It has been a busy year for the first half of 2013 for the automotive industry. European powerhouse brand Volkswagen, ultraluxury marques like Bentley and Rolls-Royce, and even niche brands like Morgan have recently appointed official dealerships and distribution rights in the Philippine market this year, signaling investor confidence with highly positive economic indicators backing up their forecasts.
During the first quarter of the year, several new models were introduced to the market as Berjaya Auto Philippines, the new distributor for Mazda, launched the new Mazda6, while Motor Image introduced its Subaru Forester. Ford Philippines launched their Wildtrak Ranger, Autohub debuted the MINI Paceman and CATS Motors introduced its JEEP Moab Wrangler at the Manila International Auto Show last April.
The second quarter saw the introduction of the Kia Carens by its distributor Columbia Autocar Corp. last May. The luxury car market also had a good showing as PGA, the Philippine distributor for Porsche, introduced the Cayman after its debut of its sibling, the Boxster, last December.
Two of the most iconic ultraluxury British car brands, Bentley and Rolls-Royce, place the Philippines as one of the privileged countries to have an official dealership. Bentley is being represented by the PGA Group while Autohub, the distributors for MINI, is representing the Rolls-Royce marque. Another British icon, the Land Rover, introduced the all-new Range Rover last June. Morgan, a British niche sports car brand, has also appointed a Philippine dealer, quietly accepting orders on an indent basis.
Japanese luxury brand Lexus made a very memorable media launch at the Clark International Speedway, introducing its Lexus IS350 and IS350 F Sport with very competitive pricing to go head-to-head against its European counterparts. CATS Motors also debuted its new Mercedes-Benz A-Class 350 and E-Class models just two weeks apart towards late June.
Early on, the second half of 2013 seems to be equally peppered with numerous debuts and launches. Last July 10, Toyota launched its all-new Vios while Ford Philippines introduced its Ford Fiesta last July 18, and BMW unloaded the all-new X1. Toyota Motor Philippines also celebrates its 25th anniversary this coming August with a single-brand motorshow at the World Trade Center.
As of this writing other debuts on the calendar include the Maserati Quattroporte, Honda CRZ, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Mazda3 and the Chevy Spin. With a highly diversified mix of vehicle models debuting in this market, it shows that the automotive market has finally come of age, accepting new brands and models along the way. Having a more mature and well-informed market is also a product of the digital age, where information is well within the fingertips, not just of the digital elite but of all segments across the consumer board.
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