Ford Group PH’s managing director speaks.
Bertrand Lessard tells us it has been a very fast eight months since he first arrived in the country to take over as managing director of Ford Group Philippines. The revised excise taxes were yet to be finalized then, and there was an air of uncertainty within the industry. “We believe there was a rush to buy cars in December, so we should not base the performance of the industry based on these months,” he shares. “However, we think there will be growth in 2018, but the segments will change. Pickup sales will grow.”
This is because the segment is exempt from the new excise taxes, which means pickups like the upcoming Ranger Raptor have become highly anticipated models. “We haven’t finalized how many Ranger Raptors we plan to bring in,” Lessard tells us. “It depends on the supply and the production. It’s going to arrive in 2018 for sure, and it will be an interesting addition to our lineup. It’s a beast. It’s conceptually the same approach as the F-150 Raptor, and we have a lot of know-how with that.”
As for the physical dealership, he says that it won’t disappear, contrary to what some people say. It’s a necessary interface between dealer and customer. Besides, cars are not perfect—there will always come a time when they will need repair and maintenance. Lessard adds that physical dealerships give back to the community as well: “The Internet cannot do that, although the Internet has made it easier for car buyers to learn about the models that are out on the market. They don’t need to to visit 10 dealerships anymore, and they know more about the competition than we do. But we still need a physical dealership.”