MotorImage Pilipinas recently bagged its second straight P-COTY with the awarding of the Subaru Legacy 2.5GT sedan as 2009 Philippine Car of the Year, held at Taboo Bar at Ortigas Home Depot in Pasig City. This marks the second straight Subaru lauded as P-COTY, as the the Subaru Impreza WRX STi was deemed as 2008 Philippine Car of the Year by the Car Awards Group Inc. (CAGI), a non-stock and non-profit organization composed of motoring journalists from different publications, radio and TV shows and non-traditional media.
Both wins by the Pleiades (Subaru in Japanese) are the second time that a Japanese automaker twice bagged the award. Honda Cars Philippines Inc. won in 2004 (for the Honda Accord 3.0L V6, during the inaugural P-COTY Awards) and in 2006 (for the Honda Civic 2.0L). Also, the win by the Subaru Legacy 2.5GT sedan was the third time a midsize sedan won the citation, with the aforementioned Honda Accord 3.0L V6 and the Mazda 6 2.3L V6 (in 2005) also getting the award. Lastly, the 2009 P-COTY win solidified Japanese car companies' hold on the award, with manufacturers from the Rising Sun winning five times (2004, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009). Only one non-Nipponlandia vehicle the Volvo C30 won P-COTY, and that was in 2007.
Subaru also proved to be the biggest winner at the 2009 P-COTY Awards in terms of citations garnered as well. Aside from being 2009 P-COTY, the Subaru Legacy 2.5GT sedan was also lauded as the Best Midsize Sedan and the Tuner's Choice (for ease of aftermarket tuning), the Subaru Legacy 2.5GT station wagon was billed as the Best Crossover and Wagon 4WD (four wheel drive), and the Subaru Impreza WRX sedan was the Best Sports Car 4WD.
An American company (Ford Group Philippines) and another Japanese manufacturer (Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation) won two awards each. The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker (Ford) took home the Best Midsize SUV 4WD for the Ford Everest 3.0L 4x4 and the Best Luxury SUV for the Ford Expedition Eddie Bauer EL (Extended Length) 4x4. The Japanese manufacturer, on the other hand, bagged the Best Midsize SUV 2WD (two-wheel-drive) for the Mitsubishi Montero Sport GLS A/T 4x2 and the Best Compact Car for the Mitsubishi Lancer EX GLX.
Notable for this year was the number of Merit of Participation awards for vehicles that didn't have competition in their respective categories such as the Lexus ES 350, the Kia Soul mini-compact multipurpose vehicle, the Foton MP-X minivan, the Suzuki Celerio super subcompact car and the Suzuki Grand Vitara compact SUV. Other winners during 2009 P-COTY were the Honda City (Best Subcompact), the Volvo XC60 D5 (Best Luxury Crossover/Wagon), the Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8L V6 (Best Sports Car 2WD and Best in Handling), the Lexus LS460L (Best Ultraluxury Car) and the Jaguar XF (Best Premium Car). The aforementioned Suzuki Celerio was deemed as the car with the Best Value for Money, while the aforementioned XC60 D5's City Safety automatic braking system (in which the brakes engage should the driver fail to step on the brake pedal at 30 kph and below) was adjudged as Best in Technological Innovation. The Jeep Commander CRDi was chosen as the Most Attractive SUV. Toyota Motor Philippines Corporation was lauded for its road safety campaign and its annual Roadtrek (as Best Media Event).
Thirty-one cars of different variants vied for the right to be billed as 2009 P-COTY during this year's P-COTY testfests, held starting October 2 at the Ortigas Home Depot (for qualitative testing) and the DMF Drift Track in Libis, Quezon City (for technical testing). Unlike the previous years where entries reached up to 100, cars that had to qualify for the P-COTY 2009 had to be either all new or had to exhibit drivetrain, powertrain or suspension changes hence the drastic decline in the number of entries. Qualitative testing was done by the 50-odd members of CAGI, rating all the qualified vehicles in 12 different categories (ranging from Best Subcompact to P-COTY). Technical testing was performed by the ALSO (Applied Leisure in Sales and Operations) Group, an organization of former rally and circuit race drivers headed by Raul Asuncion.
Support from P-COTY partners such as Worldbex, the Manila International Auto Show, Ortigas Home Depot, Taboo Bar, Bridgestone, the Automobile Association of the Philippines, Wheel Gallery, A-Toy Bodykits, Speedlab, DMF and Standard Insurance made sure that testing and the awards night proper ran smoothly and without problems.