There was certainly something for everyone in the recent 6th Manila International Auto Show (MIAS) as the World Trade Center and its adjoining air conditioned tent seemed hardly enough to contain the sheer number of vehicles and exhibitors.
Held last April 15 to 18, 2010, the Auto Show's theme was Crossing Boundaries and the vehicles on display certainly seemed to reiterate that.
Easily stealing the show was the unveiling of the Chevrolet PHTC (Philippine Touring Car) spec Cruze, bearing a strong resemblance to its WTCC (Wold Touring Car Championship) counterpart. The race-ready Cruze takes the place of the WTCC Cruze mock-up that has been touring dealerships, prepared by Blanco Race Engineering (BRE) and is set to compete in the upcoming races. It pretty much stole the thunder of the yellow Chevrolet Camaro V6, on display in the same booth and now locally available.
Over in another end of the exhibition hall was the newly unveiled 2010 Mazda 6 with a restyled exterior and new 2.5 liter inline four engine touted to be more compact and efficient than the previous.
Mercedes Benz had its full line up on display, including its two coupe derivatives of the C and E. BMW featured its performance line 1 and 3 series sedans. Subaru had its new Legacy sedan, wagon and Outback SUV on display. Chinese brand Great Wall Cars showcased its 6 model line-up. Motul gathered not one, not two, but 5 exotic Ford GT supercars, arranged in a flower pattern with their engine bays exposed.
Outside the exhibition hall was a cloud of tire smoke. As usual, the culprit was Guiness World Record holder and world renowned display driver Russ Swift performing his two-wheel driving, speed parallel parking and dance routing using Subaru vehicles.
Up front, Land Rover Philippines invited visitors to experience their vehicles' off-road ability with the Terrapod experience - a portable, instant off-road course constructed of steel ramps that showcase the cars extreme capabilities. The area was also used to display the 2010 Land Rover Defender diesel's new anti-stall feature, used to tow another Defender with no driver behind in the lead vehicle on 4 Low and in 1st gear.
Of course, numerous brands invited visitors to test drive their vehicles. Aftermarket enthusiasts could take advantage of exclusive deals from exhibitors and a Custom and Classic Car show filled the adjoining air-conditioned tent to the brim.
On Saturday, April 17, the Kookie Ramirez Arm Chair Project was unveiled, featuring chairs designed by artist Reg Yuson. The Kookie chair is composed of fiberglass racing seat shells from A-Toy Bodykits and a pair of Bilstein shock absorbers from Makna Enterprises. Only 12 pieces of the The Kookie Chair, painted in DuPont's McLaren Red, will be made to be displayed in various art galleries and car dealerships in Metro Manila. Proceeds of the sale of the seats will be used to help Ramirez finance his battle against cancer.
After a jam-packed four days, MIAS organizers reported 75,000 attendees this year, 3,000 more than last year's show, proving that despite initial concerns, 2010, could in fact be a banner year for the automotive industry.