Outstanding new vehicles during tough times


As we enter the second half of 2018, we look back at some of the new or updated models that should spark market interest going into the remaining six months of the year.

The Philippine auto sales may have slowed down a bit during the first half of this year–12.24 percent lower as manufacturers and distributors sold 191,470 units compared to the 218,170 units delivered over the same period in 2017. The market is still adjusting to what happened at the beginning of 2018 when the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion or Train Law took effect, initiating new tax rates that added to the manufacturer’s or importer’s selling price.

A little over six months after its global debut at the 2017 Indonesia International Auto Show in Jakarta, Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. (MMPC) finally brought in the Xpander last March 1.

MMPC is proud to be the second in Asia to launch this highly anticipated MPV/crossover that seeks to address the Philippines’ growing demand for an “in-between” model.

A number of manufacturers and distributors decided to hold all their new and exciting offerings until April 5, in time for the holding of the annual staging of the Manila International Auto Show or MIAS.

With a record 128,000 visitors flocking to the World Trade Center in Pasay City from April 5 to 8, their decision proved to be very timely.

Ford Philippines kicked things off by introducing its all-new Mustang and Expedition. The new 5.0-liter V8, 10-speed automatic convertible Mustang was unveiled along with a 5.0L V8, 6-speed manual convertible, a 5.0L V8, 10-speed automatic fastback and a more fuel efficient 2.3L EcoBoost, 10-speed automatic fastback variant.

Meanwhile, Hyundai Asia Resources Inc. (HARI) brought four vehicles to MIAS 2018: the Veloster Turbo, the Santa Fe, the Ioniq Hybrid, and the Kona.

The MIAS 2018 also saw the introduction of the facelifted Subaru Outback that is now equipped with Eyesight safety package.

The Covenant Car Company Inc. (TCCCI), the official distributor of Chevy cars in the Philippines, presented the new Malibu, particularly its top variant, the LTZ. It is powered by a 2.0-liter 250 horsepower, 353Nm turbocharged DOHC engine that is mated to a six-speed AT with active select manual mode.

At P2 million, the Malibu LTZ comes with a driver-assist features including semi-automatic parallel and perpendicular parking, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, front collision alert, front pedestrian detection, forward automatic braking, side blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control.

A few weeks after MIAS 2018, Volkswagen Philippines unveiled the all-new Santana GTS, the Lavida, the Lamando, and the Tiguan 280 TSI DSG Comfortline.

The Lavida is Volkswagen’s best-selling sedan in China, and comes with a 1.4-liter turbocharged gasoline engine capable of 128 hp and 225 Nm mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission.

The Lamando, meanwhile, is equipped with a 1.4-liter TSI gasoline engine mated to a seven-speed automatic.

The Tiguan 280 TSI DSG Comfortline, on the other hand, is Volkswagen’s stylish compact crossover. It runs on a 1.4-liter TSI gasoline engine with an output of 148 hp and 250 Nm mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

Also in May, Yutaka Sanada, Nissan Motor Corp.’s regional SVP and head of Operations Committee-Asean and Oceania led the Asia and Oceania launch of the Nissan Terra mid-size SUV at Clark Global City in Pampanga.

The Terra, Nissan’s first entry in the mid-size SUV segment in the Philippines, may be regarded as a descendant of the legendary off-road beast Patrol.

“Over 60 years of SUV heritage went into the development of the Nissan Terra. Indeed, the Terra will change the game in the mid-size SUV segment, and that it will be the strongest contributor to the business growth of Nissan Philippines in 2018,” said Ramesh Narasimhan, president and managing director of Nissan Philippines.

In June, MINI Philippines officially launched its latest rendition of the One premium hatchback.

According to the British brand, this will be its most affordable vehicle in its line-up—P2.13 million for the three-door variant, and P2.23 million for the five-door.

Both MINI One variants are equipped with the same 1.2-liter MINI TwinPower Turbo engine that is designed to cut fuel consumption and emissions levels by 27 percent compared to the previous model. This engine can produce 102 horsepower and 180 Nm of torque.

May has been a busy month for new car launches as Toyota Motor Philippines also launched the all-new Rush subcompact SUV.

Powered by a 1.5-liter VVTi engine, it also boasts of seating for seven, start/stop button (across all variants), capacitive touchscreen audio system, Optitron meter gauge with multi-information display, back camera, an Apple-certified entertainment system, and six SRS airbags.

On June 27, Suzuki Philippines (SPH) launched its much-awaited all-new Dzire and Swift at the Marriott Hotel’s Grand Ballroom in Pasay City.

The all-new Swift boasts a daring transformation while retaining old features that Filipinos loved—strong shoulders, blacked-out A-pillars for wrap-around windows, dynamic side-window treatment and distinctive vertically arranged lamps.

These are complemented by a black interior with a white pearl accent and a dimple pattern to create a fresher look.

Six months after showing off its 3.0-liter Euro 4 compliant engine, Isuzu Philippines Corp. in June welcomed a downsized engine to the market for those requiring a mix of power and efficiency.

With the launch of the all-new 1.9-liter RZ4E Blue Power engine, IPC finally completes its Blue Power offering as it is now available in the 2018 mu-X and D-Max.

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