Isuzu Gencars celebrates its 40th anniversary with another achievement to be proud of. Last June 18, 2018, it made motoring history by launching the modern jeepney in a program held at the Philippine Senate.
The company was tapped by Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC) to provide 35 units of the vehicle manufactured by IPC, which, along with some other vehicle makers, had been invited by the government to present prototypes. At the Senate launch, an initial batch of 15 units from Isuzu Gencars were presented to the Senate employees’ coop by IPC.
The event formally set in motion the government’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Plan (PUVMP) that seeks to replace the old-style jeepneys by 2020.
Involvement in the jeepney modernization program makes the celebration of Isuzu Gencars 40th anniversary truly special. It firms up the company’s image as a reliable partner of government in development efforts.
At the same time, as it celebrates four decades in business, Isuzu Gencars stays firmly and consistently on tract in its expansion course.
The past two years saw it opening up two new branches: Isuzu Gencars Santa Rosa kicked off in late 2017 as the dealership’s seventh branch, and Isuzu Gencars Batangas City opened in 2016 as the sixth branch.
Isuzu Gencars Santa Rosa had a very promising beginning. No less than president of Isuzu Motors Ltd, Masanori Katayama, was on hand to witness its soft opening on Sept. 27, 2017. He came over from Japan to join other top Isuzu officials at the soft opening led by Hajime Koso, IPC president.
Isuzu Gencars Santa Rosa is located along Santa Rosa-Tagaytay Road in Barangay Pulong Santa Cruz, City of Santa Rosa.
Isuzu Gencars Batangas City, on the other hand, opened in Aug. 2016 at the Grand Terminal Complex on Diversion Road, Barangay Alangilan, Batangas City. The place is known as Automotive Row in Batangas City for being the home of several major automotive manufacturers.
These two latest branches carry forward the company’s expansion in the fast developing and progressive Cities of Batangas and Santa Rosa as well as other growth centers in the dynamic Southern Tagalog region.
Isuzu Gencars was founded by the late Ambassador Antonio L. Cabangon Chua on Oct. 16, 1978, with the first dealership, Isuzu Gencars Makati, located on a one-hectare property housing a spacious Isuzu vehicle showroom, and a Five (5) Star service shop at the corner of Chino Roces (formerly Pasong Tamo) and De La Rosa Street in Makati City.
Following the opening of its maiden branch in Makati, Isuzu Gencars opened its second branch in 1996, Isuzu Gencars Batangas, in Barangay San Roque, Sto. Tomas, Batangas.
Isuzu Gencars San Pablo, Inc., the company’s third outlet, started its operations on Nov. 17, 2000. It is located along Colago Avenue, San Pablo City, Laguna. This third dealership caters to the brand-new vehicle requirements as well as the vehicle service needs of Isuzu vehicle owners in Laguna, Quezon Province and the Bicol Region.
Its fourth outlet, Isuzu Gencars Legazpi, opened on July 17, 2006 at J.P. Rizal Street, Legazpi City, Albay, and its fifth outlet, Gencars Naga, on Aug. 8, 2008 at Maharlika Highway, Pili, Camarines Sur.
Both Legazpi and Naga City outlets serve the motoring needs of major establishments in Bicolandia that require an improved mode of transport with modern facilities for after-sales service and parts.
Besides opening up new outlets, Isuzu Gencars has been expanding existing ones. From 1,100 square meters, Isuzu Gencars San Pablo now occupies a 2,100 sqm lot, while Isuzu Gencars Naga has expanded from 1,900 sqm to 3,600 sqm.
In Metro Manila, Gencars has acquired a 700 sqm lot in Bangkal, Makati, where it now operates a stockyard that can accommodate more than 50 new vehicles.
Gencars, Inc., of which the young D. Edgard A. Cabangon is president and CEO, was in the world news in 2015 for donating the Popemobile used by Pope Francis during his visit in the Philippines.
Isuzu Gencars was entrusted with the challenging task of producing the popemobile that His Holiness Pope Francis used during his visit to Manila in January 2015.
Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Soc Villegas, chair of the Steering Committee for the Apostolic Visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines, had asked if Gencars could provide the vehicle for the popemobile.
“Thank you, Excellency, we will be honored and consider ourselves blessed to do it,” responded Cabangon.
Fabricated by Gencars Inc., in partnership with car-body builder Almazora Motors, the Philippine-made vehicle is the model of other Popemobiles used in other countries.
The new jeepney from Isuzu Gencars
The new public utility vehicle to replace the old-style jeepney modeled after the pre-war American army Willys jeeps—which Isuzu Gencars provided in the launch of the modernized jeepney—is expected to be come the King of the Road.
Under the government’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) that would replace the jeepney, the immediate difference would be the design of the new vehicle. Some may still have splashes of color, but the door would always be to the right side of the driver. There would no longer be rear entrance by the estribo or footboard.
There would be no need to stoop while finding a seat because the PUVMP calls for a raised roof with bars and handles that passengers may hold on to. The seats are still side facing, but will allow 22 seated passengers and a few more standing up.
A handful of units launched at the Senate are now plying some routes and passengers find the bells and whistles impressive. The modern jeepneys have dashboard cameras, speed limiters, CCTV cameras and an automatic fare collection system.
Best of all, those inefficient and air-polluting second-hand engines are replaced with Euro-4 emissions-compliant engines (or electric battery-run) that are brand new and reportedly 43 percent more fuel efficient.
All these features are present in the new jeepneys provided by IPC and Isuzu Gencars to the Senate Employees Association Coop.