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Volkswagen Philippines launched with not one but two slogans, though not necessarily compatible with each other. The first one, “the people’s car,” was understandable given the company name. But the vehicles’ styling, equipment level, and pricing did not exactly connote a plebeian mode of transportation.
Nowadays, pickup trucks are no longer workhorses used only in farming, construction and other outdoor industries. Modern pickups have become a lifestyle statement for urban dwellers who dare to be different from the hoi polloi driving passenger cars and sport utility vehicles. This is why pickup manufacturers have to factor in creature comforts as well as durability and off-road capability when designing a new pickup, yet strike a judicious balance between the two.
I’m definitely not a nature lover. I don’t like getting dirty or being in places that have lots of bugs. Being the Jane of Tarzan was something I never fantasized.
Not many Filipinos are familiar with French cars, what with the market being saturated with Japanese, German, American and Korean brands plus a few Italian (Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini), British (Jaguar, Land Rover, MINI Cooper, Bentley, Rolls Royce) and Scandinavian (Volvo) units here and there. So when Peugeot, France’s largest auto maker, entered the Philippine market, it was expected to come up with a car that would truly impress everyone as only a made-in-France product could.
The Philippine countryside is a pickup truck haven and the front line in an expanding battle among several auto makers planning to load up on profits from this well-rounded type of vehicle.
I used to joke to my friends at Mitsubishi that the only thing they lacked, the single chink in their armor, was a small car able to take on the likes of the Toyota Vios/Yaris and Honda City/Jazz. Well, it seems like they’ve been listening because right now, the Mirage onslaught is here.
While the Bureau of Internal Revenue has been relentless of late going after alleged tax evaders, it has been good to see that more and more juicy, tasty and interesting cars are now becoming more visible on our roads. With a plethora of sports cars and luxury rides congregating on weekends at the spacious parking areas of Alabang, Bonifacio Global City, Greenhills and other affluent neighborhoods, you’d think the Philippines isn’t a Third World country.
Just when everyone thought that BMW had completed its MINI lineup with six models (the standard MINI Cooper hatchback, Convertible, Clubman, Coupé, Roadster and Countryman) last year at the Paris Auto Show, the Bavarian luxury car manufacturer unveiled a seventh model, the Paceman, as its first Sports Activity Coupé in the premium compact segment. Built on the same platform as the Countryman with the same styling inside and out except for the rear and powered by the same range of gasoline engines, the Paceman is a four-seater with two doors, a large tailgate and a princely retail price.
Last year, when I wrote about the 2-liter, 162-HP Mazda CX-5 (“SkyActiv Technology sets Mazda CX-5 apart,” Motoring, 8/15/12), I noted that “while the CX-5 weighs less than its competitors, its horsepower rating is also lower than theirs. In fact, the CX-5 has one of the least powerful engines in its class, making it comparatively anemic in straight-line acceleration.”
As an emerging market for automobiles, the Philippines has its share of entry-level, seven-seater multipurpose vehicles (MPVs), usually diesel, that are known as AUVs (Asian utility vehicles or all-around utility vehicles). The segment leader in terms of sales is the truck-based, midsize Toyota Innova, which is assembled here, while the top spot in the compact AUV category is being contested by the Isuzu Crosswind, Toyota Avanza, Mitsubishi Adventure and Suzuki APV.