Barely a week has gone by, and it looks like it’s going to be yet another banner year for the Philippine automotive industry. Building on the high of record sales last year and the continued robust growth of the economy (this year’s an election year after all), car manufacturers and distributors are setting their sights on 2013 to be an exciting year for those hoping to purchase a new car.
Although there’s no way to be completely certain of what’s going to arrive at a showroom near you, an educated guess (and some luck) is all that’s needed to find out what’s in store for the coming 12 months. Peering into the magical crystal ball, here is CarGuide.PH’s fearless forecast on the new and exciting vehicles that lay ahead this 2013.
Link to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
31. Nissan Almera (Certainty: 100%)
Nissan is awakening from its long slumber by finally introducing the much-awaited Almera sub-compact sedan. It’s taking a page from its Japanese rivals by making it available at their showrooms complete with discounts and freebies even before its official launch this January. Despite its sub-compact sedan classification, the Almera’s wheelbase is actually quite long: 2,600-mm, putting it toe-to-toe with compact cars already. The Almera also features some unique features such as a segment-exclusive rear comfort fan to go along with the longest rear legroom in its class (636 mm). Powering it is a new 1.5-liter engine (99 horsepower, 134 Nm of torque) mated to either a five-speed manual or CVT. The Almera comes at a very competitive price starting at P 710,000 for the M/T.
32. Nissan Juke (Certainty: 70%)
Wanting a piece of the highly lucrative mini crossover genre, Nissan could certainly bring in the Juke to add some pizzazz to its local line. Already being assembled in Indonesia, the Juke could easily be sold to the Philippines thanks to AFTA rules which reduce the importation rate to zero. Already previewed at last year’s Philippines International Motor Show, the Juke’s roughly the same size as a Honda Jazz or Ford Fiesta but offers a very unique exterior design said to be inspired by a crash helmet. The front-end is certainly striking with its stacked array of lights. Inside, the sport bike motif is carried on by its red or gray-painted center console which resembles a fuel tank. As for performance, it can be powered by a 1.5-liter engine or even a 1.6-liter turbo if things get a bit crazy for Nissan.
33. Nissan Sentra (Certainty: 50%)
While the Almera will certainly be Nissan’s best-seller for the year, hopefully they’ll use the opportunity to also upgrade its aging compact sedan, the Sentra. It’s slim that they’ll do another importation job from the Americas, so hopefully they’ll consider bringing in the Sylphy from Thailand instead. Whether they’ll call it Sentra or Sylphy, it’s a rather handsome and classy-looking car with LED park lamps and tail lamps. Inside, it’s well-loaded with a dual-zone climate control and a multi-information display. Power comes from either a 1.6-liter (116 horsepower) or 1.8-liter (131 horsepower) engine mated to a CVT. Plus, the range-topping model with all the bells and whistles tops out at P 1.2-million if the Thailand Baht to Philippine Peso conversion rate stays steady.
34. Porsche Cayman (Certainty: 90%)
Its Reptilian namesake is certainly perfect for a 2013 introduction; after all this year’s the Year of the Snake according to the Chinese zodiac. Already launched in several markets, the Porsche Cayman is lighter, faster, more efficient, and more powerful than before. It’s completely re-designed with a more distinctive front-end and an interior that borrows heavily from its bigger brother, the 911. By shedding 30 kilograms from its weight and a choice of punchier engines (325 horsepower on the 3.4-liter S), the Cayman is faster to 100 km/h by 0.1 seconds. And believe it or not, there are rumors floating around of a turbocharged 2.5-liter flat-4 which will be even more powerful and faster than the S.
35. Subaru Forester (Certainty: 100%)
Previewed by a select number of Philippine journalists late last year, the all-new Subaru Forester is confirmed to launch at the 2013 Manila International Auto Show. However, by simply looking at the photos, it’s clear that the Forester is taking on the Subaru family look complete with the “hawk eye” headlights and trapezoidal grille. Though remaining almost the same size as the current Forester, the all-new Forester will feature a roomier interior and large cargo hold. As for engines, expect the 2.0-liter normally aspirated engine (148 horsepower) to power base models, while an all-new 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbo will propel the new Forester (250-280 horsepower). All Foresters will feature CVT transmissions. And debuting on the Forester is a new all-wheel drive system called X-Mode which modifies vehicle parameters such as engine, transmission, and even VDC tuning for improved off-road capability.
36. Toyota Corolla (Certainty: 90%)
Deep discounts and promotions for Toyota’s quintessential passenger car could only mean one thing: the impending arrival of an all-new model. Though not much information is available as of yet, it could be very similar to the Toyota Auris, a Japanese domestic model. Expect the all-new Corolla to be sportier from the outside in. The design now features a deep v-grille (also featured on the RAV4) plus it could break from tradition and be offered as a five-door hatchback. The all-new Corolla is said to feature a lower center of gravity, a lighter curb weight, and slightly more power from its 1.8-liter engine which now features Dual VVT-i . Transmission is set to be a choice between a six-speed manual and CVT with paddle shifters.
37. Toyota RAV4 (Certainty: 100%)
The brochure came out during the Media Christmas lunch last year, but Toyota’s formally launching the all-new RAV4 in just a week’s time. And things are looking mighty interesting in the crossover genre. The RAV4 wears a sportier look with the new deep v-grille and hawkish face. More than just the face though, Toyota’s beefing up the RAV4 line-up by introducing three variants: two 2WD models (Base and Full Options) and one AWD model. Whatever variant you choose, it’s all powered by the same 2.5-liter Dual VVT-i engine and six-speed automatic shared with the Camry. The range of standard equipment varies from model to model but it’s interesting to note that only the AWD model gets roof rails, leather seats, rear back-up sensors, and six airbags. The 2WD Full Option and 4WD model though gets a powered driver’s seat, a luggage cover, and a six-speaker sound system. Prices for the all-new RAV4 start at P 1,357,000 for the base 2WD and it goes up to P 1,963,000 for the AWD.
38. Toyota Yaris (Certainty: 70%)
When Toyota announced the launching of a ‘new Yaris’ last year, everyone expected that the all-new Yaris would finally come in; it didn’t. Instead, what came out was the second-generation model fitted with sportier bumpers. This could mean that 2013 would be the year when the all-new model would finally enter. Sporting a completely new body, the all-new Yaris features a low 0.285 co-efficient of drag. Some nifty features of the all-new Yaris include a single windshield wiper and the availability of nine, yes nine airbags in some markets. Hopefully, the engine line-up would be beefed up as well to include a 1.3-liter engine to complement the existing 1.5-liter unit.
39. Volvo XC60 (FL) (Certainty: 60%)
Volvo’s on its way to revising its XC series and the first one to go under the knife is the XC60. According to reports, gone are the two-piece headlamps upfront and in place are larger lenses reminiscent of the new S60 sports sedan. The grille is also more upright and features more chrome while the fog lamps are replaced by LED units pushed way out to the corners. At the back, the XC60 gets a modest facelift with the dual exhaust outlets being integrated into the bumper. Inside, reports indicate that the XC60 will receive a large, central speedometer featuring a digital display.
40. Volvo XC90 (Certainty: 10%)
The Volvo XC90’s been on the market since 2002 and remains the only Volvo to ride on an old, Ford-based platform. The all-new XC90 will use Volvo’s all-new Scaleable Platform Architecture or SPA which will underpin many of Volvo’s future models starting with this model. Reportedly, the XC90 will retain its three-row seating and grow a bit bigger while being powered by a family of downsized gasoline and diesel engines. As for design, the XC90 will mostly likely be a bit more conservative but fluidic given the return of designer Peter Horbury as head of Volvo’s design (he penned the C30). However, given that nothing but sketches have been revealed about the all-new XC90 at the moment, the chances of it arriving in the Philippines is very, very slim.
Honorable Mention: Volkswagen
One of the biggest headlines last year is the announcement that Volkswagen is entering the Philippine market under Ayala Automotive Holdings Corporation. However, given the mammoth task of setting up a distribution office, choosing the line-up, putting up a dealership network or two, and the training involved, there’s a very, very slim chance that Volkswagen will actually enter the market by this year. Most likely, 2013 will be a formative year for the German brand with a brand sneak peek by the year of the year and a full-blown entry into the Philippine market by 2014.