Skid Marks

Optimism in the air as MIAS 2019 concludes successful run

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The recently concluded Manila International Auto Show 2019 or MIAS held at the World Trade Center Metro Manila in Pasay City was the most attended to date, with 142,000 visitors flocking during its four-day run.

Arguably the country’s biggest annual industry car show, approximately 175 companies, including 22 major automotive brands setup exciting display booths at the main hall that boasts a total display area of 33,000 square meters!

The organizers, Worldbex Services Inc. said in a statement that, “The new car releases this year at MIAS 2019 were an interesting mix of practical and fun cars, just right for the MIAS theme of 2019 “Fun and Function.” There were sedans and small SUV’s, like the MG 6 and Subaru XV GT, premium family cars like the Hyundai Palisade and dream cars like the Chevrolet Camaro and KIA Stinger.”

Many major brands unveiled, re-launched or previewed their latest models and products. Companies like Jeep unveiled the JL generation Wrangler to the public, as well as the Compass crossover SUV; Hyundai unveiled the Palisade full-size SUV and the Ioniq 5-door hatch EV; KIA showed off their Stinger and Forte sports sedan twins that cater to different ends of the enthusiast spectrum; Subaru unveiled their special-variant XV GT, exclusive to all Motor Image Subaru markets in Asean; and of course Chevrolet unveiled their iconic Camaro muscle car to the local market after a long hiatus.

Finally, the Mustang and the Dodge Challenger are properly prepped for the impending Philippine pony car wars! This also strengthens Chevrolet’s position in the sports/enthusiast car’s segment as the Camaro sits alongside the C7 Corvette Stingray.

It was also interesting to note that MG, the British car marque now under the professional stewardship of The Covenant Car Company, Inc., made a big splash as they unveiled their powerhouse line-up of vehicles. Though I have yet to drive any MG car of late, all of my colleagues in the Motoring beat who have driven them left impressed by their technology, driving dynamics, fit and finish. Here’s hoping the brand will flourish!

Another company to re-launch and re-brand itself is KIA. We’ve all seen and salivated at KIA’s success abroad, with their awesome model line-up.

Today, under Ayala Automotive’s care, the brand is targeting an impressive sales of 10,000 units in 2019, their biggest and most ambitious yet since the brand first entered the Philippine market decades ago. With products like the Stinger and Forte handling the enthusiast segment to cast a halo over the rest of their equally impressive line-up of vehicles, it would be surprising if they failed to hit their target indeed!

Even on the commercial vehicle segment, brands like DAF, GAC and JAC Motors were represented, too for fleet/institutional-corporate buyers!

Other companies who made a strong presence from the aftermarket/OEM supplier side include Black Rhino wheels, which showed their 2019 collection, particularly their latest rotary forged wheel models and bead-lock wheels for hard-core enthusiasts.

PIAA unveiled a new affordable horn called “OTO” (which means sound in Japanese, how appropriate indeed) and a 4,000 Kelvin LED all-weather headlight retrofit kit called Hyper Arros, GW2 trading together with the Nissan-Leica Group unveiled the NISMO-themed Navara pick-up and Terra SUV with exclusive bodykit/bumper options mimicking the NISMO Patrol SUV sold in other markets.

Blade, the country’s largest automotive lifestyle and parts store chain had a big presence at the show, and Turtle Wax, a household name in personal and professional detailing and cleaning products were selling lots of items to enthusiasts.

This is all well and good, as it shows the overall resilience of the Philippine automotive industry, and that Filipinos, despite being constantly getting caught in a gridlock, still love cars, mooring and travelling and are still looking forward to the newest, latest and best cars coming in and being introduced to the market.

Despite the slow-down of car sales last year, 2019 seems to show true promise, as car companies are aggressively pushing their cars with promos and great deals, and continually unveiling new cars to the market.

As consumers, we have never been spoilt for choice. More new brands, more choices, better deals and today’s solid financial sector has allowed borrowing money to finance cars to remain cheap affordable and accessible to all.

With MIAS 2019 being a resounding success, it kicks off the rest of the industry’s calendar year in high spirits! Here’s hoping the positivity translates to renewed sales in the industry!



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