Luxury of January

Celebrity endorser Derek Ramsay drives the Isuzu D-Max X-Series.

Celebrity endorser Derek Ramsay drives the Isuzu D-Max X-Series.

Automobile sales in the Philippines in 2016 just shot off the roof, surpassing the landmark 400,000-unit mark.

But don’t ask the luxury brand dealers their role in this record. As they say, it’s the niche, not the numbers, stupid.

And when they make their own moves, just like their cars, they easily zoom way ahead of the others in no time.

And so, this January seems to be a time for the movers and shakers of the luxury and ultra-luxury car market to do what they do best—to make the country’s richest car owners sit up and pay attention.

Ferrari-Maserati launch service HQ

On Jan. 25, Autostrada Motore, the official importer of Italian brands Ferrari and Maserati in the Philippines, launched its renovated service center in Quingua Street, Makati City.

In opening the service center, Wellington Soong, chair and president of Autostrada, said “Our work doesn’t end when a client buys a car and drives out of the showroom. We make sure that our clients enjoy every driving experience with the different Ferrari and Maserati model variants.”

The 1,000-square-meter Ferrari-Maserati Service Center has been renovated per manufacturers’ latest guidelines on equipment, workmanship, and services.

The facility features four lifters, two service pits, five open work bays, two clean rooms for the assembly, a lounge area for clients, office spaces, training and conference rooms, official diagnostics equipment issued by Ferrari and Maserati, and factory-trained and certified technicians.

All the work performed at the facility will use genuine parts and dedicated diagnostics.

Ferrari offers a seven-year maintenance service for every vehicle sold since 2010, the most extensive program in the industry, as well as the factory power warranty extension for up to 12 years.

Maserati vehicles come with a three-year service maintenance program, and three-year commercial warranty, with a possibility of extension for up to five years.

Volvo tech upgrades

Volvo Cars announced last month several updates to its 90 series cars (XC90, S90 and V90), delivering new safety, powertrain and connectivity updates.

The Swedish carmaker’s smartphone integration offer, which already includes Apple CarPlay, will now come with Android auto functionality in Volvo’s large driver interface.

“Volvo Cars is the only carmaker with a split screen interface that allows you to use both your smartphone functionality and your in-car features without changing views. This is primarily safety-related, designed to make our interface the easiest to use in the market. In the same way, our Over-The-Air update capability means that you will always have the latest map updates on hand,” said Dr. Peter Mertens, SVP for research and development at Volvo Car Group.

Volvo’s 90 series cars will also now feature Over-The-Air navigation update system.

Volvo has also applied its safety thinking to the connected car, delivering two new connected safety systems that will make their debut in the XC90, S90 and V90—Slippery Road Alert and Hazard Light Alert, which use the Cloud to share safety-critical data between cars.

Slippery Road Alert increases the driver’s awareness of both current road conditions and those on the road ahead by anonymously collecting road surface information from cars further ahead on the road and warning drivers in advance of an approaching slippery road section.

Hazard Light Alert forewarns drivers of vehicles that have activated their hazard warning lights on the road ahead, providing the driver with enough time to slow down.

Volvo has also added several new Drive-E powertrain variants, delivering an attractive balance of fuel economy and drivability.

The D3 4-cylinder diesel engine coupled to a new manual 6-speed transmission will deliver fuel economy of 4.3 l/100 km in the S90 with emissions down to 114 g/km CO2.

A new automatic 6-speed transmission coupled to the D3 will deliver 114 g/km CO2 and 4.3 l/100 km.

The D3 will also now be available with All-Wheel Drive in selected markets.

KTM Orange Day Tour

On Jan. 27, Adventure Cycle Philippines Inc. held a media kick-off for its KTM Orange Day Tour event at Italianni’s BGC, Taguig.

Acpi president and COO Dino Santos said Acpi would be gunning for 31 stores by end-2017.

Ferrari-Maserati Makati Service Center work area

Ferrari-Maserati Makati Service Center work area

The KTM Orange Day Tour kick-off activities included a showcase of the different KTM motorcycles, test rides, raffles and stunt shows from KTM international stunt rider Rok Bagoros.

The tour starts on Feb. 4 in Cafe Racer Ouanio Avenue, Cebu City, then motors on to Blip Bacolod, Lacson Street, Bata Highway, Bacolod on Feb. 11, and ends on Feb. 18 in Filinvest Drive, Alabang, Muntinlupa City.

Isuzu unveils D-Max X Series

However, not all mainstream auto manufacturers just stood by and watched this January.

Fresh from its Truck of the Year-Philippines win, Isuzu Philippines Corp. unveiled on Jan. 27 the 2017 Isuzu D-Max X-Series at the Bonifacio Global City Ampitheater.

Targeting the “young and dynamic families,” the upgraded D-Max X-Series line is characterized by a gun-metallic radiator grille brightened up by a bold, red Isuzu badge.

Complementing this is a functional front skirt that is also highlighted by red striping.

The aerodynamics package continues over to the rear of the D-Max, where the special X-Series side skirt, mounted toward the bottom edge of the truck’s bed, and cargo spoiler fitted on top of the bed, create a sleek, modern style that also contribute to vehicle performance.

Further enhancing the X-Series’ aesthetics and efficiency are the newly designed, two-tone 18-inch alloy wheels.

IPC president Hajime Koso said that the new X-Series addresses the lifestyle mobility requirement of active and urbane families. “No other pickup truck available in the local market can offer the combination of utility, reliability, versatility and high style that the D-Max X-Series does,” he said.

The X-Series is available exclusively for the D-Max 3.0L 4×2 model, powered by the 4JJI-TC (HI) diesel engine equipped with a Variable Geometry System (VGS) turbocharger and intercooler.

This inline-four, 3.0-liter, Common Rail Direct Injection diesel engine produces maximum power of 163 ps at 3,200 rpm and 380 Nm of torque at 1,800–2,200 rpm.

Guaranteeing power and fuel efficiency is either a 5-speed automatic transmission with sequential shift, or a 5-speed manual transmission.

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