Wednesday, February 27, 2013

ACC Seals Partnership to Build BMW Flagship in PHL


Asian Carmakers Corporation (ACC), the official importer and distributor of BMW vehicles in the Philippines, has officially formalized its partnership with the Armed Forces & Police Mutual Benefit Association, Inc. (AFPMBAI) for the long-term lease of an AFPMBAI property located in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.  The lot will be the future site of the BMW Flagship Dealership, envisioned to be the largest and most modern BMW showroom in the country.  The deal, amounting to over Php 1Billion, was made official through a MOA signing ceremony between Mr. Jose Ch. Alvarez, Chairman of ACC, and Brigadier General Ricardo C. Morales, President & CEO of AFPMBAI.

Volvo Cars Asia-Pacific Heads Visit Volvo PH


Volvo Philippines’ optimism for 2013 is made even brighter as Volvo Cars Asia Pacific (VCAP) top executives visited the country recently. VCAP President, Mr. Carl Goran Larsson, VCAP Chief Finance Officer Miss Roslin Ooi, and VCAP Regional Business Manager Ai Phing Teh expressed their continued support for Volvo Philippines and its programs to push the Scandinavian luxury brand in the local market.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Review: 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 V6

Photos by Ulysses Ang
We’ve driven the Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 V6 before (full test drive here), albeit stickered and sporting aftermarket rims (it was for an experimental factory-backed drift car project). Though highly sought-after and successful, Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI) has upgraded the Genesis Coupe for the 2013 model year. And that’s the subject of this Quick Spin.

Monday, February 25, 2013

All-New Bentley Flying Spur to Debut in Geneva


Bentley establishes a new luxury performance sedan benchmark with the launch of the new Flying Spur. With its unrivaled blend of effortless driveability, exquisite luxury and craftsmanship, sculpted design and state-of-the-art technology, the new Flying Spur takes the worldwide success of its iconic predecessor further. Bentley’s most powerful four-door model ever makes its global debut at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show on 5th March.

UPS Joins as Ferrari F1 Sponsor


UPS recently announced the expansion of its sponsorships in motorsports by entering Formula 1® racing through a multi-year sponsorship of Scuderia Ferrari. The alliance was announced today in Barcelona, Spain and featured Scuderia Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso, shortly before the Spaniard took the track for the first time in the team’s 2013 F138 race car bearing the UPS shield.

MIT Technology Review Names Audi as 50 Most Innovative Companies in the World


Every year the editors of the “MIT Technology Review” look for companies all over the world that have announced groundbreaking technologies. This year the jury put Audi on the list of “50 Disruptive Companies” in recognition of the piloted driving project it presented at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Detroit.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Berjaya Auto Philippines Introduces Mazda YOJIN3


Berjaya Auto Philippines, the exclusive distributor of Mazda in the country, today announced the introduction of a new vehicle ownership program — the YOJIN3 Mazda Total Care. Through the program, Berjaya Auto Philippines will be offering a) 3-year free periodic maintenance service, b) 3-year roadside assistance with exclusive Mazda concierge service, and c) 3-year bumper-to-bumper manufacturer warranty.  YOJIN3 Total Care will be bundled to all brand-new Mazda vehicles sold starting January 1, 2013 at no additional cost to the customers.

Vent It Out Friday: Turning Marikina for the Worse

Editor’s Note: Welcome to our newest section, “Vent It Out Friday” where we just have a commentary on just about everything. This highly opinionated, highly emotional section will appear (as much as possible) every Friday. Soon, we’ll also be opening “Vent It Out Friday” to our readers, but for now, you can respond to the topic at hand via the comments section below.

 I’ve been a resident of Marikina City for all my life. I’ve seen it grow. I’ve seen it change. I’ve seen it turn for the worse. What was once considered as a “model city” in the Philippines is now, unfortunately, heading to the dumps. For non-Marikenos reading this story, this may sound like a harsh criticism, but let me explain.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Review: 2012 Toyota Prius and 2012 Toyota Prius C


If a car were a just a bunch of numbers, the Toyota Prius family won’t make much economic sense: priced at P 2,250,000 for the Prius (the White Pearl in these photographs adds another P 15,000) and P 1,475,000 for the Prius c (the Full Option model lent is at P 1,525,000) these cars aren’t cheap. In fact, on price alone, you can get any one of these other Toyota cars: the luxurious Camry, the practical Fortuner, and even the sexy 86, and still have enough money left over for some accessories. However, after spending a week back-to-back with the Prius and Prius c, it shows that these cars are more than just the sum of their parts. They start to offer more than just their price tag: they imbue a sense of environmental responsibility that you can’t get anywhere else. And that may be its greatest achievement.

CAGI Elects New Board, Executive Committee

From L-R: Mikko David, Christopher Kho, Bess Zamora, Bam Olivares, and Ferman Lao
The Car Awards Group, Inc. (CAGI), the Philippine’s automotive awards giving body composed of motoring journalists, elected a new set of officers and Board Members during their first general meeting and annual elections on 26 January 2013.

Showing confidence in the leadership of CAGI, members re-elected Ferman Lao (Kotse.com, Top Gear Philippines), Bam Olivares (Daily Tribune), Bess Zamora (AQ Magazine), and Christopher Kho (Kotse.com) as board members. Mikko David (TopGear Philippines) is the sole newcomer to the group.

Monday, February 18, 2013

AVID Remains Upbeat in 2013

In January, AVID sales reached 2,625 units, led by the 16% growth in the Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) segment. Leading the pack of gainers are Motor Image Pilipinas, Inc., PGA Cars, Inc. and  The Covenant Car Company, Inc., which posted sales growth of 61%, 54%, and 45%, respectively.
Compared with the prior month, sales in January rose by 23.4% to 2,625 units sold from 2,128 units, driven by the expansion in the Passenger Car segment (43%) and sales growth of Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. at 32.4%.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Vent It Out Friday: Be Smart and Test Drive

Editor’s Note: Welcome to our newest section, “Vent It Out Friday” where we just have a commentary on just about everything. This highly opinionated, highly emotional section will appear (as much as possible) every Friday. Soon, we’ll also be opening “Vent It Out Friday” to our readers, but for now, you can respond to the topic at hand via the comments section below.

With all the car choices in the market today, it’s so easy to get carried away. You’ll see a special offer here or a low downpayment scheme there and before you know it, bam, you’re driving out with a brand-new car. But how many times do we actually know what we’re getting ourselves into? How many times can we say, we’re getting X instead of Y because X fits my needs better? How many times were we swayed more by free chattel mortgage and LTO registration rather than getting a car on its own merit? For car enthusiasts who frequently read newspapers, magazines and websites before going from dealership to dealership, it may rarely be the case; but what about for the rest of the car buying public? It certainly sounds like a tagline, but Honda Cars Philippines said it best: “be smart and test drive.”

Thursday, February 14, 2013

BMW to Hold First Road Show at Malarayat Golf & Country Club in Lipa


Asian Carmakers Corporation (ACC), the official importer and distributor of BMW vehicles in the Philippines, will be holding the first leg of the BMW Roadshow on February 22 to 24 at the Mount Malarayat Golf & Country Club in Lipa City, Batangas.

2012 was a milestone for the BMW brand in the Philippines. BMW solidified its positioning as the number one vehicle brand in the luxury segment for 10 straight years, finishing the year with a total of 33% market share in the premium luxury segment.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Nissan Almera at Trinoma Mall Until Today


In celebration of the Chinese New Year, Nissan Motor Philippines, Inc. (NMPI) is holding a grand display featuring the all-new Nissan Almera at the TriNoma Mall in Quezon City. The display, located at the mall’s ground floor at the MRT-link, will be held until today, February 13. 

To highlight the upcoming Valentine’s Day as well, a fully-accessorized Nissan Almera sporting a Victoria red hue is also included in the display.

Following TriNoma, the all-new Nissan Almera will also be featured at other popular malls in the metro. What’s more, a test drive activity will be held by all Nissan dealerships nationwide from February 15.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Review: 2013 Nissan Teana 350XV V6

Photos by Ulysses Ang
Ninety-nine percent of those in the market for an executive sedan tend to gravitate towards the usual choices: Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and now, the Hyundai Sonata. Those choices are undoubtedly great ones, but there’s one car that should be mentioned in the same breath, if only it got more recognition: the Nissan Teana. Taking its name from the Native American word meaning “dawn”, the current Teana was launched more than two years ago, after its immediate predecessor replaced the venerable and wildly successful Cefiro. Sadly, the Teana hasn’t seen the same commercial success as its forbearer which is a shame given it’s got nifty cues which pulls the right strings for its intended audience.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Honda's Amazing Financing Options Extended


Honda Cars Philippines Inc. (HCPI), in partnership with BPI Family Savings Bank, RCBC Savings Bank, BDO, PS Bank, Eastwest Bank and Unionbank has extended the Honda Financing Option Program until February 28, 2013, extending customers’ ease of buying a Honda vehicle.

The Honda Financing Option provides customers with true savings through interest rate as low as 5.43% on low monthly scheme; as low as 10% down payment, or  an all in package scheme inclusive of chattel mortgage, LTO registration and a one year comprehensive insurance; plus an inclusion of 3 years preventive maintenance if customers avail through Eastwest Bank.  Unlike the financing schemes of other brands that offer huge discounts but eventually recover this through astronomical interest rate.

An Experience Like No Other: The Audi Driving Experience


There are track days, and there’s the Audi Driving Experience—a track day unlike any other, allowing mere mortals to flog cars with more than 500 horsepower on a race track. The Audi Driving Experience is a carefully crafted immersion experience into the world of Audi and everything the company stands for, namely: performance engineering.

Volvo North EDSA Centris is Now Open


Volvo opens its doors to all Volvo enthusiasts at the northern metro through Volvo North EDSA Centris. (From L-R) Volvo North EDSA Chief Financial Officer and Vice Chairman, Mr. William Tan with Mr. Vincent Licup, Chairman and CEO of Vovo North EDSA receives the Official Volvo Dealer Plaque presented by Volvo Cars Asia Pacific President, Mr. Carl Goran Larsson. The Volvo North EDSA Centris is located at Two Cyberpod ETON Centris, EDSA corner Quezon Avenue, Quezon City. Call (+632) 376 4943, 376 4947, 376 4965 for a test drive.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Accent CRDi Now Available at All Hyundai Dealerships


All the smoke and mirrors are finally gone as Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI) has finally made available the much-awaited Accent CRDi. In fact, there's better news: it's now available at all Hyundai dealerships nationwide.

Ford Philippines Posts Best-Ever January Performance; Sales More Than Double

Continuing the momentum of its record month and quarterending in December, Ford Philippines today reported the company’s best-ever January performance with retail sales jumping 123 percent year-over-year to 820 units. The exceptional month was driven by strong sales across the growing Ford lineup.

The record month was given a significant boost by the robust performance of the all-new Ford Focus, with January sales of 95 units – the strongest single month for the Focus nameplatein almost three years.

Toyota Camry Named Korean Car of the Year


News Flash: the Toyota Camry has been voted by the Korea Automobile Journalist Association as the Car of the Year 2013. The medium-sized sedan earned the highest score of 78.75 points for its value on price, performance, safety and fuel efficiency. On top of that, Toyota's Lexus GS and Prius Hybrid were no. 1 in performance and green-car categories, respectively. This is the first time a foreign model has earned this title since the award was presented three years ago.

Moreover, the Camry is one of the best-selling import cars in Korea. During the same period of winning this title, Toyota’s sales in Korea soared over 200% in 2012 compared to the previous year. In the Philippines, the Camry has been the best-selling model in its segment since 2001.

You can read our review of the Philippine model Toyota Camry 2.5 V here.

Vent It Out Friday: Paying Your (Association) Dues

Editor’s Note: Welcome to our newest section, “Vent It Out Friday” where we just have a commentary on just about everything. This highly opinionated, highly emotional section will appear (as much as possible) every Friday. Soon, we’ll also be opening “Vent It Out Friday” to our readers, but for now, you can respond to the topic at hand via the comments section below.

Upon opening my mailbox, I received a formally written letter which will undoubted become ubiquitous to anyone living in a private subdivision or condominium: VAT on association dues. We have Ms. Kim Henares to thank for the additional financial burden that we’ll have to shoulder each and every month, but I have no qualms about that. If it’s going to help the country, why not? Although the additional P 720.00 per month is somewhat hard to swallow, my real beef is with the P 6,000 in association dues per se, especially if the building association is happily swimming in my money and not doing anything.

Philippine Car Price Guide: February 2013

Here's your monthly does of the Philippine Car Price Guide. In this installment we see some changes from some luxury brands as well as updates from some mainstream brands as well. New and updated entries include:
  • Audi A4
  • Audi Q3
  • Bentley
  • Haima Hunda
  • Haima Tenda
  • Kia Sorento 2.2 EX 4WD 7-Seater (FL)
  • Lifan Foison
  • Mercedes-Benz B-Class
  • MINI Price Updates
  • Mitsubishi Strada GLX 4WD
  • Nissan Murano Z51 (price update)
  • Nissan Patrol Royale (price update)
  • Rolls-Royce
  • Toyota Vios (price update)

Subaru to Show New VIZIV Concept, Boxer Diesel with CVT in Geneva


With the 2013 Geneva Motor Show looming large over the horizon, more and more car makers are revealing their display plans. For Subaru, it has revealed two tidbits for their stands.

First, the company will unveil the VIZIV Concept, "representing a direction of new designs and technologies enhancing the Subaru brand into the future". Based on the sole photograph released, it's the first glimpse of the all-new Outback or perhaps even the Tribeca.

Second, Subaru will premiere its Boxer Diesel engine technology mated to a Lineartronic CVT (hooray!) Debuting on the Outback, this is the first time the Boxer Diesel will be mated to an automatic transmission.

UPDATED: EDSA Rehab Project Gets Green Light; MMDA Proposes "Mock Rehab"


The Metro Manila Council (MMC), the policy-making body of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) composed of 17 mayors in Metro Manila, has approved the proposal of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to rehabilitate the entire 24 kilometer stretch of EDSA.

Costing an estimated P 3.4 Billion, the EDSA rehabilitation project is said to transform the often neglected road into a world-class highway with a pavement rivaling the "North Luzon Expressway and South Luzon Expressway". The project is said to start in May 2013 and will run for 24/7 to be completed in time for the East Asia World Economic Forum in June 2014. Once done, EDSA's world-class pavement will last between 5 to 10 years.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

2013 Toyota Vios Set for Bangkok Motor Show Reveal?

Spy Shots courtesy of Sohu Auto
The second-generation Toyota Vios has been in the market since 2007 which means a full model change is long overdue. Now, reports indicate a possible global unveil at the 2013 Bangkok International Motor Show in March.

Review: 2013 Ford Focus 2.0 Titanium+

Photos by Ulysses Ang
Being very familiar with the Ford Focus through several drives and events, (First Drive: 2012 Ford FocusPost Cards from San Francisco: Driving the Ford Focus in the USAA Different Kind of Fuel Economy Run) the arrival of the Panther Black Focus 2.0 Titanium+ is a breath of familiarity. Despite being overly used to the general shape of the Focus, it’s still one handsome compact car.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

2013 World Car of the Year Finalists Announced


The countdown has begun in preparation for the 2013 World Car Awards winners' press conference hosted by the New York International Auto Show and Bridgestone Corporation on Thursday, March 28, 2013. The 2013 World Car of the Year, World Performance Car, World Green Car and World Car Design of the Year will all be declared at this time.

The top three finalists in all award categories will be announced at the Geneva International Motor Show on Tuesday, March 5th, 2013.

Toyota Preview 86 Convertible for Geneva Debut


Toyota has confirmed its lineup for the 2013 Geneva Motor Show and although the all-new RAV4 is there and so is the new Auris Touring Sports (future Corolla?), the biggest headline is the world premiere of the 86 convertible.

Still carrying the concept moniker, the 86 convertible (properly referred to as "FT-86 Open Concept") is a sneak peek at a "possible future variant" of the 86 (Toyota's own words). Of course, everyone knows that the 86 and its corporate twin, the Subaru BRZ is designed to maintain its structural rigidity even with its roof lopped off, so mostly likely the "concept car" we'll see in Geneva is nothing more than a thinly disguised version.

Right now, enjoy the official sketch provided by Toyota Motors Europe, but we'll be covering the 2013 Geneva Motor Show during the first week of March.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Toyota Motor Philippines Says "Thank You" with Upgreats Promo


2012 was a milestone year for Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) with achievements in the different facets of its operations. In addition to this, TMP achieved its 11th consecutive triple crown with no. 1 sales in the Passenger Car segment, Commercial Vehicle Segment and over all sales. For the year, TMP registered 21, 291 units in the PC segment and 44,105 units in the CV segment for a total of 65, 396 units while garnering 41.7% of the market. This performance is the highest the manufacturer has tallied since the start of its operations in 1988.

Ford Philippines Awards Top Dealers at 2013 Annual Dealer Convention


Ford Philippines recently celebrated its 2013 Annual Ford Dealer Convention which recognized top achievers from its nationwide dealer network.

The red carpet Convention was held at the Filinvest Tent, Alabang, with Ford Quezon Avenue being named Ford’s ‘2012 Dealer of the Year’ for its overall distinction in wholesale, retail sales and customer service. The ‘Dealer of the Year’ Award for provincial went to Ford Iloilo.

Vent It Out Friday: Ten New Year's Resolutions

Editor’s Note: Welcome to our newest section, “Vent It Out Friday” where we just have a commentary on just about everything. This highly opinionated, highly emotional section will appear (as much as possible) every Friday. Soon, we’ll also be opening “Vent It Out Friday” to our readers, but for now, you can respond to the topic at hand via the comments section below.

They say: a new year equates to a fresh start. With over 300 days to go before we gorge to our heart’s content and light up the skies anew with fireworks (and a stray bullet or two) yet again, here we are with the subject of New Year’s Resolutions. I’d wager that for the 99.9 percent of us out there, this year’s resolution is no different from last year’s or the year before that: it’s got to do with losing 10 pounds and five inches off the beer keg we call the waist.