November 30, 2022 By Ardie Lopez

The Smiling Lioness

18th Annual C! Awards Pocholo Ramirez Lifetime Achievement Awardee, Maricar C. Parco

For the 18th Annual C! Awards, we have bestowed the honor of receiving the Pocholo Ramirez Lifetime Achievement Award to a stellar figure in the local automotive industry- an esteemed Lady with remarkable grace and a disarming smile, Ms. Maricar C. Parco. She is currently the Brand Head of Astara Philippines (also known as BA Motors Philippines).

Because of her 30 years in the industry, and being a prominent figure in it with the several brands she’s handled, interviewing her for this piece was definitely like a catch-up between old friends. And it certainly was, but her illustrious career background would naturally lead one to accord her with added respect.

Armed with a degree in Mass Communications from the University of the Philippines, Ms. Parco did what most fresh grads would normally do at the time. She picked up a copy of a broadsheet newspaper, dove right in and scanned for ads in the classifieds section. Her eyes locked onto one for a Marketing Assistant, placed by Honda Cars Philippines. She applied and got the job, and worked directly under Mr. Arnel Doria, then the company’s VP. With Honda, she learned the Japanese exacting way of organization and discipline. Also, she credits Mr. Doria for mentoring her well on her first foray in the automotive industry. Her first job, she agrees was foundational for her lengthy career journey.

A call from a Ford Group Philippines executive made her move to the American company to be their Public Affairs Manager, and in a relatively short time was promoted to the position of AVP for Marketing and Public Affairs. The shift in the corporate culture astounded her, especially when she was sent to Detroit for training, but it only fed her sense of empowerment, gaining more valuable knowledge from the “people business” she was in.

A few years later she joined Prestige Cars BMW as the VP for Marketing, and eventually handling the same German brand, became the Marketing Director for the Asian Carmakers Corporation in 2009. In just two years, she was appointed as the company’s president. Surprised at the pace of her career’s movement with BMW, she took on the challenge and held the position for nine years, until she moved on to handle the BMW dealerships for RSA Motors.

A year later she started to work as Consultant for Peugeot Philippines under the Alvarez group, at the height of the pandemic in 2020. She recounts the difficulty of the situation, setting up a joint venture with a large company based in Madrid. But it paid off, a solid business partnership was forged and in January of 2022, she was installed as Brand Head of Astara Philippines, directly handling Peugeot. Under Ms. Parco’s leadership, the French brand became the fastest growing auto brand in the local industry with growth exceeding 260% in just a matter of months, according to the Chamber of Philippine Automotive Manufacturers Inc. (CAMPI).

Looking back, ‘Car (her very apt nickname as friends call her) lamented tearfully, a lot of lost family time she could have spent rearing her two young sons during her career’s early years due to the countless overseas travels and long hours it demanded. But it was her solid resolve and grit to just keep at it and balance it the best she could to secure a good and stable future for them that made it work, and work very well it did. As she shared more personal insights, she smiled and sheepishly apologized for more tears that rolled down her cheeks. It’s absolutely fascinating how this power Lady can be so candid, genuine and very human about sharing her amazing journey and incredible achievements in what is considered a man’s world, inspiring many and empowering women who look up to her, and more importantly, the positive impact her illustrious career has created in the Philippine automotive industry. At the helm of the Lion brand Peugeot, Maricar Parco definitely has the strong qualities of a Lioness, with the exception of being able work it with a smile. 

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