British car maker MINI is optimistic on the Philippine car business and determined to expand its presence here through its authorized importer, British United Automobiles Inc.

In an exclusive interview with Sunny Medalla, Head of Mini Asia“I have four key markets in my responsibility in MINI Asia—Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, and Vietnam. These four key markets are my primary and Philippines is one of the most important contributors in the business of MINI Asia,” said Medalla during the launched of the new second-generation MINI Countryman.

Filipino executive Medalla, who is currently based in MINI Singapore, is upbeat that the country is experiencing growth with 6-percent GDP increase. “We are happy with the growth in our country, where middle class income are rising, as well as public infrastructure spending. Although, Indonesia has the biggest production and sales, but you could imagine their huge population compared to us.”

In a report by Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors (AVID), the group (which include MINI) total sales went up to 10-percent increase, selling 23,312 units compared to 21,160 units from the previous year in the first quarter of 2017. The Passenger Car (PC) segment shows an impressive performance with 9,242 units sold from 7,609 units sold last year.

“In terms of volumes and sales target, we want to sell (the Countryman) as many as we can. The Countryman is the key backbone for the Philippine market for Mini,” adds Medalla.   

When asked about his stand on the proposed vehicle excise tax, Medalla said: “I can’t really comment right now as the discussion is still up in the air. From our side, we look forward to some clarity with the government. Moving-forward, we want to sell more Mini on the road, especially now that customers are waiting to the new first diesel-variant of Mini.”

Mini Philippines is selling the new Mini Cooper D Countryman at P2.9-million and the top-of-the-line variant Mini Cooper SD Countryman at P3.4-million.