Skid Marks

Singapore Motorshow impressions

Toyota CHR

Toyota CHR

The Singapore Motorshow is on a renaissance of sorts. The event was last held in 2008, in sync with the first-ever Singapore F1 GP Night Race.

Apparently, due to various road closures, people failed to flock to the Suntec City Convention Center in Singapore, which also happened to be bound by the Singapore Street Circuit.

The motorshow went on a sabbatical from 2009 until 2015, when the event was re-started. Under the new leadership of Glenn Tan, it prospered.

In 2015, the event was moved to January, making it a main event rather than a sideshow for another event happening in Singapore.

Some 52,000 people flocked to the gates of Suntec City Convention Center, and increased to 58,000 people in 2016.

In 2017, while no official figures are yet available, the Singapore Motor Traders Association, the organizing body of the Singapore Motorshow, expects guests to swell to the mid-60,000 mark.

There were a total of 60 exhibitors from the automotive industry, as well as some from the aftermarket, gaming and motorsports sector.

Itís more industry trade-show oriented, so booth structures were limited in size and height. There were also restrictions in the AVP presentations, and selling was very minimal to allow guests to gain as much time and information about the cars on display without distractions, and making it a family-friendly event as well.

We were hosted by Motor Image Enterprises, and since Glenn Tan heads Motor Image, Tan Chong Nissan, The Singapore Motor Traders Association, and the organizing committee of the Motor Show, we had early access to the event.

Our first major activity was an interview session with Subaru brand ambassador Cesar Millan, who is trying to find people here in Asia to pass on his dog whispering skills.

Subaru BRZ

Subaru BRZ

His best tip? A dog wants to follow someone who is calm, composed, confident, and emits strong leadership qualities.

Seeing that many motoring journalists were also dog lovers, it was a real treat spending time with Cesar.

The next day was the Singapore Motorshowís official press day when the various launches were held. Of note, Subaru launched the all-new Impreza sedan and hatchback while underlining the new and improved Subaru global platform, displayed in all its bare metal, shod of skin, thus underlining all the major safety improvements, structural rigidity improvements and of course, the increase in size, wheelbase (30 mm longer) and track width (17 mm wider) which aimed to improve overall passenger comfort, safety and dynamic performance.

Despite the all-new platform being bigger and better, weight remained unchanged from its predecessor.

The new Impreza has two available body styles: a traditional 4-door sedan and a 5-door hatchback.

It is very likely that both body styles will reach the Philippines, with the local launch slated for the 2017 Manila International Autoshow this summer.

Immediately after the launch of the all-new Impreza, Subaru and Motor Image were expected to announce the launch of the all-new XV cross-over, which also utilizes the same Subaru global platform, in May, with a Philippine release scheduled for Q3 of 2017.

Peugeot 3008 cross-over SUV

Peugeot 3008 cross-over SUV

This year is definitely going to be big for Subaru.

Other noteworthy launches were the local introduction of the MY2017 Nissan R35 GTR, the Lexus IS200 Turbo model, and the most popular and photographed car during the Motorshow, the 2017 Acura/Honda NSX in full production form.

French Automaker Peugeot also unveiled its 3008 compact crossover SUV for the Singaporean market.

We will be getting this cross-over soon in the Philippines as well.

Mazda MX-5 RF

Mazda MX-5 RF

Russ Swift was also up to his old antics, impressing the crowd with his amazing driving skills and stunts. Russ was excited to be back in Singapore, and also expressed that he was looking forward to visiting the Philippines again in 2017.

Despite the Singapore automotive industry being a modest 30,000 thereabouts in annual sales per annum, government regulationsóparticularly the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) and a strict scrapping lawóensure that there is a steady and regular sale of motor vehicles in the city-state.

And with many people opting to buy mid- to high-end cars, the monetary value of the industry, with stiff import taxes and high COE costs, makes its market larger in amount compared to the Philippines.

Honda NSX 2

Honda NSX 2

Hopefully, our own local motorshows can mature like Singaporeís more laid-back, casual and also more family-friendly activity.

But our own motorshows and local automotive industry have shown more unity and cooperation, as well as willingness to reach out to each other in the industry and to the overall Philippine consumer market.

In the future, perhaps regionally, the motorshow organizers can cooperate and help cross-promote their respective shows to draw in bigger, better crowds regionally.

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