The Philippine automotive market’s best-selling standard midsize SUV, the Toyota Fortuner and Lexus’ luxury compact SUV, the new NX200t, earned the prestigious “Automobile of the Year” title in their respective categories at the Awards Night of the “2015-2016 Auto Focus People’s Choice Awards” (AFPCA) held last Friday, October 16, 2015 at the Grand Ballroom of the Valle Verde Country Club in Pasig City. Both are first-time winners of the top award.

The AFPCA scoring system was updated this year to favor public votes. Votes from the 6-month poll on a popular social networking site now carried a weightier 80% factor with unit sales subject to a lower 20% weight. The combined tally of both constituted the consolidated total score from which the rankings in 22 (11 Standard and 11 Luxury) individual Model of the Year and the separate Automobile of the Year categories emerged.

The Toyota Fortuner

With January-September 2015 sales of well over 14,000 units and a consolidated score of 2,923.4 points, the Toyota Fortuner topped the Standard Model category, while the Lexus NX200t towered the competition with 1,113 overall points in the Luxury Model category. The ever-ubiquitous Toyota Vios is still the industry’s top-selling model with more than 25,000 units sold year-to-date. The car however bid farewell in this year's contest as AFPCA elevated it into the Hall of Fame as the first and only 3-time winner of “Automobile of the Year” honors in the Standard Category”.

The Standard Category awards were dominated by Toyota Motors Philippines (TMP) wherein they nabbed 6 of the 11 “Model of the Year” titles:

1) Toyota Wigo (Subcompact)

2) Toyota Corolla Altis (Compact Sedan)

3) Toyota Innova (Multi-purpose Vehicle/MPV)

4) Toyota Fortuner (Midsize SUV)

5) Toyota Land Cruiser Prado (Large SUV)

6.) Toyota Hiace (Van)

The Corolla Altis, Innova, and HiAce have now retained their titles for 4 straight years. Also, on account of 6 previous “Midsize Model of the Year” titles, the Camry was given exception with distinction in this year’s race via induction into the AFPCA Hall of Fame.

The Lexus NX200t

In the Model of the Year - Luxury Category, Lexus Manila did even better than last year by reeling in 7 awards:

1) Lexus IS350 (Luxury Compact)

2) Lexus ES350 (Luxury Midsize Sedan)

3) Lexus LS460L (Luxury Large Sedan)

4) Lexus RC F (Luxury Sports Car)

5) Lexus NX200t (Luxury Compact SUV)

6) Lexus GX460 (Luxury Midsize)

7) Lexus LX570 (Luxury Large SUV)

Along with TMP’s Toyota Alphard (Luxury Van), the Lexus IS350, ES350, LS460L and LX570 are now the first back-to-back annual winners in their categories.

The Ford EcoSport

Ford Philippines bagged 2 awards:

1) Ford EcoSport (Compact SUV)

2.) Ford Ranger (Pickup)

The Honda Accord (Midsize Sedan), Subaru WRX STI (Sports Car) and the Peugeot 3008 (Open) completed the list of Standard “Model of the Year” honorees.

The Volkswagen Golf GTI

Volkswagen Philippines landed 2 awards:

1) Volkswagen Golf GTI (Luxury Subcompact)

2) Volkswagen Touran (Luxury Multi-purpose Vehicle/MPV).

Rounding out the luxury honors list was the Volvo V40 Cross Country in the Luxury Open classification.

Also recognized during the event werewinners of the “2015-2016 Auto Focus Media’s Choice Awards” (AFMCA), a second but equally important component of STV’s Automobile Industry Merit Program. The AFMCA aims is to further recognize the automobile industry’s continuing efforts to provide car owners and motorists with the best on-board features, styling, performance and overall value.

To earn a Media’s Choice award, a particular model must receive at least 51% or more the total votes cast in that model’s specific performance category. The strict rule accounted for the fact that only 40 of the 88 award categories yielded winners.

2015-2016 Auto Focus Media’s Choice Awards

Best Safety Features: 10 Awardees

Honda Jazz (Subcompact); Subaru WRX STI (Sports Car); Ford Explorer (Large SUV); Porsche Cayenne (Luxury Large SUV); Honda Mobilio (MPV); Volkswagen Touran (Luxury MPV); Kia Carnival (Van); Toyota Alphard (Luxury Van); Ford Ranger (Pickup), Subaru XV (Open)

Best Value-for Money: 9 Awardees

Suzuki Swift (Subcompact); Volkswagen Golf GTI (Luxury Subcompact); Ford Mustang (Sports Car); Isuzu Mu-X (Midsize SUV); Volkswagen Touareg (Luxury Midsize SUV); Nissan Urvan (Van); Honda Odyssey (Luxury Van); Isuzu DMax (Pick-up); Mitsubishi ASX (Open)

Best Engine Performance: 9 Awardees

Volkswagen Golf GTI (Luxury Subcompact); Mazda 3 (Compact); BMW 5-Series (Luxury Midsize Sedan); Subaru WRX STI (Sports Car); Porsche Macan (Luxury Compact SUV); Volkswagen Touareg (Luxury Midsize SUV); Ford Explorer (Large SUV); Volkswagen Touran (Luxury MPV); Toyota Alphard (Luxury Van)

Best Design: 12 Awardees

Honda Jazz (Subcompact); Mercedes Benz A-Class (Luxury Subcompact); Mazda 3 (Compact); Mazda 6 (Midsize Sedan); Peugeot RCZ (Sports Car); Nissan XTrail (Midsize SUV); Toyota FJ Cruiser (Midsize SUV); Volkswagen Touareg (Luxury Midsize SUV); Ford Explorer (Large SUV); Volkswagen Touran (Luxury MPV); Kia Carnival (Van); Volvo XC70 (Luxury Open)

The Awards Night was graced by top officials of the country’s car manufacturers and distributors, the auto industry’s two lead organizations, the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) and the Association of Vehicle Importers & Distributors (AVID), as well as motoring media professionals.

The AFPCA, which is now on its 11th year, is a nationwide public poll to determine the country’s most popular automobile brands and models and is organized by Sunshine Television (STV). The public poll ran from April 1-September 30, 2015. Much like last year, the selection process involved the incorporation of poll results with unit sales to yield a final overall score for each of over 140 models in the Official Entry List.

Official sales volume data for the AFPCA was furnished by Stradcom Corporation with the official sanction of the Land Transportation Office (LTO). The data covered only “Completely built” and “New imported” units that were put in for new registration with the LTO from January-September 2015. Gray market imports however were excluded.

“The Auto Focus People’s and Media’s Choice Awards are merit programs that the industry and the motoring public look forward to every year. These allow car owners and car buyers to become more informed, and also provide them a channel of communication through which their voice and preferences may be openly expressed and heard by automobile manufacturers and distributors. From such feedback, better products and services can be offered to their customers. And we at STV have always been delighted to be the conduit for such inter-action year in and year out,” said Ray Butch Gamboa, STV Chairman and CEO.