Text: Vince Pornelos / Photos: Brent Co, Dean Ang, Tim Ramos | posted August 22, 2012 15:14
Asia Pacific and ASEAN reveals drive fun at the 4th PIMS
The Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) recently opened the doors of the World Trade Center exhibition halls for the 2012 and 4th Philippine International motor Show (PIMS) from August 16-19.
Being the country's premiere automotive industry show, the 4th PIMS had many notable vehicles, exhibits and even personalities on hand for showgoers to get up close and personal with. Unlike previous iterations of PIMS where the general theme was to be green and eco-friendly, this year's PIMS showcased CAMPI's direction for more driving excitement, hence the theme: Drive the Fun.
Let's see what they had in store for showgoers.
Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation (MMPC) just made the ASEAN debut of the next generation Mitsubishi Outlander; well ahead of even larger markets like Thailand.
The Outlander comes with a range of new tech for MMC, including an Auto Stop & Go system to save fuel. MMPC is currently working on the pricing of the Outlander for next year.
Along with the Outlander, Mitsubishi gave the market a preview of the upcoming Mirage. The new subcompact hatch marks the brand's resurgence in the passenger car segment, joined by the new Lancer EX 1.6L.
But that wasn't all, as the diamond star had a special treat for rally -particularly Ralliart- fans by displaying the rally winning Galant VR-4 driven by Kenjiro Shinozuka. This particularcar, driver and co-driver combo won the Ivory Coast rally back to back in the early 90's. Powered by a 4G63T, the VR-4 was available for viewing by the public.
Nissan also went full force, with both Nissan Motor Philippines, Inc. (NMPI) and Universal Motors Corporation (UMC) taking up a large space at the show. UMC had the latest variants of the Navara and Patrol on display, as well as the Nissan Juke compact crossover as a preview. UMC plans to make the Juke available soon.
NMPI, on the other hand, had their whole line up on display, including the new Highway Star variants for the X-Trail and Grand Livina. They also previewed the upcoming Almera subcompact sedan that is due for sale early next year; early first quarter, to be exact.
Also on display is the 370Z convertible. It's not for sale, but NMPI did bring in its designer; Fil-Canadian Randy Rodriguez. Randy was also responsible for the designs of several concept cars for both Infiniti and Nissan, including the Evora-based Infiniti Emerge-E.
Honda is back, and they came out with some unique models. Headlining their booth is a pair of cars not available locally (officially, anyway): the Honda Insight and a Mugen-Honda CR-Z... both of which are hybrids.
The Insight features the brand's eco technologies with the Integrated Motor Assist hybrid drive system, and is notable for being the first Honda to have the Eco Assist system not standard for most new models. The Honda CR-Z on display is a sport hatchback hybrid, and comes with a sport bodykit. Both models are still in the preview stages (meaning they're not yet for sale), but if or when hybrid legislation pushes through (which grants manufacturers/importers incentives and tax breaks for hybrid vehicles) then both have a strong chance to go on sale.
Also at the booth is the Mugen version of the Jazz, as well as the new Odyssey, Pilot, City and Civic.
Toyota & Lexus
The Toyota Motor Philippines group, led by Michinobu Sugata, and Lexus Manila Inc. led by Danny Isla, made sure everything was out at their booths; which, incidentally, was back to back with each other.
At the Toyota side were the TRD versions of their models like the Vios and Fortuner, as well as the Innova. Joining these cars were a duo of 86 sport coupes with TRD aero kits and sporty wings. At the Lexus side was the entire Lexus line up, including the LFA supercar.
Both Sugata-san and Mr. Isla made presentations of their cars, and was capped off by dual performances by Martin Nievera and Gary Valenciano.
If there's one brand that's perfect for this year's theme, it's BMW. The brand of pure driving pleasure and joy had their convertibles and coupes on display, including the new Z4, 6-series, among others.
On the other side of their booth is a trio of models sporting M-Division upgrades, with the new M Performance 3-series, 1-series and 5-series. Joining the cars is a complete line of BMW apparel and M parts.
As a finishing touch to their booth, they had a mini theater upstairs where they played a specially commissioned video showing the 1-series coupe and 320d going all out on the track.
Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge
CATS Motors holds the distinction of having two separate booths for the many brands they distribute. Firstly, they held the unveiling of the all new Mercedes-Benz M-Class as well as the rest of the M-B line for the general public. Also in attendance is the G-Class, E-Class and the GL-class.
Over at the Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge end of things, CATS Motors had the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee, the Chrysler 300C, as well as the Asia-Pacific debut of the Dodge Charger Redline Concept. PIMS marked the first time the supercharged Charger was shown in the region.
Isuzu Philippines Corporation launched the 2013 variants of the Alterra, D-Max and Crosswind. The new models have new features and exterior touches, though the displayed models had accessories with the new D-Max Boondock edition sporting an ATV and a bed extension.
Suzuki had their complete line at the show grounds. The notable models at their booth include the Alto K10, APV, Swift and Celerio. Along with those models, Suzuki also had the all new Kizashi on display for the public, competing in the executive car class. Suzuki Philippines also had the Suzuki S-Concept, a 3-door and more aggressively designed version of the Swift.
If there is a brand that can be the star of the show, it's Kia. Their presentation included the currently-on-sale cars like the Sportage and Rio, among others. Kia's booth was really headlined by the launch of the all new Kia Optima. The new model comes with many features and Kia's distinct and aggressive styling, and is joined at the show by the 2013 facelift of the Kia Sorento SUV.
There was another star at the Kia booth, and it comes in the form of the Kia Quoris, which makes its ASEAN debut. Called the 'K9' in Korea, the Quoris is the brand's rear-wheel drive luxury sedan, positioning itself above the Optima. The Kia Quoris will only be available on indent-order basis.
A Tribute to Automotive Designers
A special tribute was given to automotive designers who influenced the design of some of the cars that were displayed at the 4th Philippine International Motor Show. Two of them were Filipino, Wilfredo Camacho from Mercedes-Benz, who was responsible for the exterior design of the current generation Mercedes-Benz E-Class; and Randy Rodriguez from Nissan, who designed the Nissan 370Z.
The opening of the 4th PIMS was graced by Department of Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez and U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas. Philippine Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon was also present to receive a check for PhP 500,000 for flood relief operations donated by CAMPI.