Eastern Petroleum unit sees orders for Russian vehicles to hit 500 a year

GAZELLE Motors Corp., a subsidiary of Eastern Petroleum, is eyeing orders for Russian commercial vehicles to reach 500 in a year.

Gazelle Motors is the distributor of GAZelle NEXT minibuses and GAZelle NEXT Citiline framed buses in the Philippines. The units were manufactured by GAZ Group, the leading manufacturer of commercial vehicles in Russia.

The vehicles are equipped with Cummins diesel engine ISF 2.8L and are now being sold through the own dealer centers network of Gazelle Motors. Martinez said he has already sold a few units, albeit for private use.

Gazelle Motors is actively participating in the state program of modernization of public transport.

A cooperation agreement between GAZ Group and Eastern Petroleum was signed in September 2017. They agreed to supply to the Philippines commercial vehicles and buses of the GAZelle NEXT family, which would meet the requirements of the government’s Fleet Modernization Program (FMM).

The FMM is a large-scale state program aiming to replace old public vehicles. At the first stage until 2023, more than 200,000  buses will be replaced by new ones, and more than 150 new bus routes will be launched. The key goal of the program is the full transport-system modernization that should rely on reliable, safe and comfortable buses meeting the highest environmental standards.

“We intend to sell 500, maybe 600 units, for the first year. But, if we customize it locally, then we can get more,” Martinez said, adding that his company intends to manufacture the units in the country soon. “These units are for intended for both private and public use, particularly UV Express type.”

The cheapest GAZelle unit is valued at P2.3 million that, according to Martinez, is cheaper by P300,000 than those sold in the market today.

“We are talking with drivers associations, with endorsement from local government units, and the transportation department,” Martinez said. “There are also banks that will help finance it.”  GAZelle NEXT Minibuses can be effectively used for route transportation (up to 17 passengers), or as a company office vehicle or a tourist bus. The design of the minibus provides for the possibility of transporting standing passengers. The minibus can serve as the platform for various specialized vehicles: public-utility vehicles, transport for disabled people, school buses, airport shuttles and executive corporative minibuses.

The GAZelle NEXT Citiline frame bus has a shorter overall length but a wider overall width of the body. Despite their compact dimensions, these buses can carry up to 19 passengers. The buses are equipped with comfortable passenger seats and railings, allowing passengers to comfortably and safely move around in the passenger compartment.

GAZelle NEXT is powered by the new Cummins diesel engine ISF 2.8L that’s available in Euro 4 and Euro 5 eco standards. The engine displacement is 2.8L, the power 150 hp, the torque  330 Nm. Sales and after-sales service of GAZ vehicles will be provided by five dealer centers of Gazelle Motors Corp. in the Philippines and a network of 35 fully trained and accredited aftersales service centers throughout the country provided by local partner’s companies—Rapide and Payless.

“The start of sales of multifunctional, reliable and eco-friendly GAZelle NEXT minibuses is the first stage of our entry to 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,” said Christian Kremer, SVP for Sales and Marketing of GAZ Group. “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.”