Skid Marks

2018 car wishlist


With the excise tax increase finally approved by President Rodrigo Duterte along with Congress, the majority of cars will increase in price.

Though it may be a bit much to ask, here are some suggestions to car manufacturers to help justify the price increase, and give better value for money to the consumers.

1. More fuel efficient and cleaner engines

Aside from cars, prices of fuel will increase as well, so we hope manufacturers can tweak their respective engines to deliver more efficiency and cleaner emissions.

Improvements in fuel efficiency will also help reduce overall running costs.

2. More vehicle service space and centers

Walk into a typical car dealership and there’s a chance you will be turned away simply because of the huge volume of cars being serviced.

The automotive industry is lagging behind in service space and qualified technicians to service our cars.

With the increase of car prices, many people won’t be able to afford buying a new, more reliable car in the near future, so their old trusty cars will need more TLC as time and mileage accumulates.

We can’t afford to not have our car ready to go to work/school and our other daily responsibilities because it needs servicing or repairs.

3. Better safety equipment and convenience item specs

Though this is a double-edged sword as it increases servicing and ownership cost in the long run, all cars need better safety and convenience equipment to ensure our own safety and security—from keyless button and entry keygobs, car alarms and immobilizers to prevent theft, to convenience features such as power door locks, power side mirrors and windows, to improved driving, thanks to better lighting and standardized front and rear foglamps with brighter, stronger headlights, to ABS-EBD brakes, airbags and traction/stability control systems for adverse weather conditions.

Many argue you don’t need that given our traffic and the mostly low speeds we drive on, but flash floods, standing water and bad weather, plus poorly maintained roads means accidents can creep up on us all of a sudden.

Better to be safe than sorry.

4. A better dealership experience

Since cars will be more expensive, car dealerships need to provide a better, friendlier, warmer and more professional experience with their customers.

I visit a variety of dealerships every month, and the scene at a typical dealership is that of a marketplace: crowded, somewhat chaotic but filled with positive energy as many are hopeful to buy their dream cars.

Dealerships need to provide a better customer experience with more courteous, knowledgeable, and well-informed sales team and a more comfortable lounging area for guests and clients who come to look at and buy cars and to have their vehicles serviced.

Many car dealerships have also started offering customer service calls and text messaging, even e-mail and snail mail to remind owners to have their cars serviced, or that their insurance and LTO registrations are expiring and should be remewed.

It would be good for all car dealerships to adopt these measures for the convenience of their clients.

Other dealerships also offer assistance on LTO registration and insurance renewals, which help reduce hassle, waste of time, and guesswork on the part of car owners, new or old.

Lastly, and perhaps very crucial especially to first time car owners, is a more professional, systematic and organized vehicle turnover where a sales agent clearly explains all the key features of the vehicle, reminds the buyer of the PMS schedule, and shows where the tools and spare tire as well as jack is located, and how to use them in the event of an emergency.

5. More freebies

Some dealerships give more, while others give less, and some don’t give any.

For a typical car buyer, they want to feel that they got a great deal on any car, affordable or expensive.

Simple things like free tint, car matting, and TPL insurance are often free. But it would be nice if buyers got more.

Extended warranty coverage, freebies on further car accessories, free comprehensive insurance for one year, or even lifestyle products like umbrellas, jackets, an early warning device, a flashlight, safety gloves, steering wheel and pedal locking mechanisms for added theft prevention, mobile phone chargers and powerbanks/jump starter kits, or a sound system upgrade would be greatly appreciated by consumers.

All told, these are small minor extras in the face of increased vehicle prices. But these small enhancements should help justify the added cost, and improve the overall buying, servicing and ownership experience of the motoring public.

I hope car manufacturers and dealerships heed these suggestions.

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

latest stories