EXCLUSIVE: New brand, new blood: Is Jetour the future of the local car industry?
Mikko David · Feb 27, 2023 07:00 PM
Last week we reported that the Chinese SUV brand Jetour, a sub-brand of Chery Holding Group, will have a grand reveal at the Manila International Auto Show this coming April 13 to 16, 2023.
But curiously, Chery Philippines, which United Asia Automotive Group Inc. distributes, will not be handling the new brand’s operations. Instead, Jetour has tapped the services of two multi-brand dealer networks, which have found a way to come together for a greater cause.
Autospeedygo Group and Gateway Group of Companies, two of the largest car dealership networks in the country, have joined forces to bring in Jetour. To those familiar with the industry, dealership networks are the frontline of many brands. And it is not uncommon for one dealership group to have various brands managed under its wing.
Both groups operate dealerships of Chevrolet, Peugeot, Nissan, Chery, and other prominent car brands. These dealerships often find themselves in stiff competition in their operational areas. This predicament makes you wonder how they could have found common ground to work together for Jetour.
A new perspective
Yves Jovincci Licup, the son of Vincent Licup, Vice Chairman and COO of Autospeedygo Group, will lead the endeavor as Jetour Auto Philippines president. Michael Goho, vice president of Gateway Group, will assume the same role for Jetour on top of his being the COO of Gateway.
The resulting partnership is enormous and will benefit an upstart brand like Jetour. A dealership network spanning the country’s three main islands will allow Jetour to quickly penetrate and set up a footprint in major urban and provincial markets. The first batch of Jetour dealerships will be set up in Quezon Avenue, Alabang, Pasay, Cebu, Davao, and General Santos City.
“We are frenemies, we compete in many brands, but we also compare notes,” says Yves Licup. “And who better to compare notes with than with your biggest competitor? So creating a partnership with Gateway was just a text away.”
“A lucrative opportunity came about for our groups,” shares Michael Goho. “We wanted to explore this new venture as a distributor given our vast experience handling multi-brand dealerships around the country.”
A breath of fresh air
The refreshingly cordial cooperation between the two companies also highlights another fact about Jetour Auto in the country - it will be run by two young gentlemen who are now beginning to make a mark in the automotive industry.
Yves Licup is 31 years old, and Michael Goho is 33. However, what they do bring to the table is years of experience in the car-selling industry. More importantly, both bring fresh air, akin to the brand positioning Jetour will assume in the Philippines.
“Fresh ideas and an unconventional approach in penetrating the market since we also see various shifts in terms of buying behavior with this newer generation,” says Goho when asked what their youth and perspective will bring to the automotive distribution business.
“The Jetour brand has tremendous potential as we have witnessed the recent rise of China brands,” adds Goho. At the same time, Licup seconds this with a potentially fresh marketing opportunity for Jetour under their leadership. “In line with the brand, we will focus on travel, leisure, and technology as the core pillars of Jetour in the Philippines,” says the new president.
Jet + Tour does stand for convenient + travel when translated from Mandarin to English.
Because Jetour is relatively young, Licup says the brand will focus on a more youthful market and cites technology as its core unique selling proposition.
Goho meanwhile claims that Jetour has what it takes to challenge for market share despite the overwhelming competition in the industry. “The Jetour brand offers various technological and innovative advantages that can compete in the Philippine automotive market,” says the company’s vice president.
Jetour introduced its first model, the Jetour X70, in China in 2018. But this was developed after gaining years of commercial vehicle experience through the Chery brand. And despite being the oldest model in the lineup, it still boasts modern-day innovations such as turbocharging, multi-link independent suspension, panoramic sunroof, tablet-sized infotainment, and 20-inch wheels, all features that appeal to the younger generation.
And to further punctuate the brand’s new-age thinking, Jetour’s whole lineup is composed solely of SUVs, certainly one of the most popular and fastest-growing segments here and abroad. So expect a variety of configurations, from stylish five-seaters to feature-rich seven-seaters such as the X70 Plus and the ultra-modern Jetour Dashing.
And in case you’re wondering, with such a young team at the helm, will we see Jetour Auto Philippines bring in electric vehicles? “Yes, they’re in the pipeline,” declares Licup.
The age of sneakers, jeans, and a jacket
In the age of millennials and xennials now coming of age and ripe for buying cars, Jetour Auto Philippines has an opportunity to carve a distinct niche in the market. And perhaps with youth and a fresh outlook on their side, we might just see a new age of car-selling dawn upon the country.
If competitors can come together to champion a brand new brand, who knows what else can happen in the near future?
With an automotive career spanning 27 years as a former touring car racer turned automotive journalist and photographer, Mikko also handled marketing and PR for two major Japanese car brands before finding peace and purpose in sharing his views about cars, driving, and mobility.