Text: Vince Pornelos / Photos: | posted January 03, 2012 23:36
What the Philippines can expect from the New World
Made In America is a phrase that hasn't meant as much to car lovers as it used to in the past. The American car companies have had varying degrees of trouble in the past couple of years with the financial crisis, fuel prices and build quality.
Now, however, they're all bouncing back, releasing one model after another, eager to restore the old luster that their industry once had to offer.
In part 2 of our 3 part series on The Cars of 2012, we take a look at what we can expect from Detroit, whether it be made in Thailand, Korea or proudly Made In America.
In the years after General Motors' bankruptcy woes, Chevrolet has really bounced back, releasing one successful model after another. For 2012, Chevy, after having just celebrated 100 years, is again out to bring the very latest models to showrooms around the world.
One such car is the Chevy Sonic; a subcompact car slated to replace the current model Aveo... a model that hasn't done much to win hearts and minds over to the brand. The new car does not share a single component with the outgoing model, and is powered by a range of new low-displacement engines at around 1.4 liters. Foreign models even include a 1.8 and a 1.4 liter turbo, though we doubt that those versions will be coming here.
It is still unclear as to whether the Aveo name will be dropped locally (we hope so), but with favorable reviews from all over the world, it's looking good for Chevy's new up-and-comer in the b-segment.
Also, Chevrolet will be re-entering the pick up market to compete with the Strada, Navara, Ranger (also to be a new model in 2012), and Hilux with the Colorado. The new truck is currently being produced in Thailand, though we are still uncertain about possible delays because of the recent (and ongoing) Thai floods.
Another possible Chevy for the local
market in 2012 is the all new Chevrolet Malibu. Chevy, even in the
form of the now defunct GM Philippines, was never keen on big sedans,
as evidenced by the Lumina that they brought in before. The Malibu
has a quite a bit of promise, following with the Cruze's new style
statement, and is also to be assembled in Korea. The Malibu gets a
2.5 liter inline-4 engine that is good for 182 horsepower and matched
with a 6-speed automatic transmission.
Another possibility is the Chevrolet Captiva, which has been restyled to meed the new family look of Chevrolet and probably retains the same line of VCDI and gasoline engines.
And then, of course, there are the models
released and unveiled late 2011 like the Traverse and Orlando.
CHRYSLER & DODGE
Chrysler's presence in the Philippines, courtesy of CATS Motors, Inc., is already bringing in the latest generation of their flagship model, the Chrysler 300, to showrooms.
Already the dealerships have reportedly begun to sell the new 300 to customers, though they have yet to formally launch the car. The new Chrysler 300 features a range of improvements with a new design, new features, and a list of new engines including Chrysler's new Pentastar 3.5 liter V6 engine that is capable of 292 horsepower and is matched with an 8-speed automatic. Other variants get a 5.7 liter HEMI V8 while the SRT8 gets a 6.4 liter V8 with 465 horsepower.
For Dodge, they are releasing the 2nd generation of the Charger sedan, and is being headlined by Chrysler's Pentastar V6 (with the 8-speed auto) as well as a new SRT8 version; both with the same outputs as their Chrysler 300 counterparts.
Another Dodge that will be taking its wraps off (internationally) will be the next generation Viper muscle car. Past editions of the Viper were powered by V10 engines able to generate upwards of 600 horsepower from the showroom. The new model will reportedly have even more aggressive styling with similar proportions: long hood, rearward cabin.
Dodge will also be revealing their new compact model, the Dodge Dart, a revival of an old, proud name. Time will tell if the Dart will make it to the Philippines.
The blue oval brand is definitely on the rise in the local market, with sales driven by new model launches including the Fiesta (now the best selling hatchback in the country) and the Explorer. 2012 is also looking very good for Ford, as they will be headlining it with two new models: the all new Ranger and the all new Ford Focus.
We've had to wait a while for the Philippine market Ford Focus, but 2012 is the year that our wait is supposed to end... for the car I mean.
The new 3rd generation Focus is reportedly better on all fronts, with a new range of engines including the new line of EcoBoost (turbo gas direct injection) as well as a (possibly) improved 2 liter TDCI motor. For regular petrol engines, the Focus gets the new Ti-VCT valve timing system. It is also possible that the top of the line models could have the same MyFord Touch system in the Explorer.
The Ranger has only begun to roll off the lines and already has one accolade to its name: the first pick up truck to ever get a 5-star safety rating from Euro NCAP. The new model is larger, wider, more stylish and more efficient than the outgoing model. We assume that both local variants will be diesel, and will come as either the 2.2 liter DuraTORQ or 3.2 liter DuraTORQ engines with 6-speed manual and 6-speed automatics.
The Ranger pick up is currently being manufactured at their plant in Thailand, but again, it is still unclear how much they were affected by the ongoing Thai floods. The launch of the new Ranger is slated for March 2012 in the Philippines.