There will always be a high demand for car accessories as most people love to enhance their vehicles through looks, performance, comfort, and more.
In fact, a report published by global market research Facts & Factors, predicted that the global car accessories market will grow to around $646 billion (P36.1 trillion) by 2026.
Here in the Philippines, one car accessories business has been able to build an empire by taking advantage of an interesting trait of Filipino car owners: The desire to make their ride stand apart from the rest.
“Filipino car owners have their way of expressing love toward their cars like putting simple stickers and buying parts with better specs to upgrade the ones already provided when they bought their vehicle.”
“They also love embarking on ‘projects’ that entail extensive body and engine work to completely transform the look as well as the performance of their ride,” said Robertson Sy Tan, founder and CEO of Blade Auto Center that recently inaugurated its 50th store.
Located at the corner of Mindanao Avenue and Arty 1 Road in Quezon City (near Quirino Highway), the three-level Blade Super Auto Center-Mindanao Avenue is the company’s second standalone store, breaking free from the traditional setup of having its stores situated inside major malls around the Philippines.
Compared to Blade Super Auto Center-Timog Avenue which opened in 2013 (which has a total sales floor area of 670 square meters), the one in Mindanao Avenue is currently the biggest with two levels of store floor area totaling 1,000 sqm. This still excludes the rooftop which, according to Tan, is still being improved for future expansion.
And just like in Timog Avenue, Blade Super Auto Center-Mindanao Avenue is a one-stop shop for motorists who want “the best products and services at the lowest possible price.”
Apart from offering an expansive lineup of automotive products, the ground level has a service area with four bays that can provide various vehicle maintenance services from installation of tint and other accessories to performing full periodic maintenance schedule (e.g., wheel alignment inspection, tire rotation, inspection/tightening of underchassis bolts, brake system and transmission).
Vehicle aircon inspection and engine scan services will be offered to those who will avail themselves of the Shell Helix Package.
Blade Auto Center’s service center in Mindanao Avenue offers premium oils coming from Platinum and Shell Helix brands. Its oil change package includes checking of fluid levels, possible engine leaks, cleaning of air and cabin filter, battery check-up, inspection of tire, hose, belt and spark plugs. Oil change price packages range from P1,499 to P6,899, depending on the size of the vehicle and the chosen brand of oil.
Tan said Blade Super Auto Center-Mindanao Avenue is a stepping stone to where he wants to take the brand and what his team wants to offer its customers.
Various mobility needs
Although Blade Auto Center has traditionally been associated with car accessories, the company is moving into catering to customers on their other mobility needs.
“As you may have noticed, we now carry the Hiro brand of motorcycle helmets, along with a variety of electric kick scooters for those who want sustainable transport. We are careful in choosing which brand to partner with as we only want the finest quality for our customers,” Tan said.
Among those who welcomed guests during the media presentation was Blade Asia CEO Robertson Sy, who shared the secret to the company’s success: “We offer the kind of products and services a customer expects from a traditional car dealership and service center like those found in Banawe (a favorite destination of budget-conscious car enthusiasts).”
According to Sy, a significant part of the company’s success can be attributed to strong partnerships with industry leaders, aggressive marketing and promotions, and its ability to provide customers with the right products at the right price.
“From the time we opened our first store at the Ayala Malls Market! Market! in Bonifacio Global City, Blade Auto Center has been synonymous with dependability, trustworthiness and great value.”
To further strengthen its reach, Blade Auto Center set up its own e-commerce platform, the blade.ph, while at the same time, expanded its online presence and selling sites through massive partnership with some of the country’s leading e-commerce platforms like Shopee (shopee.ph/blade.ph).
Tan recalled that when the company opened its first location in 2004, he wanted to venture into a business which he is already familiar with. “I want to increase my chances of success.”
Since I used to run a family business that distributes consumer products — including automotive supplies — to department stores, I decided to sell car accessories as it was not yet big at the time.”
Back then, he likened his experience to that of Filipino revolutionary hero Andres Bonifacio.
“Like the founder and leader of the Katipunan, the revolutionary movement that fought the Spaniards during their colonial rule in the Philippines, we were like them who fought with bolos against the Spaniards who had guns and cannons.”
“I used the bolo as a symbol of our fight and that is how our ‘Blade’ brand name came about. Also, the inspiration from Bonifacio’s KKK or the Kataastaasan Kagalanggalang na Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan, is the reason why we wear red all the time here. The color inspires us ‘to get ready for battle.’ Everyone in my company wears red as their uniform because not only does it grab customers’ attention, it also symbolizes our need to always be alert and mindful of what the buying public wants,” said Tan, who shared that he makes it a point to wear red every day.