Thought Leadership Forum

Enabling Ideas. Engaging partnerships.

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AVID members: aiming to make a difference. (From left to right) Mr. Felix Ang, President of CATS Motors, Inc., Mr. Greg Yu, Chairman of CATS Motors, Inc., Ms. Fe Perez-Agudo, President and CEO of Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI), Mr. Edward Go, Chairman of HARI, Mr. Rommel Sytin, President of Foton Motors and Mr. Amado del Rosario, Corporate Affairs Director of PGA Cars, Inc.


AVID, a private non-stock, non-profit business association of currently nine members representing 15 vehicle brands, was founded in the Philippines in May 2010 and incorporated in July 2010 to help foster the development and growth of the economy and the automotive industry through four areas of engagement:

Strategic Policy Thinking, by pooling together its thoughts and possible solutions regarding policy developments and directions that affect business and the economy, and airing these through formal, accepted channels.

Communications and Advocacy for change in economic, industry and legislative postures that the association considers in the best interest of the automotive industry and the national economy as a whole.

Knowledge Capital Building, by spearheading fora and dialogue among its stakeholders—fellows in business, government, and the academe, to better understand the economic and industry environment and so be better geared for more informed decision making.

Partnership Strengthening with the said stakeholders to promote sustainable development and growth of the Philippine economy and the automotive industry.


Energy and optimism characterized AVID's debut offerign to the country's government, diplomatic, business, and academic communities

[Left] Cito Beltran expertly moderated the discussion. [Center] (from left to right) Rommel Sytin, president of Ford Motors, Ma. Teresa Villanueva of Publicis-Manila, Felix Ang, Founder and President of CATS Motors, Inc., and Richard Lee, Chaimam Emeritus of Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. [Right] AVID's debut Thought Leadership Forum held at Sofitel Philippine Plaza's Sunset Pavilion was well attended by members of the auto industry and representatives of the government. media, diplomatic and academic sectors

The business and motoring media had a heydey reflecting on the ideas presented in the Forum, after which they shot clarificatory questions in the free-wheeling press lunch held with some of the TLF presenters and AVID members; The Thought Leadership Forum elicited positive response from the multi-sector audience. [Right] AVID President and Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. President and CEO Ms. Fe Perez-Agudo entertains questions from the media

AVID's Prime Movers

(seated from left to right) Stephen Sy, President of Focus Ventures, Richard Lee, Chairman Emeritus of Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc., (HARI), Cristino Panlilio, Trade and Industry Undersecretary and Managing Head of the Board of Investments, Fe Perez-Agudo, President and CEO of HARI, and Willy Tee Ten, President, British United Automobiles Inc. (standing from left to right) Heng Dong Lim, Vice President of Focus Ventures, Wellington Soong, President of Jaguar Cars, Roberto Coyuito, Jr., Chariman of PGA Cars, Conrad Marty, Vice Chariman of HARI, Edward Go, Chairman of HARI, Rommel Sytin, President of Foton Motors, and Atty. Albert Arcilla, COO and Managing director of the Covent Car Company, Inc. The nine founding members of AVID include Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo, President and CEO of Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI), Felix R. Ang, President of CATS Motors, Inc., Atty. Albert Arcilla, Managing Director and COO of the Covenant Car Company, Inc., Benedicto Coyuito, Head of Audi Philippines (PGA Cars, Inc.), Roselyn Dimalanta, currently First Executive Vice President of Scandinavian Motors Corporation, Wellington C. Soong, President of Jaguar Cars, Inc., Stephen D. Sy, President of Focus Ventures Inc., Rommel L. Sytin, President of United Asia Automobile Group, Inc., and Willy Q. Tee Ten, President of British United Automobiles Inc., All with outstanding track records in their respective companies, and one in the vision the AVID wishes to achieve for the country's automotive industry within the greater goal of promoting sustainable economic development of the Philippines as a viable player in this hugely challenging industry.


Big minds probe the big issues confronting the Philippine automotive industry.

Prior to joining PIDS, Dr. Rafaelita Aldaba was Team Leader of the Asia Regional Integration Center-Asian Development Bank from 2008-2009. She obtained her PhD in Economics from the University of the Philippines and completed Advanced Studies in International Economic Policy Research at the Kiel Institute of World Economics in Germany and was awarded academic scholarships from Germany's Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Germany Academic Exchange Program, AusAid, and UPSE's Gerardo Sicat Fellowship. Dr. Aldaba has conducted extensive research on the impact of government policies and free trade agreements on the competitiveness of the Philippine automotive industry.

Dr. Aldaba, who is currently conducting a research study on competitiveness, presented nothing less than a comprehensive historical situationer on the country's automotive industry to address the topic "Global and Country Perspectives on Competitiveness: What is the right development path for the automotive industry?" She underscored three main areas for change: government policies, performance and competitiveness, and industry response to rising globalization and economic integration.

Highlighted was the fact that the Philippines is a relative late comer as far as trade liberalization is concerned, compared to its other ASEAN neighbors, like Thailand. Consequently, the automotive industry has been suffering from a lack of economies of scale, the smallness of the domestic market, and the smuggling of vehicles. To attract new investment players, Government is pressed to carefully plan and manage the transition from the old protectionist policies to a more open, business-friendly environment.

In the succeeding discussion, Dr. Aldaba recommended the formulation of coherent and coordinated policies to avoid policy reversals, the crafting of temporary adjustment schemes, the rationalization of operations, and more focused policies and programs. "Traditional measures may no longer work," she emphasized, adding that she could not downplay the need to avoid tariffs to protect the automotive industry and put an end to smuggling.

As a counterpoint to Dr. Aldaba's thoughts on the discussion topic, fellow panelists Mr. Jesse Ang, Country Head, IFC/World Bank, Atty. Ann Claire Credo-Cabochan, Director of the Bureau of International Trade Relations of the Department of Trade and Industry, and Atty. Lai-Lynn Barcenas, Associate Director, Asian Institute for Management (AIM) Policy Center shared the following recommendations to make the Philippines a fitter player in the competitiveness game: adapt lower external tariffs, give a big boost to power, and road infrastructure. Mr. Ang was particularly emphatic about modifying bank loan schemes to favor small-to-medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) that form part of the auto industry, like local suppliers of assembled parts. Banks still tend to give greater premium to real estate as collateral, while such SMEs are not in the position to offer such. It is high time to adapt different strategies and newer types of support to cruise along the lane of competitiveness.

The second part of the discussion, "Consumer Trends and Competitiveness: What do consumers gain from a more competitive automotive industry," had Ms. Ma. Teresa Villanueva, Presidence/CEO of Publicis, rallying participants to focus on consumer behavior, emphasizing that the consumer is King when it comes to making important business decisions.

Ms. Villanueva, President and CEO of world-class advertising agency, Publicis-Manila, is the brains behind countless commercial brands that have successfully captured the hearts and minds of Filipino consumers. She has been with the advertising industry for over 20 years and worked closely with hundreds of accounts to craft dynamic campaigns for such international brands as Nestle Philippines and L'Oreal.

Ms. Villanueva made no bones about the realities of current consumer behavior. The market has become fragmented as people gain increased access to information. Thus, the consumer today has become more selective of which products fit one's lifestyle best. Another important reality is that the race for innovation is based more on appealing to the emotions rather than the intellect of one's market. Thus one buys luxury brands, for instance, because these make the buyer "feel" or "look" good. Ms. Villanueva also encouraged more consumer feedback, as Filipinos tend not to complain, but simply drop or "bad-mouth" a product.

This experience of a long-time player in the advertising world provoked interesting discussion among fellow panelists, Ms. Zenaida Maglaya, Undersecretary of the Department of Trade and Industry, Ms. Fe Perez-Agudo, President and CEO of Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI), and Mr. Ryan Patrick Evangelista, Senior Deputy Secretary General of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce, Inc. (PCCI), who came up with the following conclusions: consumer welfare policies ought to be reviewed and geared to quality, the lowest possible pricing, and the promotion of fairness among market players in giving the public the best products possible. The middle class is turning increasingly discriminating and vocal about giving feedback on the products they use. There is a need to form more active consumer groups, while government needs to grant private businesses a more prominent voice in drawing new policies that affect their particular industries. Thus, healthy competition on a level playing field paves the way for true consumer welfare.


AVID Launches Reaction Paper Writing Competition

In line with two of its core goals to strengthen its partnerships with key stakeholders and to initiate a relevant exchange of knowledge and experience among Industry colleagues, government and private entities, and the academe, the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors (AVID) launched a Reaction Paper Writing Competition among student participants of AVID’s first-ever Thought Leadership Forum.

The AVID Thought Leadership Forum, with the 2010 theme “Cruising the Lane of Competitiveness,’ aims to promote a more engaging relationship between AVID and its stakeholders by actively enabling discussion on developments and issues in the automotive industry and the broader economic and investment environment

Selected representatives from Metro Manilas top universities such as the University of the Philippines, De La Salle University. University of Santo Tomas, University of the East, St. Scholastica’s College, and the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Manila were invited to observe and interact with the speakers and discussants of the Forum. Said students are invited to submit reaction papers based on their take away” knowledge from the Forum.

Prizes at stake for each winning entry are: P75,000 (First Prize); P50.000 (Second Prize); and P25.000 (Third Prize). Winning entries will also be published in the country’s major broadsheets. Moreover, each school shall be awarded a check worth P 10,000 for sending representatives to participate in the forum. The top three winners will be chosen based on the following criteria: 30% for relevance and profundity of reaction to the Forum’s major theme: 30% for applicability to Government policy and Industry strategy: 25% for comprehensive summary of Forum issues and perspectives; and 15% for depth of critique on the strengths and weaknesses of Forum content


Having successfully engaged some of the best and brightest names from the industry and among its primary stakeholders, AVID commits itself to take brave steps in carrying out its core mission in 2011. "We want to be a relevant association and become part of the broader ecomony." affirmed Ms. Fe Perez-Agudo, AVID President and President and CEO of Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc during a press conference held after the AVID Thought Leadership Forum. "We see more forums like this roll out by the first quarter of 2011 and (through the output generated by these discussions) we can strengthen our participation in economic thinking, communication and advocacy."

It is worth noting that even before AVID was formed, its nine members have been considered leaders and respected names in the global market. Now, with this newly formed bond among such power players, much more can be expected in terms of advocating positive change in government policies that affect the industry. AVID looks forward to be involved in developing policies that favor a more equitable playing field among the different brands operating in the country. A more favorable and competitive environment fosters consumer welfare, as all players are challenged to offer consumers a wider range of needs and lifestyles. Finally, once a stronger competitiveness is fostered, greater consumer satisfaction follows, along with a stronger auto industry, and a vibrant and progressive national economy..


AVID participants and observers' take on the Thought Leadership Forum

"(The) presentations were particularly lively, more than merely informative. Host and speakers were knowledgable about what they are talking about. The over-all organization of the AVID event was excellent. The best forum I have attended so far"

-- Angelo Paolo Kalaw, School of Eonomics, UP Diliman

"This forum is very informative. Discussion done by the speakers as well as the opinions of the panelists provided us new ideas and relevant facts."

-- Thea Gonzales, St. Scholastica's College

"More forums like this for the greater public."

-- A. Lawrence Acierto, Committee Secretary, Philippine Senate

"Congratulations to AVID for pioneering, leading the empowerment of the Industry."

-- Victoria Martinoff, Executive Coach, F1C International Coaching and Development Training

"Very informative. We can certainly use some inputs we gathered here in crafting legislation for the automotive industry as we are the Ways and Means Committee of the Senate."

-- Bright Liwanag, Media Relations Officer, Philippine Senate