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November 30, 2012

UPDATED: Will This Fix Everything? Honda Reveals 2013 Civic Redesign at LA Auto Show

Panned for its lackluster design and dynamics, Honda has rushed a redesign of its Civic compact and here it is. The question is: are the changes enough?

November 29, 2012

Goodyear Philippines Appoints New Managing Director

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has appointed a new managing director for the next phase of its growth in the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam and Hong Kong.

Effective December 1, 2012, Ron Castro will take up the newly created position of Managing Director for Goodyear Philippines & Distributor Markets. He will have direct responsibility for the Philippines business and oversight on the strategy and development of programs for Taiwan, Vietnam and Hong Kong. Castro will report to Paul Cadena, Managing Director for Goodyear ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), and relocate to the company’s Manila office.

Toyota Unveils 2013 RAV4 at LA Auto Show

The all-new 2013 RAV4 crossover SUV made its world debut at the 2012 Los Angeles International Auto Show. Toyota's fourth-generation RAV4, the world's original crossover sport utility vehicle, arrives early next year. With a fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine, new six-speed transmission, two-row seating for five, and a host of available in-cabin technologies, RAV4 offers a nuanced balance of performance and all-around capability, including class-leading cargo capacity, striking design, class-leading eight standard airbags, and a compelling array of standard features.

Ferrari California 30 Now Available in Philippines

Photos by Ulysses Ang

Autostrada Motore, Inc., the Philippines’s official importer and distributor of Ferrari cars in the Philippines is celebrating Christmas extra early this year as they launched a new and faster variant of their award-winning Ferrari California just last week: the Ferrari California 30.

Thirty is the operative number of the Ferrari California 30 as the car is 30 kilograms lighter and 30 horsepower more powerful than the standard California, hence the unique name. The California 30’s 4.3-liter V8 engine is now rated at 490 horsepower and 505 Nm of torque thanks to a new exhaust manifold and engine mapping. In addition, the California 30’s torque curve has been modified and is broader throughout the engine’s rev range. As a result, the California 30 can accelerate to 100 km/h from a standstill in just 3.8 seconds.

Reserve your Nissan Almera Now and Get Exclusive Accessories for Free

The all-new Nissan Almera will soon make its way to the local roads as Nissan Motor Philippines, Inc. (NMPI) will soon enter the highly competitive, highly lucrative B-segment market.

Launched successfully in various countries including Thailand, U.S., China, India, Singapore and more recently, Malaysia, the Almera has become branded as Nissan’s global best-selling sedan, with sales reaching to more than 500,000 units to date. Built with a reputation of an “affordable dynamic sedan,” the all-new Almera boasts of class-leading comfort and space, upscale design together with great functionality, yet comes at an affordable price that is competitive in the sedan segment.

November 28, 2012

Round 5 of 2012 Lateral Drift Championship Series

The recently held round 5 of the Lateral Drift Championship night race was considered a success, together with the Zero to 400 Drag race event produced by Emperor Motorsports wherein a total recorded gate spectators was about 2,000 plus who entered the Clark International Speedway and witnessed this one of a kind and most awaited night drift event by motor enthusiasts.

It was an action packed race day at the CIS as the action started as early as 7:00 am and with the time attack by Circuit Showdown which ended around 2:00 pm. After which, it was now time for the Drag and Drift that would end up until the wee hours of the night. This is the 2nd time Later Drift Productions produced a night drift this year and last year.

November 27, 2012

Cebuana Lhuillier Links to Federal Phoenix for CTPL Issuance and Claims Processing

Bound by a common vision of bringing insurance closer to the Filipinos and hasten  vehicle registration at the Land Transportation Office (LTO), major motorcar insurer Federal Phoenix Assurance Co. (FPAC) embarked on a groundbreaking partnership with the leading microinsurance agency Cebuana Lhuillier Insurance Solutions (CLIS), insurance arm of the country’s largest pawnshop chain Cebuana Lhuillier, through the Cebuana Compulsory Third Party Liability (CTPL) Insurance or Cebuana CTPL.

Volvo to Show 508 HP S60 Polestar at Los Angeles Auto Show

With the glamor and bright lights that symbolize the City of Angels, what better place for the global auto show debut of the Volvo S60 Polestar Concept than the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show? After all, the 508-horsepower beast, built by Volvo's official performance partner, Polestar, is arguably the most glamorous and lightning-quick Volvo concept car ever made.

Review: 2012 Ford Everest 2.5 Limited

Photos by Ulysses Ang
Everyone likes change. If change didn’t happen, then you’ll still be making phone calls in a booth, and you wouldn’t be reading stuff like this over the internet. Though change is generally good, there’s a fine line of being too conservative and too radical. If there’s too little challenge, you’ll be branded as passé. If you’re too radical, they’ll say you’re weird. Finding the exact mix is the challenge to becoming well-received.

November 23, 2012

Lexus Manila Launches All-new LS

Lexus Manila unveiled the new 2012 LS model range, including the LS 460L 5-seater and 4-seater.

Following the recent GS and ES models, the new Lexus flagship is a bold blend of refinement and evolution. It incorporates powerful new styling featuring the Lexus spindle grille design, with enhanced driving dynamics and industry-leading technology.

Ford Continues Philippine Dealership Expansion with New Ford Pampanga, Ford Alabang

(L-R): Minnie Valencia, VP for Marketing and Sales, Paolo Borromeo and Max Borromeo, Dealer Principals, Matt Bradley, Ford ASEAN President and Randy Krieger, Ford Group Philippines President.
Ford Philippines today celebrated the continued expansion of its nationwide dealer network with the groundbreaking of the Ford Alabang dealership and the opening of the new Ford Pampanga dealership. Matt Bradley, president, Ford ASEAN, and Randy Krieger, president, Ford Philippines joined Ford’s dealer principals at both locations to help celebrate the milestones.

3M Car Wraps to be Featured at Manila Auto Salon

Auto enthusiasts have a treat in store at the upcoming 6th Manila Auto Salon, with the latest trend in vehicle customization through 3M Vehicle Wrap Film Series 1080. Exclusively distributed in the Philippines by Winterpine Marketing Corporation, 3M car wraps will be showcased through an on-site installation at their booth at the SMX Convention Center from November 29 to December 2, 2012.  As a special offer for Manila Auto Salon visitors, all bookings for a 3M full vehicle wrap will be offered at 50% discount.

In partnership with Motor Image Pilipinas, the exclusive distributor of Subaru in the Philippines, and Auto Trend, a premium car dealer, three outstanding vehicles will be customized with the 3M Vehicle Wrap Film for the exhibit.

November 22, 2012

First Drive: 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera S

There’s no shape more instantly recognizable than the silhouette of a Porsche 911. With its illustrious history going back to 1963, no other car has been the epitome of careful progress and evolution from the stables of Stuttgart in Germany. From tip to stern, the all-new 911 (internal designation 991) continues the legacy penned by Ferdinand “Butzi” Porsche but modernized with cutting-edge technology.

The all-new 911 is one of the biggest development steps in the history of the model. Almost 90 percent of components have been redeveloped including an all-new platform, only the third since the original 911. The new 911 grows 100 millimeters between the wheels and some 55 millimeters in overall length, but with shorter overhangs (minus 32 millimeters in front and 12 millimeters at the back) and a lower roofline than the previous model. Yet despite the increase in size, because the 911 predominantly uses aluminum in its construction, the new car is up to 50 kilograms lighter than before.

BMW 5 Series is Official Transport for 37th Consular Corps Ball

Asian Carmakers Corporation (ACC), the official importer and distributor of BMW cars in the Philippines, will serve as the official premium mobility sponsor of the 37th Consular Corps Ball which will be held on November 30. A fleet of 5 Series units will be used to shuttle VIP guests during the said event.

Volvo Comes Up with Automated Traffic Assistance System

Volvo Car Corporation has taken another step on the journey towards autonomous driving - self-driving vehicles - by demonstrating a new traffic jam assistance system. The new system, whereby the car automatically follows the vehicle in front in slow-moving queues up to 50 km/h, will be ready for production in 2014.

November 21, 2012

Food, Fun, and the Ford Focus: Two Unique Fuel Eco Runs

Photos by Ulysses Ang and Ford Philippines

Fuel economy runs have become dime-a-dozen for us in the motoring media. Whenever there’s an invite for one of these things, we put on a game face, all for the glory of which team sips the least fuel. The strategies and techniques for becoming the ultimate fuel miser are well-known that there are no “trade secrets” to speak of. In short, give us a list of who’s going on a fuel economy run, and we can tell which team will win even before the start flag’s waved.

Sensing this predictability, Ford Philippines has come up with two unique fuel economy runs designed not just to test the mettle of its newest compact, the Focus, but to bring out hidden talents of some in the motoring press.

Kia Fans to Play for New Apple iPad, Picanto

With more than 150 thousand ‘LIKES’, Kia Motors Philippines’ Facebook page just upped the ante for local and multinational brands who use the social media website for their digital marketing campaigns. Bringing ‘A Different Beat’ experience to its customers, Kia launched the Kia Beat Bop and Create Your Own Beat which allows their Facebook fans to play for a new iPad and even a Kia Picanto.

AVID January-October Sales Up 18%

The period January-October 2012 saw the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors, Inc. (AVID) post 18% growth in total sales to 24,004 units from the 20,340 units sold in the same period last year. Said growth can be attributed to strong sales in the Passenger Car (PC) segment, which went up by 29% and in the Light Commercial Vehicles (LCV) sales that grew by 5%. The launch of new models also provided the extra boost in sales, especially in the LCV category.

The positive sales performance was steered by British United Automobiles, Inc. (MINI), The Covenant Car Company, Inc. (Chevrolet) and Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc.’s newly launched models. Each member registered an overall increase of 41%, 23%, and 13% respectively.

November 20, 2012

Review: 2012 Toyota Camry 2.5 V

Photos by Ulysses Ang
No one’s denying that the Toyota Camry is the perfect choice for the executive. Aside from a company car friendly price tag, the Camry’s got all the toys for high levels of passenger pampering and promises one of the lowest maintenance cost in its class. If there’s one complaint that almost everyone levels at the Camry, it’s this: it lacks any sort of driver involvement. However, even that’s changed with the all-new model.

Manila Auto Salon 2012: Racing with Legends

Manila’s premiere styling and tuning show, the 6th MANILA AUTO SALON opens its gates again on November 29 to December 2, 2012 at the SMX Convention Center , Mall of Asia in Pasay City with a legendary twist.

“Racing With Legends” is a documentary, which for the first time ever, shows the great racing events that transpired during the Golden Age of Philippine motor sports and tells about the pioneering spirits of the race car drivers and organizers of that special era.

November 19, 2012

Hyundai Enters Q4 with 13% Growth Fueled by Passenger Car Sales

Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI), the official distributor of Hyundai vehicles in the Philippines, opens Q4 with overall sales up by 13% to 18,818 units sold from January to October, as opposed to 16,705 units in the same period last year.  While total sales of the Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) segment declined by 12%, vehicles under the Passenger Car (PC) segment hoisted sales with 11,593 units sold, 37% better than the 8,474 units sold from January to October in 2011. This positive performance was due to the impressive sales of the Accent and EON.

Meanwhile, October alone saw a drop in sales by 9% with 1,662 units sold, due to the delayed unit arrivals of some models, as compared to the 1,822 units sold in the same month last year. Although PC sales in this month experienced a slowdown in sales, LCV sales grew by 28% due to the timely arrival of units of the all-new Santa Fe.

Mitsubishi Motor Philippines Launches Mirage

Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation is adding more fun and excitement to its vehicle lineup as it introduces the all-new Mirage. The all-new Mirage is a global car developed on the concepts of high fuel efficiency, affordability and compactness. Produced in Mitsubishi Motors Thailand, this global car features excellent fuel economy, very environment friendly with very low carbon emission, optimized equipment for exceptional value and most of all it is fun and easy to drive. The all-new Mirage is available in GLX and GLS variants with both 5-speed manual transmission and Continuously Variable transmissions to choose from.

Toyota Motor Philippines Sets New Sales Record in October

Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) finished the month of October with another record breaking performance. This was the 2nd time this year (after July’s 6,258) that the manufacturer has registered a milestone sales level. Based on the most recent CAMPI report, Toyota Motor Philippines tallied 6,946 units, the highest any manufacturer in the country has ever registered in a single month.

Mitsubishi Mirage Philippine Launch: The Video

This is perhaps one of the most innovative launches in recent memory for a car in the Philippines. Using the Microtel Hotel near Mall of Asia as a screen, Mitsubishi playfully projected moving images of its Mirage going through its paces. Here's wishing we'll get more launches like these!

Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force a Look at G-Class of the Future

At the Los Angeles Design Challenge 2012, Mercedes-Benz is presenting its Ener-G-Force Concept, a cool design study that shows off what a G-Class will look like in 2025. And according to Gorden Wagener, Director of Design at Mercedes-Benz Cars, it proves a clue about a "new beginning for the off-road design idiom of Mercedes-Benz".

How Porsche Re-Manufactures Classic Emblems: Video

Porsche Classic is now willing to sell reproduced emblems for early 911 or 356 models. Of course, what makes it even more spectacular is the level of detail they go through just for one of these crests.

November 18, 2012

Petron Officially Launches "Passion for Porsche" Promo

The big boys of the Petron  basketball team have caught the “Passion for Porsche” fever!   In photo are (L-R): Chris Lutz with the red Porsche Cayman and the silver Porsche Cayenne; Danny Ildefonso holding the white Porsche GT3 RSR available starting December 1; and JunMar Fajardo with the blue Porsche Panamera and the black Porsche Carrera.

These Porsche collectible toy cars are offered in the “Petron Passion for Porsche” promo, which runs from November 1, 2012 to January 31, 2o13.  For every P1,000-worth of Petron Blaze, XCS, Xtra Unleaded, Turbo Diesel or Diesel Max purchase, a Petron customer can avail of a Porsche collectible toy car for only P180.

Manila Auto Salon 2012: Big Guns Collide Again

Manila’s premiere styling and tuning show, the 6th MANILA AUTO SALON starts the big guns firing on November 29 to December 2, 2012 at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia in Pasay City. Again the Big Guns are expected to collide as the show begins in the garages of the top tuning shops in the country.

“Every year the collisions are more intense and the crowd sees more and more talent, in terms of designs, configurations, and out-of-the box thinking” explains organizer Tradeshow International President, Sophie de los Santos. “The drama for the show begins at the tuning shops as they strategize for the win.”

Petron Announces Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Promo Winners

Two very lucky ladies spent the recent holidays watching the spectacular Formula One Grand Prix live at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi from November 2-4, 2012.

Cheryl Lancero of Dasmariñas, Cavite, and Catherine Liwag of Sampaloc, Manila, both businesswomen, were two of the thousands who joined the Petron “Blaze Your Way to the Grand Prix” promo. Running from July 15 to September 15, 2012, the promo was open to all Petron customers who used their MasterCards to purchase P2,000 worth of Petron fuels, Petron lubricants, or Petron Gasul from participating Petron stations, and registering a unique code in the official Petron Facebook page (

Subaru Launches Forester in Japan: Video

Watch how Subaru launched their Forester in a very unique fashion in Japan using the cars as screens. The effect is you see the car being "assembled" on stage. It makes for a great start to the week :-)

November 13, 2012

UPDATED: Official: Subaru Releases 2014 Forester Details

After countless spy photos, speculations, and even clandestine photos taken from Subaru's stockyard, Subaru has finally released details on their all-new 2014 Forester which is slated to debut in Japan on November 13 and for the North American market at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Review: 2012 Ford Mustang GT Premium 5.0 V8

Photos by Ulysses Ang
It’s only November, and I already feel like a child anticipating Christmas morning, waiting with hope and trepidation to drive the Ford Mustang. Although I’ve already driven it a couple of times in the past, there’s really something about the Mustang that draws me to it. This is certainly one of those cars I wish I’d get my hands on sooner, but I’ve had the hotly-anticipated car pulled from under my nose more than once due to schedule changes. I made offerings to whatever gods I could find on the internet and waited for my day or should I say, week behind the wheel. Apparently, my karma was in good shape as a bright Race Red Ford Mustang GT finally greeted me on my driveway.

This is, by far, one of the most powerful cars I’ve ever come across with. The Ford Mustang is not only a frighteningly potent car (the mere mention of its 420 horsepower V8 was enough to whiten my knuckles), it’s a clear sign that the folks working at Ford Philippines are true car enthusiasts who wanted to bring the iconic muscle car back to the country.

Honda Sneak Peeks Civic Redesign for 2013

After disappointing reviews and feed back from both critics and buyers alike, Honda has re-designed its ninth-generation Civic for 2013 (at least for the North American market). Full details and more photos will be available at its reveal at the Los Angeles Auto Show, but here's what we already know:

November 12, 2012

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series: Video

Mercedes-Benz has launched the first video of its new SLS AMG Black Series and its 622 horsepower V8 engine. Enjoy this minute-long video of the new 315 km/h super car. It's a great way to start the week!

Ford Ranger Wins International Pick-Up Award 2013

The new Ford Ranger has won the "International Pick-Up Award 2013" making it the third international award Ford has won this year.

Every member of the judging panel ranked the new Ranger as their number one choice; praising its performance on- and off-road, strong engine line-up, payload and towing capability, and safety.

November 9, 2012

Mazda to Produce Toyota Vehicles at Mexico Plant

Mazda Motor Corporation has just announced that it will be building Toyota vehicles at the Mazda plant in Mexico. The manufacturing facility, which is currently under construction, will produce a Toyota-brand vehicle for sale mainly in North America. The sub-compact Toyota will be based off the Mazda2 and will start production around the summer of 2015 at a pace of 50,000 units per year.

Mazda's plant in Mexico is scheduled to start production by March 2014 with Toyota investing an "appropriate" portion of production equipment costs and development costs related to the Toyota vehicle and also an appropriate portion of costs related to the plant's production capacity increase.

Currently, the Mazda Mexico plant is scheduled to produce the Mazda2 and Mazda3 vehicles with an annual capacity of 140,000 units.

This could mean we'll see all-new Mazda2 before the summer of 2015 (perhaps as early as late 2013 or 2014), and that the all-new Toyota Yaris will be relegated to service in Europe and Asia while Toyota will be getting their own sub-compact car.

Petron Offers "Passion for Porsche" Promotion

Petron, the country’s leading oil company, is offering sports car lovers the opportunity to have their very own collection of Porsche toy cars through the “Petron Passion for Porsche” promo, beginning November 1, 2012.

For only P1,000-worth of fuel purchase, using a single or accumulated receipts, a Petron customer can avail of a Porsche collectible toy car for only P180.  Four models will be offered initially—a black Porsche Carrera, a red Porsche Cayman, a blue Porsche Panamera, and a silver Porsche Cayenne. To complete your set of 5, the white Porsche GT3 RSR will be available starting December 1, 2012.

Philippine Car Price Guide: November 2012

We're nearing the end of the year and you know what that means: not much new cars. Nonetheless, there are some new additions to the November 2012 edition of the Philippine Car Price Guide as well as several price adjustments. Here are some to name a few:
  • Chevrolet Traiblazer
  • Great Wall Haval H5
  • Great Wall Voleex C30
  • Great Wall Wingle
  • Hyundai Genesis Coupe (FL)
  • Isuzu D-MAX LS 4WD
  • Kia Sportage 2.0 EX CRDi 2WD
  • Peugeot 508
  • Peugeot 3008
  • Peugeot 5008
  • Peugeot RCZ
  • Subaru WRX STI 4DR A-Line

November 8, 2012

Ford Posts Best-Ever Monthly Sales in Philippines

Ford Philippines today reported that October represented its all-time best monthly performance, with strong demand across all nameplates driving overall retail sales up by 50 percent year-over-year to 1,248 units.

The record month was given a significant boost by the best-ever month for the Ford Ranger pickup, as the class-defining all-new Ranger delivered sales that jumped 213 percent from the previous generation truck last year to 282 units.

American Suzuki Goes Bankrupt Pulls Out of US Car Market; Mitsubishi Next?

American Suzuki Motor Corporation, the sole distributor of Suzuki automobiles in the US has announced that it's pulling out of the US car market and has filled for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Citing low sales volumes, limited number of models in its line-up, unfavorable foreign exchange rates, among others, Suzuki will cease to sell cars and trucks in the US market after stocks are depleted and instead will re-align their business solely on motorcycles, ATVs, and watercraft.

Hyundai/Kia Admit to Exaggerated Mileage Claims in US

A probe done by the US-based Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has concluded that Hyundai and Kia have both been found guilty of exaggerating a majority of their vehicle's fuel economy claims for the 2012 and 2013 model years. Apparently, the EPA estimates that this practice has been done since late 2010. As such, both of these Korean automakers will compensate the owners of some 900,000 vehicles sold under the now false claims.

Volvo Philippines Takes Customer Service to New Level with Volvo Service 2.0

Volvo Philippines continues to go full throttle as it takes the concept of customer service to a new level. In addition to the obvious offerings from the Volvo workshop – such as Volvo Genuine Parts, Volvo methods and internationally trained Volvo technicians – the Volvo dealer has a complete service offering where the customer is always in focus. A fully integrated offer, Volvo Service 2.0 offers the Volvo owner something new, and something more than what others are offering.

November 6, 2012

Subaru to Hold Kansha Festival on November 14-18

Motor Image Pilipinas (MIP), the exclusive distributor of Subaru vehicles in the country, along with its authorized dealers will hold it’s much awaited annual Kansha Festival from November 14 -18, 2012 at all of its showrooms. Also known as Subaru customer appreciation week, the Kansha festival is originally a celebration adapted from the Japanese “Kinro Kansha no Hi” or Labor Thanksgiving Day.

In observance of this holiday in Japan, Motor Image will be using the same theme by giving away exclusive offers on selected Subaru vehicles, accessories, parts, aftersales service and even Subaru Lifestyle merchandise items which will only be offered only during the campaign week.

Mitsubishi to Celebrate Mirage Launch with 'Mirage Music Festival and Expo' on November 16

Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation (MMPC) is pleased to announce the much awaited launch of the all-new Mitsubishi Mirage on November 16.  With this, MMPC will be treating its valued customers and the general public to a night filled with fun and awesome music as it holds the Mirage Music Festival at the SM Mall of Asia Concert Grounds.  Simply as exciting as driving home the all-new Mirage, MMPC promises you to experience an overwhelming night of surprises and an array good music from some of the country’s top OPM bands such as Pupil, General Luna, Up Dharma Down, Urbandub and a lot more.

Aside from the superb band lineup for the Mirage Music Festival, MMPC will also giveaway exciting raffle prizes such as iPads, Toshiba Netbook, Toshiba LCD TVs, and cool Mirage exclusives such as T-shirts, Mirage USB drives and wireless PC mouse.

Philippine Hyundai Technicians Win in First Hyundai Global Service Competition

Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI), the official distributor of Hyundai vehicles in the Philippines, proudly announces that two Filipino Service Advisors (SA) from the HARI dealership network won top honors at the 1st Hyundai Service Advisor Championship. Mr. Eduard de Guzman, who landed among the top 10 finalists, and Mr. Rommel Agpoon, stood out from among 62 participants from 44 countries to bag the Outstanding Skills and Recognized Skills Awards respectively, exhibiting Hyundai's continued commitment to service excellence.

Review: 2012 Chevrolet Colorado LTZ 4x4 M/T

Photos by Ulysses Ang
Car engineers and designers work on new products three to five years before the eventual market versions show up on the showroom floor. For Chevrolet, this would mean they’ve been carefully crafting and honing their Colorado pick-up as early as 2007; and at the time, the pick-up market was vastly different. Pick-ups were small, simple, and largely uncomfortable.

Boy, how times have changed. Fast-forward to today and pick-ups have become more of everyday vehicles: it transports the kids to school and the wife to work while still being able to do a bit of hauling every now and then. For all intents and purposes, buyers are now looking at pick-ups as alternatives to compact crossovers especially given the higher cost of unleaded gasoline as well as the poor condition of Philippine roads and their propensity to flash flood. In this regard, Chevrolet was caught napping.