ONE Toyota dealership that has made a mark in the automotive industry is Toyota Alabang owned by Cesar T. Lee, fondly called CTL. If there’s someone who has seen firsthand how the outfit grew to what it is today—for one, it now has expanded its service station as the biggest in Toyota Far East in terms of land area—it is Danny “Sir John” Isla, for years CTL’s most trusted ally before Sir John became the founding president of Lexus Manila on January 14, 2009. Sir John shares us a glimpse of the man who did it all.
The business knack of CTL
“IN the beginning, Toyota Alabang’s business was mainly focused on selling cars. There wasn’t enough UIO or units in operation to fill up the service workshop. Apart from selling genuine Toyota spare parts, the Parts Department was also responsible for taking charge of a few car accessories such as window tints, floor mats and seat covers. Very basic car accessories.
“One time, I showed CTL a brochure of genuine Toyota Car Accessories given to me by an acquaintance I met at a birthday party. CTL was not keen about it initially. All he said was, ‘MAHAL YAN.’ A few days later, while I was on floor duty, CTL called me to ask if the accessories in the said brochure were true and available. I called the person who gave me the brochure to confirm.
“My call turned out to be just in time as her shipment was being unloaded to her apartment while I was on the phone with her. I relayed the info to CTL and he only quipped, ‘Puntahan mo.’ Excited to receive such a direct order from the Supremo, I rushed to my car as an obedient soldier. But while I was backing up, a thought came up: ‘Aba, teka, anong gagawin ko dun?’
“Bumalik ako sa office and told CTL: ‘Boss, ano na pagdating ko dun? Sumama ka na lang.’ [In 1990, wala pa namang technology ng video call].
“Sumama naman sya. We went to an apartment along Pedro Gil near St Paul’s College. Kumislap ang mga mata ni CTL when he saw the apartment overflowing with Toyota boxes from floor to ceiling. We randomly checked the contents of the boxes and CTL confirmed they were legit/authentic Toyota accessories.
“In a few minutes, walang pakieme-kieme, CTL asked the seller: ‘MAGKANO LAHAT?’
“The lady was dumfounded and couldn’t respond immediately—Ako rin nagulat. Before I knew it, DONE DEAL NA!
“CTL instructed one of his drivers to get a truck from his fleet and load all the boxes to be brought to TAI [Toyota Alabang Inc]. It was evening when the truck arrived. We spread the whole caboodle in the showroom and inspected each and every item for any damage and to make sure the numbers were correct.
“Madaling araw na kami natapos. Bad shot na naman ako kay Misis.
“Dito nagsimula ang Accessories business ng TAI. The rest is history.
“Ibang klase talaga si CTL—pagdating sa negosyo, malakas ang kutob at matalas ang mga mata kung ano ang papatok. Matapang at matulis sa lahat ng bagay.”
Sir John is now based in Auckland, New Zealand, with his entire family.
THREE Petron stations were chosen partners in nation-building by the Department of Energy (DOE) and motorcycle ride-hailing app, Angkas.
The homegrown oil giant was recognized for its real-time monitoring of pump prices and exemplary service in its retail outlets based on cleanliness of forecourt, cleanliness of comfort rooms, good personnel relations and constant availability of air and water facilities.
DOE Usec. Jesus Cristino Posadas paid tribute to the three Petron stations, namely, Equity on 1601 Taft Ave. Cor. Pedro Gil, Malate, Manila; L.A. Petron on 811 Quezon Avenue, Roxas District, QC; and, Local Boiler Fuel Services Inc. on Kamagong cor. Metropolitan Ave., San Antonio, Makati City.
PEE STOP Despite Covid-19’s evil-driven aim to harm mankind, it can never stop us from greeting each other, HAPPY NEW YEAR! With God’s grace, we shall overcome.