Club of the ‘immortals’

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Isuzu20160315Fast Times features its first car club: Team Isuzu Pilipinas

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Think Isuzu and one word immediately pops up from the top of your mind: diesel.

The Japanese carmaker has built its reputation in manufacturing engines without spark plugs that power everything from the jeepneys that bellow along our streets to the cargo trucks that haul massive loads across the country. However, many also see Isuzu as outdated and unrefined, especially in the face of newer competition from all around the world, especially since it still sells the Crosswind, which is a new car that actually has two-decade-old underpinnings and a cantankerous engine with all the mechanical complexity of a hammer.

But for Team Isuzu Pilipinas, that just means it’s cheap to fix and, more importantly, is proof of its unimpeachable reliability. “The engine is immortal,” one member said. “It’s a car that stays true to the saying: ‘The body may be ruined, but the engine still runs,’” said another.

5,000-strong group
Team Isuzu Pilipinas started out as an online community in 2010 before it officially formed in January 2011 with around 20 members, said the group’s president and founder Alex Martinez. A home-based, online freelance contractor by day, Martinez is at the helm of some 200 official and 5,000 unofficial members nationwide and is in charge of coordinating events and formulating rules with other ranking members of the group.

Martinez said Team Isuzu Pilipinas is comprised of chapters in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, as well as subgroups according to model: Alterra, mu-X, Crosswind and Sportivo, Hi-Lander, D-MAX and Trooper. He also said to become part of the group, one must own an Isuzu vehicle and go on Facebook and ask to join “Isuzu Owners Philippines – Open Group.” Martinez said once the candidate is accepted, he or she must pass the requirements – name, address, vehicle, plate number and picture – which will determine the subgroup that he or she will be assigned to.

Jeffrey Foo, a vacation-home proprietor who heads both the group’s Subic and Zambales chapter and the Alterra subgroup, said a new member must participate in at least three Team Isuzu Pilipinas events before becoming an official member. He also said once one becomes an official member, he or she gets a serial number, roadside assistance anywhere in the country from fellow club members and the privilege of purchasing club-branded merchandise.

Knowledge-sharing, promotional duties
Goodies aside, they all said the biggest benefit of being in Team Isuzu Pilipinas is the camaraderie derived from the shared passion over all things Isuzu. Foo said members are able to exchange ideas about their cars, with the veteran members helping out the newbies.

Aside from talking about cars, all chapters of the group concurrently hold eyeballs every last Saturday of the month, as well as go on out-of-town trips together with their families. Foo said these are often the initiatives of the chapters, but other members are welcome to join.

Because of Team Isuzu Pilipinas’s size and spread, Martinez said the group has had an official collaboration with the Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC) since it began. Aside from giving the group media exposure, Foo said IPC has also sponsored many of the group’s major events and has given nothing short of all-out support.

“IPC was there during our fifth anniversary,” Foo said. “Aside from the free food, they also provided us with gifts, including Isuzu premium items. The members were happy to get those since we don’t always get premium items for free.”

In exchange, Foo said the group takes part in official Isuzu functions, such as promotional events and car shows.

“One time, my group of Alterra owners was invited to join a car show at the World Trade Center,” he said. “We had five of our members join that event. In return, Isuzu Philippines answered for all the costs of detailing all the Alterras for that show.”

Outreach programs, disaster-relief assistance

But Team Isuzu Pilipinas is more than just a bunch of Isuzu enthusiasts. Martinez said the group is likewise active in socio-civic work, usually at the initiative of the chapters.

“Recently, one of our members celebrated his birthday and his wish was to spend it helping others,” he said. “So other members in his area joined him in a convoy to an orphanage.”

In addition, Martinez said the group offers the renowned dependability and off-road ability of their Isuzus in post-disaster efforts like helping the Philippine Red Cross deliver goods to areas affected by natural calamities.

“In our small way, we organize groups to help,” one members said. “Like on social networking, anyone can donate a box of goods or first-aid kits or even clothes.”

Fun in the sun, going global
This year, Martinez said the group is preparing a summer getaway to Tagaytay or Batangas. He also said the group wants to have more chapters in Visayas and Mindanao, and perhaps even outside of the Philippines.

But Martinez said the group plans to register with Securities and Exchange Commission thi s year to make it official. He said this is because a group called Team Isuzu Indonesia copied their logo, essentially replacing “Pilipinas” with “Indonesia.”

“That’s sort of a compliment,” Foo said. “But we need to protect our rights to use the trademark name “Team Isuzu” because other people might copy it and just have their own stickers.”

Martinez said they are in talks with Team Isuzu Indonesia on the matter. He also said they are also talking about a tie-up with Panther Mania, which was established even before Team Isuzu Pilipinas and is named after the ASEAN name for the Hi-Lander and Crosswind.

The Japanese carmaker has built its reputation in manufacturing engines without spark plugs that power everything from the jeepneys that bellow along our streets to the cargo trucks that haul massive loads across the country. However, many also see Isuzu as outdated and unrefined, especially in the face of newer competition from all around the world, especially since it still sells the Crosswind, which is a new car that actually has two-decade-old underpinnings and a cantankerous engine with all the mechanical complexity of a hammer.
But for Team Isuzu Pilipinas, that just means it’s cheap to fix and, more importantly, is proof of its unimpeachable reliability. “The engine is immortal,” one member said. “It’s a car that stays true to the saying: ‘The body may be ruined, but the engine still runs,’” said another.

5,000-strong group
Team Isuzu Pilipinas started out as an online community in 2010 before it officially formed in January 2011 with around 20 members, said the group’s president and founder Alex Martinez. A home-based, online freelance contractor by day, Martinez is at the helm of some 200 official and 5,000 unofficial members nationwide and is in charge of coordinating events and formulating rules with other ranking members of the group.

Martinez said Team Isuzu Pilipinas is comprised of chapters in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, as well as subgroups according to model: Alterra, mu-X, Crosswind and Sportivo, Hi-Lander, D-MAX and Trooper. He also said to become part of the group, one must own an Isuzu vehicle and go on Facebook and ask to join “Isuzu Owners Philippines – Open Group.” Martinez said once the candidate is accepted, he or she must pass the requirements – name, address, vehicle, plate number and picture – which will determine the subgroup that he or she will be assigned to.

Jeffrey Foo, a vacation-home proprietor who heads both the group’s Subic and Zambales chapter and the Alterra subgroup, said a new member must participate in at least three Team Isuzu Pilipinas events before becoming an official member. He also said once one becomes an official member, he or she gets a serial number, roadside assistance anywhere in the country from fellow club members and the privilege of purchasing club-branded merchandise.

Knowledge-sharing, promotional duties
Goodies aside, they all said the biggest benefit of being in Team Isuzu Pilipinas is the camaraderie derived from the shared passion over all things Isuzu. Foo said members are able to exchange ideas about their cars, with the veteran members helping out the newbies.

“And we are able to save money because before we go to a shop, we ask the group first,” Martinez said. “We get an idea first of what has to be done. And in some shops, we get special discounts.”

Aside from talking about cars, all chapters of the group concurrently hold eyeballs every last Saturday of the month, as well as go on out-of-town trips together with their families. Foo said these are often the initiatives of the chapters, but other members are welcome to join.

Because of Team Isuzu Pilipinas’s size and spread, Martinez said the group has had an official collaboration with the Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC) since it began. Aside from giving the group media exposure, Foo said IPC has also sponsored many of the group’s major events and has given nothing short of all-out support.

“IPC was there during our fifth anniversary,” Foo said. “Aside from the free food, they also provided us with gifts, including Isuzu premium items. The members were happy to get those since we don’t always get premium items for free.”

In exchange, Foo said the group takes part in official Isuzu functions, such as promotional events and car shows.

“One time, my group of Alterra owners was invited to join a car show at the World Trade Center,” he said. “We had five of our members join that event. In return, Isuzu Philippines answered for all the costs of detailing all the Alterras for that show.”

Outreach programs, disaster-relief assistance
But Team Isuzu Pilipinas is more than just a bunch of Isuzu enthusiasts. Martinez said the group is likewise active in socio-civic work, usually at the initiative of the chapters.

“Recently, one of our members celebrated his birthday and his wish was to spend it helping others,” he said. “So other members in his area joined him in a convoy to an orphanage.”

In addition, Martinez said the group offers the renowned dependability and off-road ability of their Isuzus in post-disaster efforts like helping the Philippine Red Cross deliver goods to areas affected by natural calamities.

“In our small way, we organize groups to help,” one members said. “Like on social networking, anyone can donate a box of goods or first-aid kits or even clothes.”

Fun in the sun, going global
This year, Martinez said the group is preparing a summer getaway to Tagaytay or Batangas. He also said the group wants to have more chapters in Visayas and Mindanao, and perhaps even outside of the Philippines.

But Martinez said the group plans to register with Securities and Exchange Commission thi s year to make it official. He said this is because a group called Team Isuzu Indonesia copied their logo, essentially replacing “Pilipinas” with “Indonesia.”

“That’s sort of a compliment,” Foo said. “But we need to protect our rights to use the trademark name “Team Isuzu” because other people might copy it and just have their own stickers.”

Martinez said they are in talks with Team Isuzu Indonesia on the matter. He also said they are also talking about a tie-up with Panther Mania, which was established even before Team Isuzu Pilipinas and is named after the ASEAN name for the Hi-Lander and Crosswind.

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