Every time an automaker launches a new model, Filipino car buyers will likely have some unusual frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the vehicle.
Sometimes these questions have a bit of sound logic behind them, such as parts availability and reliability. Other times, you'll find yourself scratching your head. You can't really blame us, though; some of these questions have been around for a long time, and some do have a basis.
Let's go through some of the odd questions you’ll often hear car buyers ask. Some are amusing, some may even be misinformed, but at one time or another, anyone involved in the buying or selling of cars will come across one or more of these.
Just try not to laugh when you get asked.
Can it make it up Baguio?
“Makakaakyat ba ng Baguio yan" is a question we always hear whenever a new vehicle debuts. Usually it's aimed at small subcompact models with low displacement engines and low horsepower figures.
Fuel economy is a very important factor to car buyers today. As a result, manufacturers have shifted to smaller, more fuel-efficient engines. There is also the factor with emissions which is why a lot of good engines (e.g. the B16) were phased out in favor of newer ones.
But just because many vehicles now are low on power doesn’t mean they can’t drive up the steep roads leading to Baguio City. Remember, these smaller vehicles are also very light. More importantly, cars today are also built differently from before thanks to modern technology, making them more powerful and efficient.
Some of these newer engines benefit from direct injection, turbocharging, and more. Manufacturers also ensure their newly launched vehicles can handle most road conditions. The last thing an automaker wants are complaints from buyers that their car couldn’t go up a steep road.
So where did the Baguio City test of durability originate? In the past, not all vehicles could go up the City of Pines without running out of steam. More specifically, we're talking about the steep gradients of Kennon Road. Smaller vehicles (or even big, overloaded ones) tended to have problems there back in the day especially when overtaking.
Sometimes drivers even had to turn off the air-conditioning just so the vehicle can make it up without overheating somewhere along Kennon Road. That's why the test of getting up to Baguio continues to be a question people constantly ask.
Don’t worry: even your subcompact vehicle can make it up to the City of Pines without issues. One time we even took a fleet of Mitsubishi Mirage G4 units (with small 1.2L engines) and Hyundai Eons (with 800cc engines) up to Baguio witout problems. If you’re still unsure, why don’t you try it for yourself? You may have to think a few moves ahead if you want to overtake a fully loaded truck, though, and make sure that you're willing to floor the throttle to do so.
Are there parts available?
Banawe: the go-to car parts shopping area of most motorists. Whether it's for surplus, replacement, brand new original, or aftermarket parts, it’s the place to look for stuff to service, modify, or accessorize our vehicles. Old, new, or even a rare model, chances are you’ll be able to find parts for your vehicle there.
But with new automakers entering the country over the past few years, the question of parts availability in Banawe remains. It’s why you’ll hear some skeptics asking “May piyesa ba iyan?”
It is a very valid question. While most owners prefer to have their brand new vehicles serviced at dealerships and service centers, some prefer to do things themselves... warranty be damned. Rather than buying from dealerships, the alternative is Banawe, Evangelista, or any other local road in your area where auto supply stores popped up. But if the vehicle or the brand is relatively new, your suki auto supply might not have parts available regardless of brand.
The thing is, most brand new vehicles today only need the usual preventive maintenance service, and they're good to go. It’s also why some manufacturers package free PMS for a certain number of months or years from the date of purchase. No need to look for parts from your sidewalk "suki".
More importantly, modern vehicles rely on a lot of electronics. A friendly neighborhood auto supply is generally good for more common, fast moving parts like filters, plugs, and fuses. If it's something more specific for a new vehicle, your only option will really be the dealer unless you don't care about your warranty.
What really defines whether a vehicle will have good aftermarket parts availability is popularity and market success. If a carmaker sells 10,000 units of a vehicle, then you can bet that auto supplies will bug the importers for parts to sell to 10,000 potential customers. If a carmaker sells only 500 of the same vehicle in a year, then don't expect the same kind of aftermarket retail support because the potential customers are so few.
Will my whole family fit?
One of the questions Filipino car buyers often ask the sales executive is “Kasya ba buong pamilya ko diyan?” (Will my whole family fit there?)
Whether it’s a subcompact sedan or a crossover, chances are you’ll overhear this question being asked. That’s because vehicle owners want to bring their families along whenever they travel for vacation.
This is a very loaded question. When we Pinoys say "family", we generally don't mean a just the husband, wife, and two or even three kids. When we say family, it means extended family. Plus yayas. Plus bags. That's why when driving along the expressways you'll notice that some vehicles appear to sit lower compared to others, especially at the rear. Chances are that car is fully loaded with passengers and cargo.
But before even asking the question, it’s best to know the seating capacity and GVW and curb weights of your vehicle. More importantly, ask yourself this: how many people do you plan to take with you on a road trip. Not only is overloading unsafe, but it is also illegal. By knowing the number of people you plan to fit, you can choose a vehicle that would better suit your needs. Besides, not everyone will be happy being cramped in the third row of an SUV or even the second row of a sedan.
Does it have good resale value?
One big factor we Filipinos consider when purchasing a brand new vehicle is the "resale value". While they may not be selling the newly bought car anytime soon, they might do so in the future. That’s where the question about resale value comes in. It’s also why you’ll hear potential buyers asking sales executives “Maganda ba resale niyan?”
Filipino buyers want to be able to sell the vehicle at a relatively high price in comparison to how much they paid for it brand new. It’s the same case for almost everyone. They don’t want to buy something that costs more than a million and have its resale value drop by more than 50-percent in just a few years.
There are a few cars on the market that have a good perception of resale value, there are others that don’t. More often than not, the vehicles that are sold by Japanese automakers (especially Toyota) tend to be put on the classifieds at higher asking prices compared to cars from other manufacturers. However, it still depends on the model, variant, and condition. Take note that what the published price is online or in the papers (if you still read the papers) are asking prices.
If you want to know more about resale value, market value, and asking prices, we published a feature story tackling just that which you can read about here.
Is the aircon cold enough?
Considering how hot it can get in the country during the summer, cold aircon is something we expect from new vehicles. It’s why you’ll always hear car buyers asking how cold the aircon of a vehicle is; sometimes even asking for a demo. Unfortunately, not all vehicles are equal when it comes to air-conditioning systems. Some are indeed colder than others, especially on a hot day and without tint.
Interestingly, most Filipino car buyers will compare the air-conditioning system to that of a Nissan. Back in the day (we're talking nineties) Nissan vehicles had some of the coldest air-conditioning systems on the market. As a result, it has become the standard that most car buyers compare to today.
While Nissan vehicles still have very cold air-conditioning, other makers have too. The recent Toyota models we reviewed had us setting the temperatures at 24 degrees and up with the fan at the lowest speed. However, we still suggest you try out the vehicle first if you want to get a feel of how cold the aircon is.
These are just some of the common but odd questions Filipino car buyers ask about vehicles. While some of these might be considered odd or funny today, it wasn’t exactly so back in the day. What other questions do you often hear similar to these? Let us know in the comments section.