become a full participant in the state program for the public transport renewal,” he added.

Under the cooperation agreement with Eastern Petroleum, the latter is granted rights for distribution and after-sales service of Gaz’s light commercial vehicles in the Philippines, including exclusive rights to sell Gazelle Next 17-seater minibus and Gazelle Next Cityline 20-seater bus.

Kremer and Eastern Petroleum chair and chief executive Fernando Martinez signed the agreement at Comtrans 17, an international exhibition of commercial vehicles being held in Moscow, Sept. 4 – 9.

“This partnership with Gaz Group allows us to aggressively participate in the public transport modernization that badly needs private and public sector investments,” Martinez said.

“More than 200,000 units of jeepneys and vans are due for immediate replacement in the next five years,” he said. “The Gaz Group products fully comply with the environmental standards of the Philippines and all requirements for comfort and safety.”