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December 27, 2012

Honda's Forest Restoration Program Now on 3rd Year

Honda group of companies composed of Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI), Honda Philippines Inc. (HPI), Honda Parts and Manufacturing Corporation (HPMC) and Honda Trading Philippines (HTP) under its corporate social responsibility arm, the Honda Foundation Inc. has conducted its 3rd year of reforestation program in partnership with Haribon Foundation to support Road to 2020 project.

December 26, 2012

Top 5 Picks for 2012

Photos by Ulysses Ang

CarGuide.PH deals with anything and everything automotive with the Philippines. So, things wouldn’t be complete without our very own Top 5 Picks of the year. We’ve reviewed and featured quite a number of new cars on CarGuide.PH so picking just five outstanding vehicles launched in 2012 is hard business. At the same time, take note that these cars are mainstream vehicles, so don’t expect anything north of PHP 6-million to appear in this list.

Anyway, the list starts after the break and find out our Top 5 Picks of 2012 in preferential order.

Subaru XV Rolls Off Production Line in Malaysia

Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FHI), the maker of Subaru automobiles, announced that it has started production of the Subaru XV crossover SUV at a Malaysian assembly plant of Tan Chong Motor Assemblies Sdn. Bhd (TCMA), an automotive assembly company of Tan Chong Group. The official ceremony to mark the production start was held at the TCMA plant on December 19. The attendees included honored guests from the Malaysian government including Y.B Dato' Mukhriz Tun Mahathir, Deputy Minister of Ministry of International Trade and Industry and representatives from FHI and Tang Chong Group as well as Subaru / Tan Chong team members of Subaru's CKD (Completely Knocked Down) production project.

Final Lexus LFA Rolls Out

On December 14, a white LFA Nürburgring Package, the last of the 500 planned LFA supercars, left TMC's dedicated production facility at the Motomachi Plant, Aichi Prefecture.

This marks the end of a key chapter for Lexus, one in which people's perceptions and understanding of the brand have been challenged, and perhaps changed forever.

December 25, 2012

Review: 2012 Suzuki SX4 Crossover

Photos by Ulysses Ang
Success plays mind games on people. Sometimes, it pushes you to do greater things; and sometimes it makes you complacent and makes you do silly things. Take Mel Gibson for example: he may have made a dramatic film about the passion and death of Jesus Christ only to have himself booked for drunk driving, battery and whatever else bad boy thing he does nowadays. Mr. Gibson should learn from the folks over at Suzuki Philippines where the success of the Swift sub-compact has made them climb the automotive food chain slowly, but surely. Now, they’ve set their sights on the compact car segment with their SX4. It may be a pretty tall order considering that the SX4 has a wheelbase shorter than even the Honda City. But, there’s more here than meets the eye.

Merry Christmas from CarGuide.PH!

To all our readers and supporters,

A very Merry and Blessed Christmas to all of you. Thank you so much for all the support you have given this blog through the year and I hope you will continue supporting and reading it through the years to come!

And if you were out partying last night, always remember...don't drink and drive. Stay safe and enjoy the rest of the holidays!


December 24, 2012

Ford Awards Focus to "Start It. Share It. Win It." Campaign

Ford Philippines announced the winner for its innovative consumer pre-launch campaign, ‘All-New Ford Focus…Start it. Share it. Win it.’ and delivered the grand prize – an all-new Focus Titanium+ – in a handover ceremony at the Ford Cainta dealership. The other nine finalists each received a brand new Apple iPad.

The winner, Maria Patriz De Vera Dumlao, a 23-year-old Information Technology professional from Quezon City, received the most votes for her Start it. Share it. Win it. video capturing her reaction to the smart technologies of the all-new Focus. Over 1,500 votes were cast by the general public for the top ten finalists of the campaign.

Video: Fastest Christmas Song in the World

Leave it to BMW to inject a sense of humor to caroling a Christmas Song. This is perhaps the best way to start the festive week ahead!

December 21, 2012

Champions Win on Michelin: Race of Champions 2012

BANGKOK, THAILAND—In motorsports, with its various series and variety of cars—some with fenders, some without, some that go on dirt, some on pavement, some with two wheels—crowing a “champion of champions” was once purely a matter of speculation. These days, there’s the Race of Champions—the brainchild of rally legend Michèle Mouton and events production company IMP.

AVID Posts 14% Growth as of November 2012

The Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors (AVID) registers a 14% growth from January to November, with 26,272 units sold from 23,012 units in the same period last year. The Passenger Car (PC) segment lifted overall sales by 21% to 15,320 units sold versus 12,660 units in the prior year. This sustained positive sales performance was attributed to British United Automobiles, Inc. (MINI), The Covenant Car Company Inc. (Chevrolet), and Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI) by an increase of 28%, 23% and 8% respectively.

Ford Offers Santa a Green Ride with EcoBoost-Powered Sleigh Concept

Leading Car Company Ford is offering to make it a greener Christmas with a concept sleigh that would dramatically downsize Santa’s carbon footprint.

Santa’s new ride, packed with cutting-edge Ford technology, would allow Rudolph and friends to enjoy a well-deserved retirement while Santa makes his annual deliveries with style in an environmentally friendly new sleigh.

December 19, 2012

Hyundai Previews Accent CRDi, Sales Start Q1 2013

Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI), the official distributor of Hyundai in the Philippines, made the Christmas season even more brilliant with its exclusive preview of the Accent hatchback during a series of Christmas celebrations themed: “Sharing the Filipino Brilliance.” Displayed in all its green glory at Hyundai’s Christmas events, the Accent hatchback signaled once more Hyundai’s passion to bring even greater brilliance in the lives of Filipino motorists for the coming year.

All-New 2013 Toyota RAV4 PHL Specs and Pricing Revealed

Toyota Motor Philippines can’t seem to contain their excitement as they previewed the all-new 2012 RAV4 on the same day as their Toyota Media Christmas Luncheon. Although the unit wasn’t there in the flesh or were any indications about final pricing, they did hand out a brochure which sheds some light about Toyota’s compact crossover.

Here are some details contained in their official brochure (full brochure scan below):

Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Records All-Time Monthly Sales in November

Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. (MMPC) closed November 2012 recording the highest monthly sales since 1995.  In the November 2012 combined Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (CAMPI) and Truck Manufacturers’ Association (TMA) report, MMPC registered total sales of 3,840 units capturing a 23.1% market share and keeping a strong post as the second industry leader in country. November 2012 sales also went up to 37.1% as compared to October were MMPC sold a total of 2,800 units. MMPC’s year to date sales of 31,551 units reflected a 4.6% growth as compared to the same 11 months last year.

Toyota Records Highest Sales Total in 1st 11 Months

Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) today announced that it has already broke its highest annual sales in just the 1st 11 months of the year.  Based on the most recent CAMPI report, TMP sold a total 58,890 units (including Lexus) with a 34.6% market share.

Moreover, the Manufacturer is poised to take home its 11th consecutive Triple Crown with the top spot in the Passenger Car Segment (30.8% Market Share), Commercial Vehicle segment (36.8% Market Share) and overall sales.

BMW Inaugurates new Xavier University Tech Complex

Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan, in cooperation with Asian Carmakers Corporation (ACC), the official importer and distributor of BMW cars in the Philippines recently held the inauguration ceremony of the Jose Ch. Alvarez (JCA) Technology Complex. The JCA Technology Complex, the new home of Xavier University Center for Integrated Technologies (XU-CIT), is set to be the leading institution for technical education in Northern Mindanao.

Volvo Invests in Next-Generation Platform, Underpins XC90 in 2014

Volvo Car Group's future as a strong, independent car maker based in Sweden is now being reinforced with a multi-billion dollar investment in Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) and Volvo Engine Architecture (VEA). The main part of the two projects will be carried out in Sweden, constituting one of Sweden's largest ever industrial investments.

December 18, 2012

Review: 2012 Honda Jazz 1.5 V

Photos by Ulysses Ang
Editor’s Note: Welcome to “Short Cuts”, where we re-visit cars we’ve driven and reviewed in an in-depth manner in the past. The cars featured in Short Cuts are simply additional variants and/or minor refreshes of models we’ve driven before, so we’ll cut to the chase and drill it down for you. Of course, we’ll give you a link to our full-blown review for your reference.

December 17, 2012

The Modern Cartographer: An Interview with Google's Lalitesh Katragadda on Mapping Asia

Photo by Ulysses Ang
Cartography or mapmaking has always been regarded as a skill that requires equal parts science, aesthetics, and technique. In fact, cartography builds in the premise that reality can be modeled in ways that can communicate spatial information effectively.

The earliest form of maps was devised by the Babylonians, where it depicted Babylon as the center of the world. As crude and simple as it was, it soon brought about larger maps oftentimes lifting material from past works because of cartography’s sheer physical undertaking and difficulty. Since then, cartography became a more exacting practice thanks to the use of compass for navigation and mechanical devices like the quadrant and vernier for more accurate reproduction.

December 13, 2012

Traveling with Your Fur Babies: Safety with Dogs

Photos by Ulysses Ang & Bubbles Ang
Traveling safely with children is a widely discussed topic, so there’s little need to reiterate its importance, especially since they’re your most precious cargo. But in case you still don’t get it, here’s a simple mantra to live by: “buckle up and children below 13 in the back”; these are very simple steps, but steps nonetheless that can help save a life.

But how about when it comes to another kind of baby, the furry kind? Today, it’s not out of the ordinary to have dog owners treat their four-legged companions as members of the family and not just the typical bantay or guard dog. It’s a common sight to see a Shih Tzu or two traveling by car just to frolic in a dog-friendly park or mall. Most dogs love to ride in cars, but just like children, there’s actually a proper way to ensure your furry baby’s safety and comfort when traveling. Here’s a simple visual do’s and don’ts guide:

December 12, 2012

HARI Partners with Synergeia for Education Reform in Mindanao

HARI Foundation, Inc. (HFI), the corporate social responsibility arm of Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI), the official distributor of Hyundai in the Philippines, proudly formalized its funding support for Synergeia Foundation, one of the country’s innovative crusaders for quality education for children through a memorandum of agreement (MOA) signing last November 17, 2012 in Cagayan de Oro to underwrite its commitment to improving the access to and quality of basic education in Mindanao through its new “Hyundai Embraces Lanao’s Partnership or HELP for Education” Program.

December 11, 2012

Philippine Car Price Guide: December 2012

This is the December edition of the Philippine Car Price Guide. Since it's already the end of the year, there's not much that's changed from the previous months. Still, there are some manufacturers which have introduced some 2013 models and so they feature this month:
  • Honda City Modulo
  • Honda Civic Modulo
  • Honda CR-V (2013 models)
  • Honda Jazz Modulo
  • Nissan Almera
  • Lexus LFA
  • Lexus LS
  • Peugeot (price adjustment)

In addition, we're including links to cars we've tested. Some cars are actually clickable and they'll take you straight to our test drive. How neat is that?

Review: 2012 Hyundai Tucson GLS 2WD

Photos by Ulysses Ang
About a decade ago, the bulk of automotive sales was comprised of compact sedans. Think Toyota Corolla; Honda Civic; Mitsubishi Lancer and Nissan Sentra. But soon, a great sales paradigm shift happened, and pretty soon, every car manufacturer had a crossover in their line-up. Though they stood on the very same platform that underpinned compact sedans, crossovers are regarded as a status symbol and combined with its higher ground clearance, ‘command seating position’ and flexible interior meant everyone had or wanted a crossover.

Ford Philippines Reports 2nd Best Month Ever

Ford Philippines today reported overall retail sales that rose 46 percent year-over-year to 1,225 units – representing its second-best ever monthly performance, following record sales in October.

The strong November performance was led by an all-time record month for the Ford Ranger pickup, with the all-new Ranger delivering retail sales of 344 units.

December 10, 2012

Nissan Almera Arrives at Dealerships, Officially Launching January 2013

To welcome the festive holiday season this year, Nissan Motor Philippines, Inc. (NMPI) announced that the all-new Nissan Almera will arrive at all Nissan dealerships nationwide starting December 14.

Though NMPI’s newest compact sedan will be officially launched in January 2013, customers will be able to see and experience the vehicle’s class-leading comfort and space, as well as upscale design coupled with great functionality. For those who will avail of the early reservation, NMPI is also offering a free and exclusive accessory package, which includes chrome side molding, exhaust finisher and chrome front lower grille finisher.

Google to Bring Next Billion People Online

Photo by Ulysses Ang
SINGAPORE—Twelve years ago, the internet was seen as a tool for the wealthy and the privileged. Today, being ‘connected’ is seen as a necessity and in some countries, a basic right. Times have changed, and Google seems to be taking the lead as the company outlines its vision to bring the next billion people online.

Volvo Offers 12 More Reasons to Celebrate This Season

‘Tis the season to celebrate as Volvo Philippines shares more reasons to be merry. This December, whatever your interests are, there’s a gift waiting for you for every purchase of a brand new Volvo from December 1 – 31, 2012. Choose one among the twelve gift selections that were carefully thought out to fit your lifestyle.

CarGuide.PH Wins at 12th Henry Ford Awards!

Ford Philippines celebrated its 12th Annual Henry Ford Awards (HFA) by recognizing outstanding work and contributions in automotive journalism. A total of 12 awards were given out in eight regular categories and four special categories.

Ford Philippines Announces Retirement of Its Chairman

Ford Group Philippines announced that its Chairman, Henry Co, will retire at the end of December, closing a remarkable career of more than 14 years of dedicated service to the company.

Co first joined Ford in 1997 as Manufacturing Director of Ford Motor Company Philippines, and later moved to Bangkok, Thailand where he served as Business Office Director for Ford ASEAN.

December 6, 2012

Rolex is Official Formula 1 Timekeeper from 2013

Rolex has just been announced as the official timekeeper of Formula 1 from the 2013 season onwards.

The deal was announced as a long-term partnership between Formula 1 and Rolex. As a result, Rolex will provide the time in different locations during each grand prix weekend. At the same time, the Rolex logo will be positioned around the circuit and at several corners during the Formula 1 races.

Honda Cars Philippines Updates CR-V for 2013

The final pieces of the Thai puzzle are finally in place as Honda Cars Philippines has announced the availability of the Thai-built CR-Vs starting today at all Honda dealerships nationwide. While the Japan-made CR-V models dubbed 2.0 LX and 2.4 EX are available for a limited and at a discount (P 100,000 for the 2.0 LX and P 130,000 for the 2.4 EX), the arrival of the Thai-built CR-V means more variants, more features, and of course, a cheaper price tag.

Mazda CX-5 is Japan Car of the Year 2012-2013

Mazda Motor Corporation’s compact crossover SUV, the CX-5 has been named the 2012-2013 Car of the Year Japan. The award was announced by the Japan Car of the Year committee on November 29, 2012.

The CX-5 was the first model to adopt the full suite of Mazda’s SKYACTIV technologies including the engine, transmission, body and chassis. It offers a predictable and refined driving experience together with outstanding environmental and safety performance. It is also the first model to fully embody Mazda’s new design theme, KODO–Soul of Motion. With finely-honed vitality and dynamism, its styling is reminiscent of a cheetah about to pounce on its prey.

AVID and DOST Engage in Iconic Collaboration

The Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors (AVID), a private, non-stock, non-profit business association pioneered by 11 leading automotive firms representing 20 world-class brands in the Philippines, signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the premiere science and technology body in the country, to formalize their partnership in launching the Innovation Congress, dubbed iCON, early in 2013.

Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid Scores Highest Safety Score for Electrified Car

Volvo Car Group has a philosophy that an electrified car should be as safe as any other new Volvo car. This is now highlighted by the latest Euro NCAP results. The new Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid has achieved the highest- ever score for a plug-in hybrid. The five stars in the recent test, which included a frontal offset collision at 64km/h (40 mph) demonstrates that the V60 Plug-in Hybrid has the same high safety level as the standard V60.

UPDATED: The Wait is Over: Subaru BRZ is in the Philippines

Hot on the heels of their 59 percent growth rate year-on-year, Motor Image Pilipinas, the country’s official distributor of Subaru automobiles has finally declared that “the wait is over” as they pulled the wraps off their much awaited, much anticipated Subaru BRZ sports car just last night in an edgy, young launch party for owners and media.

December 4, 2012

Review: 2012 Chevrolet Sonic LTZ Sedan

Photos by Ulysses Ang
Whether Chevrolet likes it or not, the Sonic story actually starts with the Aveo, a cheap and crummy sub-compact from parent General Motors’ Korean subsidiary, Daewoo. It certainly was cheap for its time, but it wasn’t cheerful in any sense of the word. It was one unsatisfying car to drive with a dismal design and abysmal driving dynamics. It was so bad that Chevrolet’s micro car, the Spark, was a much better drive.

That was 2004.