Aiming to further communicate the Car Awards Group, Inc.’s (CAGI) advocacy of focusing on real-world testing to determine the best vehicles in the market, the 13-year organization of motoring journalists staged the first Truck of the Year Dealer Talks at Isuzu Alabang in Muntinlupa City.
Following the success of the pioneering session for the reigning Car of the Year (COTY-P) winner Honda Civic RS Turbo recently held at Honda Cars Manila Bay in ASEANA City, Paranaque City, CAGI continued the momentum for the 2016 Truck of the Year (TOTY-P) winner Isuzu D-Max 4×2 3.0 LS AT.
“The Isuzu D-Max has been a solid contender for the TOTY-P for many years. But with the advent of the new 3.0 [liter]diesel engine with variable geometry turbocharging, it finally has a leg up on the competition,” said CAGI Technical Director Niky Tamayo during the discussions.
“Combined with its already impressive utility and value for money, this cemented its win. That such a seemingly minor change can have such a huge effect is a testament to how closely fought these awards are, and how competitive the local truck market is at the moment,” he added.
Where most awards are based on a popularity vote or a review of technical aspects or on-paper specifications, TOTY-P judging features a comprehensive scoring system refined over the past decade, encompassing both subjective (Qualitative) and objective (Technical) criteria.
A balancing act
Balancing the two is a difficult task, but CAGI has been refining this process for over a decade. Most recently, with KPMG RG Manabat & Co. (KPMG RGM&Co.) as its official tabulator, CAGI’s awrds have further been enhanced and made of more value to emanate stronger credibility and prestige.
KPMG RGM&Co.’s Advisory Manager Cedie Dimaculangan affirms this saying that, “The procedures undertaken and the results achieved during COTY and TOTY evaluations are independent, unbiased and objectively performed. Our firm continues to help CAGI in creating a system wherein price is incorporated in the assessment of the vehicles.”
Forging a partnership with Isuzu Automotive Dealership, Inc. (IADI) with the help of Isuzu Philippines Corp., CAGI through the said talk was able to commune to about 100 participants composed mostly of sales representatives from Isuzu’s Alabang, Rizal, Cavite and Pasig dealerships. CAGI believes that these sales agents are the front-liners that would best share the message to the consumers as they could pitch the importance of the TOTY-P award.
“We knew we had to make this happen since CAGI is the only organization in the country that has been conducting instrumented tests for each new vehicle every year. For us, having the privilege to be named Truck of the Year Philippines was special and we had to relay this to our customers,” said IADI Marketing Manager Pam See.
For the first time ever, outsiders were granted access to the inner workings of Truck of the Year, from candidate selection to testing, to scoring, to awarding.
For CAGI, the D-Max’s win was earned through a cutthroat performance in their technical tests, particularly the actual on track performance, price, safety and utility. Price, for one, had Isuzu ahead of competition as the brand has always been very competitive in this area, while the same goes with the safety of their vehicles compared to other trucks in the same price range.
Handling-wise, Isuzu’s user-friendliness was an advantage as other pick-ups were stiffer. There were no sudden oversteer or understeer. During the actual test, the D-Max simply went where one wanted it to. Its remarkable steering was not as heavy as on some competitors, which allowed the D-Max to score in the upper-half of the field in terms of slalom times.
In terms of braking, the D-Max 4×2 beat out all the rest with a 30.1-meter stop from 80 kph.
In acceleration, the D-Max, this time, made a difference. The new variable geometry turbo helped it put in a convincing stance. For the D-Max to go toe to toe with competitors was impressive as it springs from 5 kph to 80 kph in only 7.6 seconds while clocking in 10.6 seconds at the 0-100 kph benchmark—which was a big improvement over the previous generation.
With this, Tamayo said: “This is also a validation of our comprehensive qualitative and technical testing. The Truck of the Year award goes not to the most popular contender, but the most capable.”
For this year, CAGI is again set to finding the best in the field thru these actual instrumented tests and they will again be partnering with KPMG RG. Manabat& Co. and Carmudi Philippines with their venue being hosted by Ayala Land’s Arca South in Taguig City.
The Dealer Talks are supported by Petron Corp. and NLEX Corp.
The Car Awards Group Inc. has members from the following media entities: Business Mirror, Cebu Daily News, Daily Tribune, Malaya Business Insight, Manila Bulletin, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Philippine Star, The Manila Times, Bulgar, Mindanao Daily News, AQ Magazine, Autocar.Ph, C! Magazine, Motorcycle Magazine, Power Wheels Magazine, Top Gear Philippines, 2nerMagazine.com, Iginition.ph, Carmudi Magazine, InterAksyon.com, Kotse.com, ManilaSpeak.com, MotionCars.com, Ride and Drive Phils., Speed by MP Turbo, SprocketPh.com, TessDrive.com, TimeAttackManila.com, DZMM, Inside Motoring on DZRJ 810 AM, Mellow 94.7, Motoring sa DZME, The Motoring Page on Mellow 94.7 FM, ABS-CBN, Auto Review, Speed Magazine and Wheels & Gears Magazine.