Text: Vince Pornelos / Photos: Brent Co, Mike Sabarre | posted August 22, 2010 08:44
The green road to the future
The Philippine International Motorshow (PIMS) is in town once again at the World Trade Center, promising all the latest cars in the market as well as other fun things to do under one roof.
For the 3rd iteration of the country's premiere, auto industry-led motorshow, the theme is Drive the Green Road, giving manufacturers a chance to showcase all their green technologies for tomorrow's sustainable mobility.
Upon entering the main hall, there are display areas for the different car manufacturers and auto distributors in the country. Over in the lobby, manufacturers had a technical display of their different eco technologies and engineering concepts implemented in their cars.
Toyota was on hand, launching to the public the new and improved Toyota Corolla Altis. The new Altis receives a fresh new face, new features, and upgraded powerplants. Other production models on sale include the all new Alphard luxury minivan, the refreshed Vios sedan. The Hybrid X concept was at the show, giving an insight at what Toyota has in store for the future while the Prius hybrid is there to show what the company is doing about the environment now.
Korean carmaker Kia, represented by Columbian Autocar Corporation, was up front, showcasing their fresh new range of vehicles, all sporting the new trademark "tiger" front grille. The 5 seat and 7 seat versions of the Sorento were there, along with the funky Soul, sporty Koup, and the small cars of Kia, the Picanto and Rio. The Cadenza was unveiled in a unique way, as it was inside an aquarium, guarded with a pair of Bengal tigers.
Hyundai was on a roll, as Hyundai Asia Resources Inc., the exclusive distributor of the Korean brand, left no stone unturned as they had the new Sonata and the Genesis Coupe on display. The coup de gras for Hyundai was the ix-Metro concept, which is undoubtedly the newest concept car on display at the show. The rest of the Hyundai line up was also there: the top-selling Tucson, Santa Fe as well as the supremely spacious and comfortable Grand Starex Limousine.
Mitsubishi had a great range of cars at their display. The iMiEV plug-in hybrid was there, showcasing Mitsubishi's commitment to sustainable mobility while a Canter Hybrid did the same for the business sector. Along with the iMiEV, the new ASX was launched to the public, offering a new choice in the crossover segment. Dressed up versions of their Montero Sport and Strada pick up attracted a lot of attention, but the stars of their display were undoubtedly the 240hp Lancer EX Ralliart along with its rear wheel drive grand-daddy from 1982, the Lancer Turbo rally car raced in Finland, a piece sent from Mitsubishi's own museum.
The Chevrolet area was certainly enjoying its party mood, thanks to the fun, funky nature of their cars. Under the new Covenant Car Company, Chevrolet was well represented by the new Chevrolet Cruze, the all-new Spark, and the powerful Camaro SS. The company also had the new Suburban SUV on display, and also premiered their new TV commercial for the public.
Unlike previous years, Honda's ASIMO did not make an appearance, but this time Honda brought in their new concept for personal mobility in the U3-X. Supporting it was the rest of the Honda line up with the ever popular Jazz hatchback and City sedan, the refreshed Honda Civic and CR-V.
Suzuki had their entire lineup in tow, with the new SX-4 crossover and the Suzuki Swift. What they also had was the Suzuki Kizashi concept, hinting perhaps at bringing the new production model of it to the Philippines in the coming months.
The Nissan brand had a lot going on, with launches from both Universal Motors Corporation and Nissan Motors Philippines. UMC brought in the new, luxurious Patrol Royale, along with the supremely equipped Murano Z51. NMPI on the other hand, had a trio of new cars on display with the new Sentra 200, the new X-Trail and the premiere of the new Nissan Teana.
PGA Cars, distributors of Audi and Porsche in the Philippines, also had a very premium display. Representing Audi was the new A5 as well as the R8, while Porsche was well represented by the Panamera, the Cayenne, the 911 Turbo and even a 911 GT3 Cup car.
Over on the other size, fellow Germans BMW also had a complete lineup ranging from the big and the small. The sporty new Z4 coupe-convertible was there, along with the X-line in the new X1, X5 and X6. The new 5-series was also there, reestablishing BMW's position in the premium executive market.
CATS Motors, distributor of Mercedes-Benz and Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge had a very special area, with a very varied list of cars. First up was Mercedes-Benz, unveiling the stunning SLS AMG gullwing, wowing the crowds as the covers -and the doors- were opened. The S-Class hybrid was also there, along with a B-Class with handsfree parking. On the other side, there were the likes of the Dodge Charger and Jeep Wrangler to round up the CATS line. The booth also had a Playstation 3D, with a new 3D demo version of Gran Turismo 5 featuring the new SLS AMG.
Isuzu Philippines Corporation was well represented too, with the entire lineup available. The diesel authority made their presence felt with new, better equipped editions of their popular cars: the Sportivo AUV, the stalwart D-MAX pick up and the Alterra SUV.
Volvo, the leader in automotive safety, was again showcasing their latest safety technologies. Along with the lineup, including the new XC60 and renewed C70 convertible, Volvo has launched the all new S60 sedan. Like the XC60, the car that can stop itself if it detects a stopped vehicle ahead in city conditions, the S60 does one better by being able to stop when a pedestrian decides to cross the street unsafely.
Last, but definitely not the least, is Ford. With many changes both here and abroad, Ford has benefitted from a swift recovery from the financial crisis of late, and now seeks to get a stronger place in the market by bringing in the new Ford Fiesta, marking Ford Group Philippines' entry into the subcompact car segment.
Maybe the 3rd Philippine International Motorshow wasn't as groundbreaking as many of us thought it would be. Personally, I still feel that the manufacturers and CAMPI as a whole could have done more to showcase what they have in store for the future, as well as more eco technologies and how they may apply tomorrow. However, it is a step in the right direction, and hopefully the next PIMS would continue the path and, more importantly, pick up the pace.