German auto giant Volkswagen formally signed the appointment of Automobile Central Enterprise, Inc. (ACEI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Ayala Corporation, as its Philippine distributor.

In a simple ceremony held on May 27 at Ritz Carlton Hotel in Hong Kong, Weiming Soh, president for commercial operations in Greater China/ASEAN, affixed his signature on the Importeur Agreement with Fernando Zobel de Ayala, president and COO of Ayala, and John Philip Orbeta, president and CEO of ACEI.

“The dominant position of Volkswagen in the global automotive market will boost Ayala’s strong presence in the growing Philippine automotive industry,” said FZA. “We are excited to bring Volkswagen’s innovation and technology to the Philippine market complemented by an outstanding customer experience.”

Said Soh: “In line with our ASEAN growth strategy and the vision to be the world’s most successful automobile manufacturer in ecological and economical terms by 2018, we found in Ayala Auto a dedicated, resourceful, and experienced partner in the Philippines that will strengthen the Volkswagen brand.”

The Volkswagen Group is Europe’s biggest and the world’s third largest with global sales of 9.3 million units in 2012 up 11% from the previous year. As of 2012, its global market share for passenger cars accounted for 12.8%. The group operates 100 production plants in 27 countries and employs more than 550,000 people worldwide. The Volkswagen Group sells its vehicles in 153 countries.

Ayala Auto has been a key player in the local automotive industry for over 20 years operating dealerships of Honda and Isuzu in Metro Manila and the Visayas region. It has minority interest in the distributor companies of both brands.

Said Orbeta: “Ayala is now making a comprehensive program to successfully bring back Volkswagen to the Philippines. We are finalizing plans to roll out several models in multiple showrooms at the earliest time. We would like to contribute to the growth of the auto industry with the appointment of new dealership partners in the coming months.”