Sarao Motors

Sarao Motors, Inc.
Industry Automotive
Founded 1953 (as an automotive shop)
1962 (as a corporation)
Founder Leonardo S. Sarao
Headquarters Brgy. Pulang Lupa, Las Piñas, Philippines
Area served
Key people
Rafael Sarao, Sr.
Ernesto Sarao
Eduardo Sarao
Products Jeepney
Production output
12 to 15 units per day (peak)[1]

Sarao Motors, Inc. is a Filipino automotive manufacturing company headquartered in Brgy. Pulang Lupa in the city of Las Piñas in Metro Manila, Philippines. The company designs, engineers, manufactures and distributes the jeepney, the most popular form of transportation in the country, labeled as the 'king of the road' in the Philippines.[2][3]

The company was first established as a small automotive shop in 1953 by starting entrepreneur Leonardo Sarao, a mechanic and a former calesa driver. From an initial budget of 700, the company grew into a multimillion corporation. At its peak, the ratio of Sarao jeepneys rolling the streets of Manila outnumbered other names by nearly 7 to 1, the name Sarao became synonymous with the vehicle.[2]

Sarao promoted the jeepney as a symbol of Philippine culture. A Sarao was exhibited at the Philippine pavilion at the 1964 New York World's Fair as a national image for the Filipinos.[2][4] In 1971, a Sarao jeepney traveled from Manila to London and all over Europe as the Phlippine icon of the London-Manila Express, a roadshow sponsored by the Philippine Tourism and Travel Association to boost the country's tourism and industry to European countries.[5][6][7]

Sarao is also a manufacturer of owner-type, custom-built jeepneys and other type of vehicles for schools, businesses and other institutions. Pope John Paul II rode on a specially built owner-type jeepney by Sarao during his first travel to the country in 1981.[8]

On October 2, 2000 Sarao Motors was forced to halt jeepney production due to rising costs.[9] Sarao Motors' employees were downsized from 300 to only 50. The collection department was the only part of the company that remained operational.[10] Sarao Motors eventually resumed its operation albeit in a lesser scale.[11][12]

A Sarao jeepney in a Philippine street in 1973


  1. Santos, Michelle D. "Greatest leaders in our midst - Mr. Leonardo S. Sarao, Sr.". TOFIL Online. Retrieved on 2013-04-06.
  2. 1 2 3 "Sarao Jeepney". The Official Website of Las Piñas City. Retrieved on 2013-04-08.
  3. "Jeepney". Stuart Exchange. Retrieved on 2013-04-08.
  4. Mercado, Leonardo N. "The Filipino Mind - Chapter X: Microcosms, THE JEEPNEY AS MICROCOSM". Council for Research in Values and Philosophy. Retrieved on 2013-04-12.
  5. saraocraft (2005-04-16). "23 LONDON MANILA Jeepney Express". Retrieved on 2013-04-13.
  6. "Bayanihan International Milestones". Bayanihan National Dance Company. Retrieved on 2013-04-13.
  7. saraocraft (2005-04-16). "london manila express 1971". Retrieved on 2013-04-13.
  8. saraocraft (2005-04-16). "15 Pope John Paul". Retrieved on 2013-04-13.
  9. "Jeepney maker stopsproduction". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 2000-10-04. Retrieved 2014-07-23.
  10. "Sarao brakes to a full stop". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 2000-10-08. Retrieved 2014-07-23.
  11. Madrona, Mark (2011-11-16). "Reviving the iconic Sarao jeepney". VERA Files. Retrieved 2014-07-23.
  12. Palma, Andre (2005-06-12). "Hybrid Economics". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 2014-07-23. Good news for Filipino motorist, Sarao, the iconic jeepney builder is still open. In reaction to the last week's column that mentioned "sadly defunct Sarao", I received an email and production photos from Ed Sarao showing otherwise.

Coordinates: 14°28′21″N 120°58′30″E / 14.47250°N 120.97500°E / 14.47250; 120.97500

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