Text: Marcus De Guzman / Photos: Various | posted January 14, 2015 11:57
What 2015 has in store for the automotive industry
If you thought 2014 was busy with the sheer number of new cars and brands available in the Philippines, 2015 is looking to be even busier. By now, there are already some upcoming models causing some buzz like the rugged Ford Everest and the new SkyActiv-powered Mazda2, both of which were previewed at the 2014 Thailand Motor Expo.
Below are some of the details regarding the upcoming Everest and Mazda2, but based on our calculations there is so much more in store for 2015. Cars, trucks, SUVs, and even two new auto brands are all set to arrive and become players in the Philippine auto industry.
2015 Audi TT
The TT is a model that needs little in the way of introduction; a concept car that was made into a production model with very little in the way of changes. The first generation TT quickly became a popular and hot selling sports coupe and convertible for the Audi brand and was followed in 2007 by a 2nd generation model.
Now on it's 3rd generation, the TT may also be arriving at Audi PH dealers sometime mid 2015 and will compete against models such as the BMW Z4, the Mini Coupe and Roadster, the Mercedes SLK, among others.
Design-wise, both the Coupe and Roadster versions share an identical look with the large hexagonal grill, matrix-LED headlights and a shapely rear end. Like its predecessors, the new TT utilizes the brand's Audi Space Frame (ASF); the front section of the car is made up of ultra-high strength steel while the cabin floor, cabin frame and outer skin is semi-finished in aluminum.
The 2015 TT can come with a 184 PS 2.0L TDI diesel, a 230 PS 2.0L TFSI gasoline engine or even a 310 PS version of the 2.0L TFSI in the TTS.
2015 Audi Q7
First introduced back in 2006, the Audi Q7 was actually the last of the large luxury SUVs to be introduced by a German automaker as other companies like BMW, Porsche and Mercedes were already selling the X5, Cayenne and M Class. Now Audi has a new generation Q7, and it's slated to arrive sometime this year.
The second generation Audi Q7 has been made lighter and roomier despite having a more compact exterior. Only weighing 1,995 kg with a 3.0-liter TDI engine, it is the lightest in its class according to Audi since its body is mostly made up from a mix of high-strength steel and aluminum body panels.
As it is now roomier, a 27mm increase in legroom was made between the first and second row seats, along with a higher headroom, 41mm at the front and 23mm on the second row.
Designed as a full-size luxury SUV, its 'soft-roader' profile is one of its aces in the segment since most of its rivals are geared for on-road performance.
2015 Ford Everest
The industry is running abuzz with the imminent arrival of the new generation Ford Everest, and why not? This is a market that receives SUVs, especially seven seat pick-up based SUVs, such as the Everest, Fortuner, mu-X, Montero Sport and more.
The previous generations of the Ford Everest had a boxy design and resembled its pickup relative, the Ranger, almost entirely apart from the lack of a flatbed. The soon-to-be released 3rd generation is a far cry from its predecessors as Ford gave it a full redesign from the ground up.
The new Ford Everest will be powered by improved versions of the 2.2-liter and 3.2-liter diesel engines though Ford has yet to state the updated output ratings. Fans of the Ecoboost powertrain will be delighted to know that Ford has announced that the new Everest can be equipped with a 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine though it is unclear whether our market will get that.
With its roguishly-designed exterior and possible availability of a EcoBoost engine in the Philippines, the Ford Everest will cause quite a stir in the SUV segment when it arrives as it will compete with the likes of the Toyota Fortuner, Isuzu mu-X, Mitsubishi Montero Sport and Chevrolet Traiblazer.
2015 Ford Mustang
It has been 50 years since Ford's 'pony car', the Mustang, made its debut and today it is still one of the most iconic and renowned automobiles in history.
Now on its 6th generation, the 2015 Mustang comes with a redone exterior design, a new 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine which may be subject to much debate, a new independent rear suspension and an aircraft-inspired cockpit. The new features and styling were done to the car as Ford stated that it won't be catering to American taste alone.
Besides the additional EcoBoost engine that packs 314 PS and 434 Nm of torque, the car can still be availed with the 5.0-liter Coyote V8 under the GT trim model where it now produces 441 PS and 542 Nm of torque. An 'EcoBoosted” Mustang may look and sound sacrilegious, but do remember that the 3rd generation Mustang of the 80s did have a turbocharged inline-four.
Ford has previewed the 50th Anniversary Mustang, though standard local units have yet to go on sale.
2015 Honda HR-V
Yes, you read that right. Our sources indicate that the HR-V, known as the Vezel in Japan, has a very high probability for a Philippine market arrival this year.
Technically the 2015 HR-V will be the second generation of the nameplate, though the new generation model shares nothing more than a name with its predecessor. Now based on the underpinnings of the Honda Fit/Jazz, the 2015 HR-V is Honda's attempt in the subcompact crossover segment and may rival other competitors such as the Ford EcoSport.
Designed with the company's 'Solid Wing Face' in mind, the overall look of the car is highlighted by sharp lines and aggressive styling. A nice feature on the 2015 Honda HR-V is the rear door handles that have been integrated onto the side windows, giving the crossover a two-door coupe profile.
As powertrain is concerned, international examples come powered by a 1.8-liter inline-four SOHC i-VTEC engine that cranks out 143 PS at 6500 rpm with 172 Nm of torque at 4300 rpm and is mated to a Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT). Details regarding local powertrain options are not clear yet.
2015 Jaguar XE
Jaguar's latest automobile, the XE, is the British automaker's entry into the compact luxury segment and moves away from the Ford-derived platforms that were used back on the XF and X-Type.
Incorporating a lightweight construction along with an aggressively styled exterior, the 2015 Jaguar XE has the lowest drag coefficient according to the British automaker.
Outside, it has short overhangs and a dynamic stance thanks to the car's new modular vehicle architecture. Up front it has a sculpted hood and an oval shaped grill. At the rear it has a E-Type inspired taillight while the rear quarters were inspired from the F-Type.
Under the hood of the XE is a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 that is capable of producing 340 PS with 450 Nm of torque and is mated to a 8-speed automatic gearbox.
2015 Kia Carnival
First revealed during the 2014 New York International Auto Show, Kia's next-generation Carnival may also hit the Philippine market sometime this year.
Besides using the signature tiger nose grill for the 2015 model, the new Carnival also uses the brand's current design language, particularly on the van's headlight and taillight design. The width and height of the new Carnival remains the same but it now measures 41mm longer than its predecessor and has shorter overhangs.
It has an array of seating configurations and also has 'Slide-n-Stow' second row seats which can lie flat, making it easier to store goods.
With the current generation Carnival getting a bit old, the latest generation of Kia's minivan is something to be welcomed if it ever arrives here, especially with a 3.3-liter GDI Lamdba V6 that Kia showed during the New York Auto Show.
As a relative of the Ford Fiesta (as both cars share the same platform and can be had in either hatchback or sedan body stylings,), the previous Mazda2 proved to be quite a competitor in the subcompact segment. This all-new Mazda2, however, breaks away from their connections with Ford completely; representing latest iteration of Mazda's new dawn as an independent automaker.
The next-generation Mazda2 will get the Kodo treatment for 2015. Looking a lot like the Hazumi concept that the company first showed during the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, it has the brand's distinctive grill and sleek headlights and taillights. Much like the previous generation, a sedan version may also be available; resembling a scaled-down version of its larger siblings, the Mazda3 and the Mazda6.
One of the car's key features is one of its engine which is a 1.5-liter clean diesel SkyActiv-D engine which produces 105 PS with 220 Nm of torque which according to Mazda, can deliver performance equivalent to 2.5-liter gasoline engines. However it is unlikely that Mazda PH will offer the SkyActiv-D version of the Mazda2 in the Philippines, so expect it to arrive with the 89 PS 1.3L or the 113 PS 1.5L.
The upcoming Mazda2 will compete against the Ford Fiesta, Toyota Vios, Mitsubishi Mirage, Kia Rio, Hyundai Accent and more.
2015 Mercedes-Benz GLE
The M Class or GLE, as it is called now by the company, is Mercedes-Benz's road-going/performance oriented SUV that stands opposite to the brand's more rugged yet luxurious G-Class. For this year, Mercedes-Benz introduces a new crossover that may rival BMW's X6.
Originally to be called the ML Coupe, all future M class vehicles from Mercedes-Benz have now been designated to GLE after the German automaker overhauled its automotive nomenclature for 2015.
Designed by the company to have the properties of a robust SUV and a sporty coupe, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLE is the German automaker's entry onto the crossover segment and features a sleek exterior design, a nicely trimmed interior and various powertrain options.
Diesel and gasoline-powered engines are available in the GLE, as well as two AMG models, the GLE 450 AMG and the latest addition, the GLE 63 AMG S. There are no reports from Mercedes-Benz PH on what GLE models will be available locally.
2015 Mitsubishi Strada
The future face and design of the upcoming Mitsubishi Montero Sport may have been partially revealed as the Japanese automaker debuted the 2015 Triton/Strada last November 2014 in Thailand.
The 2015 Mitsubishi Triton/Strada was developed by the company to have a comfortable interior of a car and at the same time, the performance and reliability of a pickup. It has design cues from the GR-HEV concept and will be available with various engines. Like most pickups, it can be had in Single, Double or Club Cab body styling.
Details regarding engines are still sketchy, though updated versions of the previous models (similar to the Thai model) are expected, producing 178 PS and 400 Nm of torque.
With Ford readying a facelifted Ranger and Toyota and Nissan bringing in a new generation of their own pickups, the Triton/Strada's car-like ride quality may still be its ace against the competition.
2015 Nissan Navara NP300
While most pickups are built for utilitarian purposes, Nissan decided to change some things about the Navara and decided to make it more as a lifestyle truck that can still haul goods along with 5 people in comfort.
It is the first one-tonne pickup that has coil springs all around and will be available in the Philippines in 7 variants at the end of Q1 of 2015. Since it has coil springs on all corners, the rear axle is held by a five-link suspension system instead of the traditional leaf springs. NPI decided to use the multi-link suspension system for the 2015 Navara NP300 in view that most buyers in the Philippines are lifestyle owners that want a pickup with better ride quality.
All variants will be powered by the new YD25DDTi 2.5-liter turbo diesel engine that is available in either Mid (163 PS) or High (190 PS) versions and can be mated to a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed automatic transmission.
With the pickup segment is currently dominated by the Ford Ranger and the Toyota Hilux, a more creature-friendly pickup like the Navara may shake up the segment as some variants of the Navara may come with rear A/C vents, floor-mounted rear cup-holders and an umbrella holder.
2015 Subaru Legacy
Subaru's enduring midsize sedan may also be sold in our market sometime around 2015.
Design-wise, it now shares some resemblance to the current generation Impreza/WRX body styling with its sleek headlights, distinct beltline and rectangular taillights. Compared to is predecessor, it is now 66mm longer and 60mm wider though it still sits on a 2750mm wheelbase. The larger cabin space was due to the use of a larger body, which allowed better legroom and nearly 10 liters of additional trunk space at 424.8 liters.
No exact powertrain specifications have been confirmed for the Philippines but when it was globally revealed during the 2014 Chicago Auto Show, the Japanese automaker stated that it can be equipped with either a 2.5-liter FB-series flat-four engine that outputs 177 PS with 236 Nm of torque, or a 3.6-liter flat-six engine that produces 260 PS and 335 Nm of torque.
2015 Subaru Outback
For those that want the comfort of a midsize sedan but like prefer a crossover, the 2015 Subaru Outback may be the solution for you if Subaru decides to bring it here.
Designed with the underpinnings of its midsize sedan counterpart, the 6th generation Outback now features a rugged body design which is comprised of a hexagonal grill, an aggressively-designed bumper and wide fenders. The Japanese automaker also stated that it has better airflow than the outgoing generation which makes for better fuel consumption.
US and Thai models can be equipped with either the 2.5-liter engine that cranks out 177 PS with 236 Nm of torque or the larger 3.6-liter unit that produces 260 PS and 345 Nm of torque, 10 Nm more than the Legacy engine. No confirmed specification for the Philippines.
2015 Toyota Camry (Updated)
The Camry gets subtle updates which include a restyled headlight design with LED DRLs, a sharper grill, a thinner chrome trim for the trunk lid and revised reflectors on the rear bumper.
Inside, the updated Camry has a 3-spoke steering wheel, an updated center console and instrument cluster. The Philippines and other ASEAN countries will presumably get the carried-over engines.
2015 Toyota Alphard
There are no details yet about the upcoming Alphard, but according to our sources, Toyota Motors Philippines will be unveiling the new Alphard very soon.
Pictured above is the Toyota Alphard that the company is currently offering in Hong Kong. No official details are available if it will be the same one that will be offered locally.
2015 Toyota Hilux
After more than a decade of facelifts and updates, Toyota will reveal the latest-generation of their Hilux pickup this year, with a local launch supposedly late in the year.
No official photos have surfaced yet but certain spy photos of the 2015 Hilux shows that it has a restyled front-end that shows the brand's current design language. No engines or powertrain specifics have been stated by the Japanese automaker as well.
The look of the outgoing Hilux and Fortuner may have been freshened up from time to time, but with other competitors offering redesigned exteriors with/or new tech, Toyota's timing of showing the next-generation Hilux may come in handy for 2015.
The next-generation Volvo XC90 is scheduled arrive in the Philippines sometime this year. The new XC90 is the first vehicle to utilize the Swedish carmaker's Scalable Product Architechture that gives it better rigidity and energy absorption, along with easy installation of technologies like safety and infotainment features.
Even though it still has a boxy design, the 2015 Volvo XC90 now looks sleeker, especially with its T-shaped LED DRLs dubbed by the company as 'Thor's Hammer'.
No exact powertrain specifications have been detailed by Volvo PH, but international variants are fitted with Drive-E diesel and gasoline engines. The 2015 XC90 also has a hybrid variant that outputs more than 400 PS though it is still unclear whether it will be offered locally.
2015 Volkswagen Passat
Volkswagen Philippines is looking to complete their line up with a range of new models in 2015. While they are working to introduce models like the Golf GTI and other updates, the Passat's upcoming launch in 2015 will be the one to look out for.
Volkswagen's Passat is their long selling family midsize car; the name was first released back in 1973. The Passat may be a family car, though its overall appearance may also cater to the executive types, particularly with regards to this 8th generation model.
The 2015 Passat has been made lighter and shorter, apart from the wheelbase which has been increased by 79mm for better interior space and legroom. International examples of the Passat include sedans and wagons, though it is expected that local examples will primarily be 4-door saloons.
Though there are hybrid versions in other markets, a 2.0L turbodiesel powertrain is most likely for the 2015 Passat.
NEW PLAYERS TO ARRIVE IN THE MARKET
Aston Martin Manila
Yes, one of Britain's most luxurious automakers will set up shop in the Philippines sometime around Q1 of 2015. Aston Martin Manila was made possible after two partners from two different families in the Philippine automotive industry struck a partnership; Marc Tagle, the president of Bridgestone Philippines under the Tagle Group, and Marc Soong, the Managing Director of the corporate entities that import Jaguar, Land Rover and Ferrari to the Philippines. The entire lineup of Aston Martin vehicles will be offered in the future such as the DB9, the V12 Vantage and the Vanquish.
Indian auto giant Mahindra & Mahindra, is also set to expand its operations in the Philippines after the company signed an agreement with the Alvarez Group, one of the country's largest multi-brand automotive ccompanies. In the future, Mahindra stated that the first vehicle that will be offered by the company is the Xylo, the automaker's multi-utility vehicle. It has distinctive headlights, a contoured bumper and a wide grill. It is capable of seating 8 persons and has a third row 60:40 seating configuration. Powering the Xylo is the mHawk engine that is capable of producing 120 PS and 280 Nm of torque. It will be the second Indian automaker in the Philippines after Tata Motors.
Lotus Cars Manila
As we reported earlier, the Autohub Group has secured the rights to sell Lotus cars in the Philippines, making it the group's third British automotive marque after Mini and Rolls-Royce. According to Mr. Willy Tee Ten, Autohub is targeting to commence operations by July 2015, and they could offer the full line up of Lotus cars that includes the Elise, Exige, Evora and other upcoming models that will bear the Lotus name.
NOTE: This article makes forward-looking statements based on market data and various inside sources. Details, dates and other information may or may not change at the distributor's/manufacturer's discretion.