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Monday, January 7, 2013

40 Cars to Watch Out For in 2013: Part 1 of 4

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.

1.    Audi A3 (Certainty: 80%)

It’s been relatively quiet for the Audi A3 thanks to all the promotions done to its smaller brother, the A1. Don’t fret though as an all-new A3 should arrive by first quarter 2013 and it may sport a shockingly different body style: a four-door sedan. Because the A4 is growing larger with each succeeding generation, Audi finally saw an opportunity to beef up the A3 line by introducing a more conservative body style. Power comes from a range of small displacement four-cylinder engines capped off by a 2.0-liter TDI engine. If Audi decides to bring in the A3 though, it could also arrive as a five-door hatchback.

2.    Audi Q3 (Certainty: 100%)

Having already done its exclusive preview to potential customers and VIP clients, all that’s left is for Audi to formally launch the Q3 compact crossover (it’s already in plain sight at their showrooms, not to mention the topic of a huge billboard on EDSA). Compared to the Q5 and Q7 which are positioned more for family practicality and some off-road performance, the Q3 is aimed as more of a lifestyle or sportier crossover. It’s almost a foot shorter (254 mm to be exact) than the Q5 and is available with a range of four cylinder engines fed with either petrol or diesel.

3.    Bentley (Certainty: 100%)

Another brand is expected to join the PGA Cars, Inc. portfolio. Luxury automaker, Bentley, is set to formally enter the Philippine market. After some sneak peeks and previews via foreign test drives, the “Winged B” badge will open its showroom very soon. In fact, peering at the PGA Cars headquarters on EDSA reveals a very non-descript “Bentley” written on the signage. Look forward to the arrival of cars such as the Bentley Mulsanne, Continental Flying Spur, and Continental GT in all its bespoke form and luxury.

4.    BMW 4 Series (Certainty: 30%)

BMW is continuing its product diversification by spawning the 3 Series Coupe and Cabriolet into the 4 Series. A “concept” version is gracing the BMW stand at the 2013 North American International Auto Show but expect it to be the production version, albeit lightly disguised. It should make the transition between concept to production car in mere months and perhaps it will arrive in the Philippines in the latter half of the year. It rides on the same platform as the 3 Series, but it looks wider and lower (well, at least in photographs). Drivetrain choices will most likely echo the 3 Series.

5.    Changan (Certainty: 90%)

After years of selling Super Carry knock-offs, Chana is set to reemerge as Changan. Now distributed by Tan Chong International Limited, the parent company of Motor Image, the Subaru Philippine distributor, Changan is taking a different approach by offering Changan’s passenger car line-up instead. Although details are still sketchy as to their final product line-up, expect cars such as the CX20 compact crossover, CX30 compact sedan, and Eado mid-sized sedan to grace the first Philippine Changan showroom in Manila Bay by the second half of 2013.

6.    Chevrolet Spin (Certainty: 60%)

Already launched in other ASEAN markets such as Indonesia (where it’s made), Chevrolet would be foolish not to consider sending the Spin over to do battle with the likes of the Toyota Avanza and Suzuki APV. Designed and engineered for emerging markets, the Spin has the right ingredients for success:  an available 7-seater configuration, a highly flexible interior with no less than 23 different configurations, a large 1,668 liter carrying capacity, and a compact footprint. Families will also love the 32 accessories pockets in the Spin’s interior and the optional headrest-mounted DVD screens. Plus, it’s powered by a more potent 1.8-liter engine which can be mated to either a five-speed manual, or get this, a six-speed automatic! There’s a high level of certainty given a couple of motoring journalists actually attended the global unveil in Brazil last year.

7.    Chevrolet Trax (Certainty: 40%)

One of the fastest growing segments in the Philippines, and the world for that matter, is the mini crossover segment. Hopefully, Chevrolet can fill a sizable void in its line-up by introducing the Trax, a global mini crossover that slots below the 7-seater Captiva. Riding on the Sonic’s platform and powered by a choice between 1.4- and 1.6-liter engines, the Trax could be what Chevrolet’s waiting for. Of course, the Trax will only make economic sense if it’s going to be built in Thailand (it’s currently only assembled in Korea).

8.    Chrysler / Dodge / Jeep

Things will be relatively quiet at Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep for 2013 as these brands are in the middle of a global repositioning thanks to their acquisition by Italian automotive giant, Fiat. Look instead for a strong 2014 with an expanded line-up that integrates some Lancia, Fiat, and even Maserati-derived automobiles including the all-new large crossover that replaces the Town & Country MPV (codenamed 700C). For 2013, the Jeep Grand Cherokee will see a minor facelift which is limited mostly to work on the exterior lights and grille. Car enthusiasts will still pray for the arrival of the Dodge Dart, but given the local niche positioning of these brands, this will be highly unlikely. What’s more likely is to see one or two SRT Vipers being imported as a special indent.

9.    Ferrari F12berlinetta (Certainty: 100%)

What’s Ferrari without their trademark V12 supercar? Already previewed to some motoring press last year, the Ferrari F12berlinetta (yes, it’s spelled that way) replaces the 599 as the Prancing Horse’s top tier sports car. It will most likely sneak its way into Ferrari’s local showroom without a formal launch, but its 6.3-liter V12 (good for 730 horsepower and 690 Nm of torque) should create some worthy headlines. 100 km/h is obliterated in just 3.1 seconds and 200 km/h is gone in just 8.5 seconds. Yet, it’s 30 percent more fuel efficient than the 599. Inside, the F12berlinetta features “Frau leather” upholstery with aluminum and carbon fiber trim.

10.    Ford EcoSport (Certainty: 50%)

Ford won’t be bringing local motoring peeps to the New Delhi Auto Expo last year if it wasn’t seriously bringing in the EcoSport mini crossover into the ASEAN market, including the Philippines. 2013 will see the EcoSport move from concept to production. However, the earliest it will arrive for sale in the Philippines would be late 2013, if at all. Still, expect some fireworks thanks to its Fiesta-based platform and the availability of a turbocharged 1.0-liter 3-cylinder engine with 118 horsepower and 170 Nm of torque figures which are very close to a 1.6- or even 1.8-liter engine.


  1. any estimated price for the audi Q3?

  2. It was announced that the EcoSport will be the next Ford to be built in Thailand.
    There are spy photos of EcoSports testung in Thailand.

    Looks like they will follow the same launch pattern as the Fiesta and Focus. My guess... ASEAN debut early in the year (Bangkok Motor Show?), go on sale in Thailand mid year followed by the local Philippine debut around August - October.

    1. Hi AM. Yes, you got your timings right. We're very much expecting the EcoSport to likely debut at the Bangkok Motor Show and then launch in the PHL by late this year. Hopefully.


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