A banner year for the Philippine auto industry
As 2015 comes to a close, we reflect on the very successful year for the Philippine automotive industry. The year 2015 was a banner year for the local auto industry. Sales figures from the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines (CAMPI), Association of Vehicles Importers and Distributors (AVID) and The Truck Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (TMAP) are expected to exceed the 310,000-unit target they set last year and may even surpass the 320,000-mark by the end of the year.
According to CAMPI president, lawyer Rommel Gutierrez, their industry target-growth for 2016 is set at 10 percent and they envision to sell in excess of 350,000 units.
Sport utility vehicles (SUVs) dominated the sales charts across all brands in 2015, followed by small cars, which is gaining popularity among Filipino car buyers.
For 2016, the Philippine motoring industry promises to be more exciting as manufacturers are expected to introduce even more new models in response to the ever-growing massive transportation requirements, especially outside Metropolitan Manila (National Capital Region).
Besides the phenomenal sales figures, 2015 was marked with countless new variant launches and a few model upgrades.
Rounding off the year, Fast Times looked back at the year that was 2015, and some of its biggest motoring stories:
MITSUBISHI INAUGURATES LAGUNA PLANT – Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation (MMPC) formally inaugurated its new production plant in Santa Rosa, Laguna on January 29, 2015 with officials from Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC Japan) and Philippine President Benigno Aquino 3rd in attendance.
TOYOTA INTRODUCES ALL-NEW ALPHARD, UPDATED PRIUS – Toyota Motors Philippines Corporation (TMP) introduced the all-new Alphard and the updated Prius-C on January 30, 2015. The unveiling took place during the annual Media Thanksgiving Party held at the Blue Leaf, McKinley Hill in Taguig.
The all-new van boasts of a well-founded presence with a comfortable ride, exceptional handling stability, a roomy interior and exterior design cues that emphasize luxury. The all-new Alphard is priced at P 3.292 million.
FAST TIMES BAGS HENRY FORD AWARD FOR BEST BROADSHEET MOTORING SECTION – Fast Times bagged the “Best Broadsheet Motoring Section” award during the 14th season of the Henry Ford Awards (HFA). The HFA is the country’s most prestigious journalism award-giving body that recognizes the best multimedia work of journalists that helped drive and shape the automotive industry.
Fast Times was adjudged as the “Best Broadsheet Motoring Section” for its “content, relevance, consistency and layout quality.”
VW PHILIPPINES LAUNCHES GOLF GTI – Automobile Central Enterprise Inc. , the official and exclusive distributor of Volkswagen automobiles in the Philippines, launched the all-new Volkswagen Golf GTI to the market, marking the arrival of the VW brand’s iconic hot hatch.
The 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI is already on its seventh generation model and represents 39 years of experience and improvement in the hot hatchback segment. The GTI is the top spec version of VW’s signature hatchback, and gets many exterior upgrades to signify its sporting status such as the aggressive front bumper, large 18-inch wheels and other details.
NISSAN PHILIPPINES LAUNCHES NP300 NAVARA – In a grand event at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila, Nissan Philippines Inc. (NPI) launched their latest generation pick-up in the 2015 Nissan NP300 Navara, a model that represents 80 years of trucking heritage for the brand. The third-generation NP300 Navara is a complete redesign over its predecessor, as it features an all new design with an upscale look as highlighted by the large chrome V-motion grille, the high tech headlamps with LED projectors, masculine design elements such as the character lines, fender flares and stance, among others.
ISUZU REOPENS TYPHOON-RAVAGED TECHNICAL SCHOOL IN LEYTE – Isuzu scholars who were displaced by devastation brought about by super typhoon Yolanda back in November 2014, trooped back to Tacloban City in February after Isuzu Motors Limited (IML) finally completed rebuilding the facility where they train deserving youth from the provinces to become certified auto mechanics.
After 15 months, the Isuzu-TESDA Auto Mechanic Training Center was reopened last February with the 67 trainees returning to the facility to continue, where they left off, in attaining their sought after education. TESDA is the government-operated Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
In a ceremony headed by Yoshinori Ida, IML senior counselor, the Isuzu–TESDA Auto Mechanic Training Center in Tacloban reopened its doors on February 16 to all the trainees who went home after Yolanda caused extensive damage to its facilities.
MITSUBISHI UNVEILS FIFTH-GEN STRADA – The fifth-generation Mitsubishi Strada is finally available in the country with MMPC offering six all-new variants. The all-new Strada was formally launched in March at the grand ballroom of the City of Dreams in Paranaque City.
The Philippines is the second country to release the fifth-generation Strada, since its grand launch in Thailand in 2014. Following the Philippines, the Strada was also introduced in Southeast Asian, Oceania, Middle East, Europe, Africa and Latin America.
NISSAN PH OFFICIALLY LAUNCHES NISSAN GT ACADEMY – NPI officially began its search for the best Filipino racecar driver with the launch of the Nissan Gran Tursimo (GT) Academy during ceremonies held at the Glorietta Mall in Makati City.
The Nissan GT Academy gained prominence after its inception in 2008, with a big number of Gran Turismo virtual racers turned into professional racecar drivers.
The GT Academy, which is now on its seventh year, is a globally played competition. The Philippines GT Academy is an expansion of the GT Academy Asia, in which Filipino competitors will be pitted against virtual racers from other Asian countries, including Japan.
HONDA OFFICIALLY LAUNCHES THE ALL-NEW ODYSSEY – Honda Cars Philippines Inc. (HCPI) launched the all-new 2015 Honda Odyssey at One Esplanade in Pasay City. The new-generation Odyssey is the Asian version of the nameplate and replaces the larger US-sourced Odyssey minivan that was sold in the Philippines since 2012. The 2015 Honda Odyssey derives its look from the “Solid Streamline” design concept of Honda and seeks to achieve an “elegant and dynamically proportioned” look through the use of an ultra-low platform (for easier ingress/egress) that generates plenty of cabin space. As such, the exterior of the 2015 Odyssey makes use of advanced details like the LED projector headlamps, LED daytime running lights and LED taillights.
MIAS CELEBRATES 11th YEAR – THE Manila International Auto Show (MIAS) celebrated its 11th year of staging world-class auto exhibitions. Held at the World Trade Center in Pasay City, the MIAS welcomed more than 110,000 visitors during its April 9 to 12 four-day weekend show.
In 2014, MIAS registered over 102,000 visitors and despite the extremely hot summer heat, the show this year generated an 8.0-percent rise in visitor traffic.
FORD MUSTANG ARRIVES IN THE PHILIPPINES – The all-new Ford Mustang finally galloped into Manila in April, eight months after it entered production at the Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan. The sixth-generation Mustang comes loaded with innovative technologies that delivers world-class levels of power, performance and style for a more controlled, connected and comfortable driving experience.
HYUNDAI INAUGURATES GREEN LOGISTICS CENTER – Hyundai Asia Resources Incorporated (HARI), the official distributor of Hyundai vehicles in the country, inaugurated in April a new, state-of-the-art facility that promises to change the landscape of automotive industry property development in the Philippines. Located in Calamba City in Laguna, the Hyundai Logistics Center (HLC) was built to answer the call for sustainable development, paves the way for an eco-friendly work environment, upholds the well-being of employees, and catalyzes growth in both the automotive and property development sectors.
TOYOTA PH SELLS ONE MILLIONTH UNIT – TMP has sold more than one million vehicles since it started operations in the country in 1989. Based on the most recent CAMPI report, TMP as of April recorded 1,000,468 units sold since 1989. The well-loved Toyota Tamaraw FX, Revo and Innova tallied combined sales of 268,065; and the highly-popular Corolla and Vios contributed 213,325 and 157,347, respectively to TMP’s one-million sales landmark that was attained in less than three decades.
FORD UPS THE ANTE WITH ALL-NEW EVEREST – Ford upped the ante in the SUV wars with the introduction of the all-new Ford Everest with first-in-class features, advanced technologies and innovative on-road and off-road capabilities. Barely two months since its global launch in Thailand, the all-new Ford Everest is now being offered in all Ford dealerships across the Philippines.
NISSAN PH LAUNCHES ALL-NEW URVAN – NPI launched the latest generation of the Urvan, which is now battling the Hi-Ace of TMP.
The all-new Nissan NV350 Urvan is the fifth iteration of the brand’s popular van that was first assembled in 1973 in Japan. The latest generation of the Urvan marketed in the Philippines is assembled at Nissan’s Kyushu plant in Japan.
TOYOTA UNVEILS ALL-NEW Hilux – If there is one pick-up in the local market that can boast of being very tough, it is the Toyota Hilux. Starting out as a small pickup in the 1972, it evolved into a pick-up known for its toughness not only in the Philippines but in areas where conflict is a common occurrence. Because of its reputation for toughness in the Philippines, Toyota sold 56,417 units over a period of 22 years. And on July, TMP unveiled the all-new Hilux that it said is still “every inch a Hilux” and given a number of refinements. Toyota unveiled the all-new pickup truck at the lahar-laden rivers in Pampanga where it’s full potential was tried and tested.
MAHINDRA REOPENS IN MANILA – Mahindra, India’s best-selling utility vehicle brand, made its official revival in the Philippines in July with the brand re-launch held at the EDSA Shangri-la Hotel in Mandaluyong City.
The leading Indian brand will be distributed in the country by Asianbrands Motor Corporation (AMC), a new firm under automotive giant Columbian Group of Companies (CGC).
MAZDA PRESENTS SEDAN AND WAGON VARIANTS OF MAZDA 6 – Mazda Philippines has finally made the Mazda6 Sports Wagon available in the country with the official launch held last June 30.
Mazda’s Sports Wagon oozes not only with beauty and sophistication but with the latest technologies as well. Outside, the Mazda 6 Sports Wagon’s design evolved with a new grill and wing-shaped light signature for a brawnier, more chiseled look. Its prominent fenders and low rear-leaning coupé-style cabin gives the car a very solid stance and completes its uniquely beautiful body lines. Full LED lighting complements the Mazda 6’s sharper-looking front, while the sides are accentuated by the darkened high-luster coating of the 19-inch aluminum wheels.
MAZDA BRINGS ALL-NEW MX-5 TO PH – The fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 has landed in the Philippines bringing the latest of the brand’s philosophies and technologies, as well as the old-school orientation of the first generation roadster that is also known as the Miata. Hosted by Berjaya Auto Philippines (BAP), the launching of the latest-generation MX-5 in August at the Green Sun Hotel in Makati City also marked its debut in Southeast Asia.
HYUNDAI PRESENTS ALL-NEW TUCSON – Riding on the success of the Hyundai Tucson in the Asia-Pacific region where more than half a million units have been sold, Hyundai Motors unveiled the all-new Tucson in Southeast Asia with a ride and drive event in the Philippines with international motoring journalists in attendance.
Organized by HARI, the official distributor of Hyundai vehicles in the country, the four-day ride and drive event (dubbed as All-new Tucson: Tu-Tough; Tu-Sexy) had the journalists drive 20 all-new Tucsons along the scenic provincial roads of Panay island, with the drive commencing from Roxas City and ending at the Caticlan port in Malay, Aklan.
LOTUS ARRIVES IN MANILA – Lotus, the iconic British sports car brand known for its sexy and fast cars, has landed in the Philippines to give the established sports car brands in the country a real run for the money.
Inaugurated in August with the presence of Sen. Jude Estrada, an avid car enthusiast, and his mother, Mayor Guia Gomez of San Juan, was the Lotus showroom near the Greenhills Shopping Center in San Juan City. The Lotus brand is part of the Autohub Group that has under its wings prestigious British brands like Rolls Royce and Mini. The initial Lotus line-up includes the Elise S Club Racer, the Elise S 220 Cup, the Exige S Roadster and the Evora S Sport Racer.
SUZUKI LAUNCHES ALL-NEW CELERIO – Suzuki Philippines launched its all-new Celerio at The Bellevue Hotel in Muntinlupa City in August, calling it the “Extra Large Small Car.”
The all-new Celerio is 100-millimeters longer, has a 5-millimeter ground clearance, and a 65-millimeter longer wheelbase compared to the previous generation. The width of the car stays the same, but has 15 millimeter wider front tread and 10 millimeter wider rear tread. The front overhang has been removed, adding 70 millimeters to the headroom. The differences make for a larger boot (trunk) space of 254 liters, following Suzuki’s A+ design concept with “small on the outside, big on the inside” principle.
Volvo XC90 showcases brand’s future – Scandinavian Motors Corporation, the official distributor of Volvo cars in the Philippines, unveiled in September the XC90 SUV that showcases the direction of the brand’s product development. The XC90 is part of an $11-billion investment program that also marks the beginning of a new chapter in Volvo’s history by capturing its future design direction, incorporating its own range of new technologies and utilizing its new Scalable Product Architecture technology. It is also the first Volvo to carry the company’s new and more prominent iron mark that has the iconic arrow elegantly aligned with the diagonal slash across the grille. Together with the T-shaped “Thor’s Hammer” DRL lights, the iron mark will give the forthcoming generation of Volvo cars a very distinctive and dynamic look.
ASTON MARTIN LANDS IN MANILA – Aston Martin, United Kingdom’s most iconic auto brand, opened shop in Manila in September to provide Filipino car aficionados easier access to the much-aspired British luxury sports car brand.
VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT MADE AVAILABLE TO PH – The 2015 European Car of the Year, the Volkswagen Passat, set foot on Philippine soil on September and is expected to dominate the luxury mid-sized segment and reinforce Volkswagen’s stature as the top-of-mind premium brand in the country. Now on its eighth generation, Volkswagen Philippines is bringing the model to the country, confident that this luxury mid-sized sedan will dominate its segment in the Philippine market, and as such bolster Volkswagen’s stature as a premium brand.
REFRESHED LAND CRUISER UNVEILED – Toyota Motors Philippines took the covers off an updated version of its iconic SUV, the Land Cruiser. The unveiling of the new LC200 took place on October 22 at the Society Lounge in Makati City. The Land Cruiser comes in two variants: the standard LC200 and the LC200 Premium, which replaces the Full Option variant in the older model.
ISUZU PROVIDES BIGGER POWER-PLANT FOR MU-X AND D-MAX – Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC) finally introduced the more advanced and much powerful 3.0 VGS Turbo engine for the D-MAX and mu-X models in response to demands of their power-driven customers. The new engine will now be offered on top of its existing D-MAX and mu-X variants powered by the 2.5-liter engine.
JAGUAR UNVEILS ITS MOST ADVANCED SPORTS SALOON IN THE XE – Jaguar calls its newly-unveiled XE as “The most advanced, efficient and refined sports saloon” it has ever developed and produced. And that boast is not an empty one. Launched in the Philippines on October 22, 2015 during an event held at the Palace Pool Club at the Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City, the XE is set to make its presence felt in the competitive four-door sport sedan segment where luxury marques like BMW, Mercedes Benz, Audi and Lexus have been slugging it out. The XE’s aluminum density is at 75 percent that is delivered through a monocoque or single-shell architecture, the first in the compact executive car segment to be built in this manner.
LEXUS LAUNCHES ALL-NEW RX CROSSOVER, LX SUV – Lexus Manila launched on November 12 the new-generation RX crossover and the face-lifted LX full-sized sport utility vehicle (SUV) at its showroom in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, a move that will help the brand establish a stronger foothold in the country.
NISSAN ADDS ENTRY-LEVEL VARIANT TO LINE-UP NPI launched on November 16 the updated version of its Almera subcompact sedan at Nissan Pasong Tamo in Makati City. Changes were mostly to the exterior. Up front, the Almera has a larger grill, a reshaped front bumper and new headlights. At the back, the restyled rear bumper now has black, diffuser-style lower cladding.
NEW PRESIDENT AT FORD PH Lance Mosley took the helm at Ford Philippines following his official appointment by Ford Motor Company.In his new role, Mosley will be responsible for leading Ford’s successful business in the Philippines, which has resulted in record sales in 2015. Mosley will also drive the company’s dealer network expansion plan and customer service experience. He will report to Mark Kaufman, Ford Asean president.
AUDI PH LAUNCHES ALL-NEW Q7 – PGA Cars Inc., the official distributor of Audi in the Philippines, launched on Thursday the second-generation of its flagship, seven-seat SUV, the Q7, at the Audi EDSA showroom in Mandaluyong City.
THE NEW NISSAN PATROL ROYALE – NPI is reintroducing an even more capable, more luxurious and more dynamic Nissan Patrol Royale, giving the market more reasons to rediscover prestige with the brand—all these at a much affordable price. The new Nissan Patrol Royale features a sophisticated exterior that showcases the perfect combination of power and luxury in one vehicle. A sleek yet muscular chassis emphasizes the vehicle’s commanding road presence, while still retaining Nissan’s signature design elements.
HYUNDAI PRESENTS ALL-NEW ELANTRA – Hyundai PH presented the newest variant of the largest automotive brand from South Korea, the all-new Elantra. Named “Avante” in South Korea, the sixth-generation Elantra looks to build on its established heritage in the Philippine compact sedan segment.