The key highlights that defined the 8th Philippine International Motor Show

The Philippine International Motor Show used to be a biennial event where the country's top manufacturers go all-out and give a great spectacle to visitors. But of course, as we all know, the pandemic prevented the 2020 edition to take place and even placed the local automotive industry in jeopardy.

As such, the return of PIMS this year was a much-awaited one not just for journalists like us, but most importantly for those in the market interested to know about the latest trends that will drive the future of motoring.

A lot has happened since the last edition of PIMS in 2018, and the 2022 edition definitely was a reflection of those changes with how the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) delivered this year's motor show. Here's how the 8th Philippine International Motor Show turned out.

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Hybrids and EVs take center stage...

The notion that Filipino motorists like to stick with what they know may have been thrown out the window at this year's PIMS, as the newest technologies brought about by electrified cars gathered the largest of crowds whenever they were being presented at the motor show. Maybe it's the curiosity (which is a given) or the high fuel prices, but whatever the reason, hybrids, and electric vehicles were the main attractions of PIMS.

In the case of all-electric vehicles, BMW, Kia, Hyundai, and Nissan's booths were flocked by the crowd as they showcased the iX, EV6, the futuristic Ioniq 5, and the Leaf EV. Plug-in hybrids such as the Chery Tiggo 8 Pro PHEV and the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV were also there in case visitors were still not fully sold into EV ownership.

Of course, the industry leader Toyota was also deep in the electrified vehicle segment. Instead of putting their Gazoo Racing performance lineup on the stage, their Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) consisting of the Camry, Corolla, Corolla Cross, and RAV4 HEV were the ones placed on higher ground.

Nissan had units of the Kicks e-Power available for test drive outside the main event area, and we could not help but notice how we always saw the series hybrid crossover roaming around with a different driver behind the wheel every time. Lastly, the mild hybrids were represented by the Ertiga 7-seater and the Okavango VIP... yeah, the version with retrofitted captain's seats.

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But Filipinos still love their 7-seaters

The more the merrier as they say. And Filipinos definitely live up to those words when we look at the popularity of seven-seater vehicles in the country. From pickup passenger vehicles (PPVs) to MPVs, the majority of participating manufacturers in PIMS had something in store for the spectators.

First of which was Honda, who previewed the next-generation BR-V to the public, along with the current-gen CR-V diesel. Nissan's opening day presentation also featured the Xpan... Livina 7-seater alongside the aforementioned Kicks e-Power. Its twin, the new Xpander was also in the Mitsubishi booth, while Suzuki had the XL-7 in the motor show.

In terms of luxury 7-seaters, Kia was there with the Carnival, Mazda had the CX-8 and CX9 crossovers, while Chery featured all the variants of the flagship Tiggo 8 Pro. For fans of pickup-based 7-seaters, Isuzu, Mitsubishi and Toyota had the MU-X, Montero Sport Ralliart, and the Fortuner GR-S available for test drive.

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Performance and motorsport-themed cars were still there...

As mentioned earlier, rising fuel costs may have been the reason why people are attracted to hybrids and EVs, but performance cars and motorsport-themed vehicles still had a place at this year's PIMS.

Ralliart has returned, but it's not the pure Mitsubishi performance arm that we know. For now, Ralliart is a dress-up kit for the Strada and Montero Sport, but the Strada Rally Car showcased may be a sign of Mitsubishi going back to giving us exciting cars again.

The Gazoo Racing lineup was also at PIMS, as Toyota brought in the GR Yaris, GR Supra, and the all-new GR86 in the main event area. Honda showed their “Road Sailing” models with the all-new HR-V RS and Civic RS sedan.

Meanwhile, the Mazda MX-5 and Nissan GT-R may be getting up there in terms of years, but both manufacturers kept them fresh with a special edition model for Mazda (with a special 25th-anniversary silver emblem) and attractive

Blue color for the GT-R. Lastly, BMW brought out the M5 Competition to add to their PIMS lineup.

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Where are the concept cars?

If you've attended the previous editions of PIMS, the motor show featured concept cars that defined the future directions of vehicles. But this year, no manufacturer has brought out an experimental model. So why is this the case?

Well, there are many factors to think about, and one of them is time. There's a period where vehicles are being developed from being a concept to a full-blown production model, and this year's PIMS may have shown that most participating manufacturers have already launched, or are in the latter stages of vehicle development.

If we look back at previous editions of PIMS, we can see that the concepts have already evolved into production cars. The Toyota FT-1 eventually became the GR Supra, the Honda Small RS Concept became the Brio, the Mitsubishi XM Concept turned out as the Xpander, and so on and so forth.

But perhaps the major cause is perhaps the cost. Many auto brands are tightening their belts given how fuel prices have been, how inflation has hit everything, and how strong the US dollar has become. Temporarily importing a concept vehicle is a major and costly undertaking so it's not surprising that no concept car made it to the show. Still, we miss it. Hopefully in 2024 Filipino showgoers will see such visions again.

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Three C's of PIMS: Cars, Concerts, Coffee

As concept cars disappeared from being one of the main attractions at PIMS, another C took its place – coffee. If anything, we were even joking about how PIMS has become the Philippine International Coffee Festival or a coffee crawl so to speak since most manufacturers served different brews to visitors throughout the four-day event.

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How did coffee enter the PIMS conversation? Well, we'd like to think that cars and coffee are always a great combination of two things that also start with the letter C – communication and connection. You see, most are still trying to reestablish some sort of connection with friends after spending months in isolation, and that applies even to people in the motoring industry. Add that with the return of another C (concerts) and you have PIMS 2022 as a convention that brings together mobility and humanity – wait, that's the show's theme, right?

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Booth designs level up (literally, and figuratively)

Together with the cars on display, the manufacturers' booths have also had their fair share of evolution. Aside from offering coffee and other refreshments in the show, manufacturers have come up with solutions that we've never seen in previous editions of PIMS.

Mazda took things to another level (literally) by setting up their PIMS booth with three floors, and even a basement that houses the first-generation Miata together with pictures of the Miata club members throughout their 25 years.

Toyota made good use of wraparound LEDs to showcase their latest innovations which served as the backdrop for their HEV lineup, while Chery, Hyundai, Kia, Mitsubishi, and Nissan had their makeshift charging stations on their respective booths for their electrified vehicles.

Foton and Isuzu designed their booths with micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in mind, as they showcased their vehicles that can be used for businesses such as transport services and rolling stores, among others.

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The industry is still recovering

Despite the successful return of the motor show and the exciting vehicles showcased in the event, this year's PIMS was still showing the effects of the pandemic in terms of crowd attendance, as it's worth noticing that the show is not as packed as its previous editions, especially during the weekend. Not to mention, the number of vehicles introduced to the market is far less than what we saw from the last PIMS.

But even so, we should remember that it's only been two years since everything (almost) came to a screeching halt. Vehicle sales are on their way back up to pre-pandemic levels, and if not for the current global chip shortage, manufacturers could have already gone back to their full production strength. With that being the case, PIMS 2022 may just be the launching pad for a bigger and better motor show we can look forward to in 2024.