Astara PH now leads local busines unit of GAC Motor, opens 2023 with all-new Empow and GS8 launch

January 23, 2023

GAC MOTOR Philippines accelerates into 2023 with the back-to-back launch of the EMPOW and all new GS8 held today at the Rockwell Plant in Makati City, marking the brand’s first public event under new distributor Astara Philippines.

Engineered and built for the global market, the EMPOW and all new GS8 help realize GAC MOTOR’s vision of becoming a first-class brand with international influence and excellent quality. Both global vehicles embody GAC MOTOR’s core qualities of modern design, fine craftsmanship, superior build quality, and cutting-edge technology.

Today’s launch breathes excitement into the GAC MOTOR lineup in the Philippines, which includes the compact GS3 SUV, the fun-to-drive GS4 SUV, and the versatile GN6 MPV. It also highlights the brand’s strong commitment to deliver world-class vehicles to more Filipinos, supported by an expanded network of showrooms and service centers across the nation.

The event was spearheaded by Jorge Belzunce, Astara managing director for Southern Europe and the Philippines; Raoul Picello, Astara Philippines managing director; and Jun Cajayon, GAC MOTOR Philippines brand head.

“We’re thrilled to start the year on a high note with the highly-anticipated launch of the EMPOW and all new GS8. Both vehicles represent the best that GAC has to offer at a reasonable price range for our Filipino customers. We are determined to reinvigorate the brand and achieve outstanding performance in the market beginning this year,” said Picello. Astara is one of the biggest automotive distributors in the world and has carried out a successful path as a leading group in distribution and mobility services. The company has sold over three million cars as a strategic partner of the world’s leading automotive groups including GAC MOTOR, which Astara presently distributes in Chile and Peru.

Introducing the EMPOW: A Unique and Sporty Sedan Set to Conquer

The EMPOW represents a bold new era for GAC MOTOR: an era of far greater confidence in its brand identity, international strategy and in-house technology. Bold and original, the EMPOW's exterior is characterized by futuristic lines and a sleek, muscle car-esque silhouette that gives the EMPOW an aggressive stance. The sculpted form and attention-grabbing design elements define its sporty profile, while its interiors, driving performance and technology are engineered to thrill the senses.

Design details like the oversized front grille, beautiful 18-inch alloy wheels and quad exhausts at the rear give the car a distinctly muscular appearance. Sharp, angular design details such as the eye-catching automatic LED headlights, LED daytime running lights and extended rear lights add to its overall visual appeal on the road.

The sporty design is continued in the interior with vibrant supercar-style colored leather panels, fighter-jet inspired seats, and carbon fiber materials. Two screens – a 7-inch digital instrument panel and a 10.25-inch infotainment display with Apple CarPlay support – complete the look of the EMPOW’s futuristic and sleek front console.

The experience inside the vehicle is further enhanced by a power sunroof, a leather multifunction steering wheel with paddle shifters, dual-zone automatic air conditioning with a built-in negative ion air purifier, multiple USB type-A ports, power adjustments to the driver’s seat, and leather upholstery with soft-touch interior trims among others.

The EMPOW is equipped with multiple safety and driving assist features. A total of six airbags come standard in the vehicle along with a tire pressure monitoring system for added peace of mind. A suite of advanced driver assistance systems such as Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Lane Keep Assist (LKA), Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Traffic Jam Assist (TJA) and High Beam Assist all help to ensure the safety and comfort of passengers.

Under the hood, the EMPOW has a 1.5L turbo power engine that utilizes GAC MOTOR's in-house developed MegaWave technology. It does 0 to 100 km/hr in 6.95 seconds – believed to be the fastest acceleration for a compact sedan in its segment. Mated to a 7-speed Wet-type Dual Clutch transmission, the impressive engine puts out 168 hp and 270 Nm of torque.

The EMPOW will be offered in three variants at the following special introductory price points and colors:

• 1.5L GE DCT for PHP 1,283,000 in Matte Fighter Green (exclusive color)

• 1.5L GB DCT for PHP 1,215,000 in Ivory White, Moonlight Grey and Elegant Black

• 1.5L GS DCT for PHP 1,135,000 in Ivory White and Moonlight Grey

The introductory prices incorporate a discount of PHP 90,000 for the GS and GB variants, and PHP 65,000 for the GE. These special prices will be valid until March 31, 2023.

The All-New GS8: Bringing power and prestige to Filipino travelers

The GS8, a full-size seven-seater SUV and one of GAC MOTOR’s most successful nameplates, has been upgraded to bring prestige to premium buyers. The brand’s flagship SUV combines form and function with its bold and futuristic design style, surging power and pioneering smart configurations.

“The all-new GS8 builds on its success as GAC MOTOR’s flagship SUV with its complete package of style, quality, reliability and safety. It has been masterfully-designed to exude confidence on the road, making it the perfect match for customers seeking distinction and refinement in their SUV,” said Cajayon.

The robust silhouette gives the all new GS8 a stately and executive persona. The model’s signature four-bulb metric automatic LED headlights come perfectly together with a powerful V-shaped chrome grille arranged in a symmetrical layout for an aggressive and bold stance. Twenty-inch aluminum alloy wheels, double chrome exhaust pipes, and LED daytime running lights complete its stellar look.

The interior is designed to give comfort and convenience to the driver and passengers. Seats upholstered in finely crafted leather with diamond stitching are equipped with power adjust controls and memory settings for the driver and front passenger. The leather-wrapped multifunctional steering wheel with paddle shifters, electrochromic rear view mirror, three-zone automatic air conditioning and one-touch power windows offer added convenience, while multi- color intelligent ambient lighting and a panoramic sunroof give a touch of luxury.

In addition, the upgraded cabin of the GS8 has a host of smart and interactive features, including a 14.6-inch HD touch screen with phone mirroring capabilities, a 7-inch digital instrument cluster, four USB type-A ports, a wireless mobile phone charging pad, and a Bluetooth handsfree phone system.

Safety and security are not compromised as the all new GS8 comes with multiple airbags, ISOFIX child safety seat anchors, seatbelts with disengage alarm, an engine immobilizer with anti-theft alarm, tire pressure monitoring and many more.

The vehicle is equipped with GAC MOTOR’s latest cutting-edge technology, including a wide array of driving assistance capabilities as standard. Among these are Adaptive Cruise Control, Traffic Sign Recognition, Forward Collision Warning, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Front & Rear Parking Sensors with HD Surround Vision Parking System, Traffic Jam Assist. Driving is made more efficient and dynamic with three drive modes to choose from (ECO, Comfort and Sport).

A 2.0 Turbo GDI engine, which provides a power of 248 horsepower and an upgraded torque of 400 Nm, is paired with a megastar chassis and a third generation 8-speed automatic transmission for smooth and balanced power.

The all-new GS8 is offered at a special introductory price of PHP 2,298,000 and is available in four colors: Ink Seal Green, Crystal White, Moonlight Grey and Elegant Black. The introductory price provides a special discount of PHP 100,000 valid until March 31, 2023 only.

Availability and 5-Year Warranty

The all new GS8 and the GS and GB variants of the EMPOW are now in the country and will be available at the nearest GAC MOTOR dealership within the next few days, while the first batch of the EMPOW GE is scheduled to arrive in February.

GAC MOTOR dealerships are located in Alabang, Bacoor, Davao, Pampanga, Pasig and Tarlac. New showrooms are on track to be fully operational in BGC, Makati, Cainta, Quezon Avenue, Manila Bay, E. Rodriguez Sr., Batangas, Lipa City, and Cagayan de Oro by mid-year, bringing the brand closer to its target of 20 dealer appointments by year end.

The full line-up of GAC MOTOR vehicles come with 5-Year Warranty on parts and services. Visit for updates and details.

About the Author

Randolph de Leon
Randy is a person with disability (PWD), a partially-blinded person with only his left eye functioning. Since childhood, the automobile has always been his passion, and is able to express it through photography and most recently, through writing as well. Outside the motoring beat, Randy spends time manning the media aspect of his business which he co-founded with his sister/college classmate. It's called Dragonlight Wellness and Solutions, a multi-business venture centering on improving peoples' lives through earning.