“IN the motor dealership business, there are groups who gamble on multi-brand retail, but I am proud of choosing the Kia brand,” claims Ferdinand ‘Inan’ Floirendo, President and Chief Executive Officer of Kia Batangas, as he inspects a newly delivered Kia Carnival in his showroom.
“Loyalty to the brand is some-thing you have to consider. The availability of affordable vehicles without compromising its durability and worth … helps us to endure the challenges of the industry setting and drives us to excel as a partner to our principal,” Floirendo shared.
For a man who used to live and work in the United States, to come back home and become one of the fastest growing names in the automobile industry in the Philippines seems far-fetched. However, it is not impossible – having already happened, it is a dream come true for Floirendo.
A native of Cagayan de Oro City, Floirendo, traced back his long road to the automobile business. In 2013 he took a leap of faith and bought 90% of the total shareholdings of Batangas-Laguna Auto Center, Inc. (BALAI) from his good friend, Manuel Katigbak.
After a year of operations, Floirendo put up the first satellite dealership in Lipa City. During that time, he noticed that people in the neighboring town of Quezon still relied on auto dealers based in Manila. He realized then that the residents of the town needed a nearby automobile dealer. He spun this idea into reality when, not long after the first deal in Lipa, he opened another branch in Sariaya, Quezon. He saw that people were in need and he delivered.
It was a fine day on July 23, 1996 when Kia Motors – BALAI was incorporated. It started operations on the same day. It was primarily engaged in the sale of Kia models such as Picanto, Rio, Forte, Optima, Soul, Carens, Carnival, Sportage, and Sorento. The center has also been offering auto body repair and painting services since then.
“Basically, there was growth in the industry in 2013 and the years that followed. The average 10% to 15% growth in the industry sales has tremendously increased to a 25% to 30% level. This made the motoring landscape in this part of Luzon as something very promising and we owed this to several factors – like the influx of migration from Metro Manila, and the development of prime road networks in the region,” Floirendo said.
In 2015, the sleepy town of Sto. Tomas, together with its adjoining towns and cities began to emerge as an upcoming metropolis of Southern Luzon. The light industries grew, production companies boomed, residential projects mushroomed, and new communities developed. Alongside all this progress, Kia gave the people what they needed – making available a wide array of offerings and services to their growing clientele.
Floirendo said that, “before, man’s basic necessities were food, shelter, and clothing. But these have evolved and become inadequate for a comfortable life, thus, they had to include a vehicle, or means of mobility, or transportation.”
Kia Batangas has become a vital player in the communities of Southern Luzon, continuously paving the way for transformative sales and services, designing the motoring landscape to consistently ride with the needs of the time.
As the industry developed, the government strengthened the road networks which connected the provinces of the south to the growing urban centers, through the creation of new diversion roads and expansion of old highways. In doing so, the engines of growth were revving for the motoring industry.
From Sto. Tomas Auto Center, Kia Batangas has shown tremendous growth. The Lipa City and Sariaya Kia auto centers have extended further south to Calapan City in Oriental Mindoro, making services available to the Mindoreños and Visayan clientele.
Going above and beyond as it entered Metro Manila, Kia Batangas turned the sales service of several Kia auto centers, by taking it upon themselves to offer their services. These include the branches in Sucat, Marcos Hi-way, Alabang, Las Piñas, Pasig, Katipunan, Congressional, and Molino in Cavite.
Kia Batangas sits on a 3,389 square meter lot area at the junction of Pres. Laurel Highway, and the Daang Maharlika or the Manila-Batangas-Quezon-Bicol Road in Brgy. San Roque, Sto. Tomas, Batangas. The center is complete with an A-1 display, showroom area, parts and accessories center, service bays, and offices at par with Metro Manila auto dealerships.
Aside from its modern facilities, its employees are highly professional and technically sound individuals. Service technicians and auto specialists are backed up by their long years of work experience. They are trained with the skills for light and medium vehicles, and gas and diesel engines. In addition, they undergo regular service training to continuously upgrade their skills and keep them abreast with the latest trends in auto repair and maintenance.
Kia Batangas will not be as successful as it is today if not for the 5-point principle that its leaders share with their well-trained sales force – choose and maintain good people; maintain a strong and robust collection; implement centralized documentation system for registration of units; ensure sales growth; and endlessly provide training to its capable personnel.
Auto dealership has its own peculiarity shared by both the principal and its dealers. For Floirendo, the success of his dealership is anchored on the Kia slogan: “The Power to Surprise,” and the company philosophy that “We really mean service.”|