02 Oct M ‘n’ Ms on the fast lane
Suggested title/s: M ‘n’ Ms on the fast lane
M ‘n’ Ms and fast wheels
M ‘n’ M—“Men on a mission,” this is what probably best describes the men behind Southpark Autoville car exchange. Backed-up with more than a decade of marriage with the automobile industry, Mike Timbol and Adrian Sanares have more than earned the title of experts, in what, (arguably) could be deemed as the most lucrative industry in boy’s town.
Like with most connoisseurs, they started out early in their careers—think early teens. Of course, like the rest of us, they had their hearts set on other endeavors when they were growing-up as well; going through the common stage of wanting to be a doctor, a lawyer, a veterinarian, a teacher and basically everything and anything that seemed cool to be at that time. But alas, it seemed that these boys are fated to play with cars for what,(judging on how well they are doing at the moment) is deemed to be their final career destination.
“We want to educate Filipinos on which car to invest in,” Michael shares. But what’s wrong with the Filipino’s choice of cars? Well, both Michael and Adrian agree that compared to the Europeans, (they are quick to put in that were just as bad as the Americans) who have had the privilege of living life surrounded by parking lots packed with dashboards sporting the plates of the finest car manufacturers in the world…
Well let’s just say we are not exactly treading the same lane of “standards” as they are. Our taste of rides, as Michael aptly puts it, could be summarized into two words: mura at malupet. “They don’t think of the important factors,” Adrian agreeing, added. The owners of Southpark Autoville car exchange explained that instead of focusing on the exterior and the tag price, we should turn our attention to the subtle, but more important details of an automobile: Performance, safety, features, comfort and resell value. The design as well as the price should just be among the factors to consider instead of being the deal-maker or in some cases, breaker.
“This is why Filipinos are obsessed with Japanese cars,” Adrian furthers, “they don’t appreciate the superior attributes of European brands.” Michael also stressed that one of the modern challenges in car salesmanship is convincing buyers that Euro doesn’t always connote to a loftier SRP. “It’s a misconception,” he laments, adding also that “European cars aren’t always more expensive than its Asian competitors.”
This is probably what sets the minds behind Southpark Autoville apart from the rest of the auto exchange businesses in the city. “We sell high-end European wheels mostly,” Michael proudly shares. His partner attributed their decision to do this, not to profit, (although they do not deny that money is a strong—put a very before that—motivator, but to another evil—ego.
“Iba yung fulfillment pag nakapagbenta ka ng luxury car eh,” Adrian explains, “Dalawa kasi ang reason pag nagbebenta ka ng kotse, you either just want to dispose of the car, or make real money.” He adds that for popular choices like Toyota, Honda, Kia etc., the idea is just to sell the model in order to keep the cash flow going, as opposed to dealing luxury brands like Porsche, Mercedes, Ferrari and their fellow heiresses, which, according to the duo, are the diamonds out of the gold and silvers of the trade.
This is not to say that Japanese cars, or Korean ones for that matter, are sub-standard, “There are really good models out there by these manufacturers actually,” Adrian stated matter-of-factly, “Starex vans for one are very durable, as for the Honda Jazz, well I have one of those for myself.” What the partners are trying to convey is not that Asian autos are inferior as much as the European counterparts being more original, and therefore, a better choice. “Usually kasi Honda and the others, kumukopya lang yan sa kung anong bago meron sa Euro line eh,” Adrian explains.
It was also surprising to note that despite the crippling recession which rendered even General Motors in the States helpless, business remains good for these two mavericks. “At least for the last six months, we have a niche market kasi,” Michael proudly tells us. In general though, the Philippine market for cars is surprisingly better off compared to that in the States, having have predicted a two percent growth in total revenue instead of a loss for 2009 as reported by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc., on an interview by the Freeman. The department even assured the public that the worst case scenario for the industry is for its sales to hit a flat-line, or in other terms, a break-even—still better than a loss. So it’s no wonder Michael and Adrian haven’t abandoned their stand to deal high-end brands in favor of a steadier turn-around seeing as our economy, (I know it’s hard to digest) is actually doing pretty good in these times of bankruptcy. To make sure they stretch their market, the owners of Southpark Autoville makes use of auto-loans; it’s a financing loan extended to those eligible enough to purchase a car via installment basis by selected companies. “I used to think cash was the only way to go, but Mike taught me better,” Adrian confesses. This particular lesson was what actually got the two working together. “I had a client who wanted to use auto-loan to purchase the car and that’s how I got to meet Mike because he actually offers auto-loan services as well.” Apparently, it was love at first sight for these two as their first “date” lead to a marriage of businesses leading to what we now know as Southpark Autoville.
Aside from the relatively better status of our economy playing an important role to the survival of Southpark Autoville is the no less than legendary salesmanship of Michael Timbol and Adrian Sinares. These two are rumored to be capable of selling just about anything to a customer—even when they don’t have what is been asked for in their inventory. “If you come to our shop looking for a particular model and we don’t have that, I can convince you to get the one we have available,” Micheal confidently assures. His partner, Adrian says ditto to this, “Mike can pretty much sell whatever there is.” We all know that the hallmark of a good salesman is his ability to “brainwash” the buyer, so when we found out that on the first year of Southpark Autoville in BF Parañaque, they sold all their models, we became believers that the men speaking before us, are the shit of car dealing. “At first we were apprehensive that the garage was too big for us to utilize, especially since our location isn’t really hot on cars, but we got it anyway and before we knew it, our gamble paid off,” Ian proudly shares.
Of course geniuses, even in the field of sales, aren’t born. Charisma after all, is a feat developed through a series of successful human interactions. So we can only guess how, at their ripe age of 30-something, these men have accumulated a lot of history in terms of car dealing which made them the “it” of their craft today.
“Our fascination with cars could be traced back through our heritage,” Michael confesses, having have both grown up with fathers involved in car dealing themselves. Could it be in the genes? One thing is for sure, these boys are the genies of the highways.
So go on, rub that shift stick—your wish, is their command.