Here are some significant vehicles that are hits, and don't doubt why other brands are not here since they are not CAMPI (Chamber of Automobile Manufacturers of the Philippines) members.
Lines of convertibles and sedans make up the BMW booth, with some of them sport the M line kits which add beauty and a touch of sportiness to them. New releases for 2012 is the recently launched 3 Series, which I think stayed loyal to its driver's car philosophy. With that in mind, expect an E90 3 Series (sold in 2005-2012) used car review by next year.
|Lines of BMW drop tops, shown is a Z4|
|Lines of BMW's without removing the roof.|
|BMW 3 Series with M Performance kit|
Firing the American manufacturer who has recovered from the Global Financial Crisis year ago are the introduction of the Dodge Charger R/T Redline concept and the Jeep Wranger Call of Duty: MW3 Special Edition (which is available in limited quantities) and the CRDi version. While the Chrysler 300 and Town and Country, and the Dodge Durango were also displayed. Things are getting exciting for the Pentastar brand.
|Dodge Charger R/T Redline concept|
First things first, Daewoo Bus is a separate entity from the Korean carmaker who had gained prominence locally in the 90s. And while the carmaker became an American citizen due to the acquisition of General Motors, the bus making firm remained unchanged. They displayed a bus that is perfect for long distance trips, since it had comfortable seats (this is very important) and a comfort room (it would be embarrassing to tell the driver to stop just to answer the call of nature).
|A Daewoo bus|
|Good old me pretending to drive one|
Recovering from the Thailand floods, the manufacturer is busy nowadays on releasing new models and they took the opportunity to show them. Now Honda reached the upper end of the market with their Pilot (busy pampering through test drives) and the Odyssey. Both could be pricey but I was amazed with the Ody's automatic sliding doors and the cuddles of space, worth the price. Also on display are Modulo versions (they are original body kits) of the City and Civic. But the only vehicles displayed but not for sale are the Insight and the CR-Z. Both are hybrids that rivals the Toyota Prius, and both are priced like no-one-can-buy if it was brought in today, but pray that they will be offered in a lower price. There is also a Mugen Jazz, which costs P1,077M.
|Honda City with Modulo kits|
|The Odyssey with some lovely ladies|
The diesel expert had their new variants and refreshed models in their booth. What I found notable is the Crosswind XS, basically a Crosswind XL without the side jump seats. This one aims to the taxi and fleet market against the recently launched Mitsubishi Adventure TX and the Toyota Avanza J. No pictures to be found here, sorry.
The lone Chinese manufacturer to join the PIMS, they showcased their popular JMC Hunter pick-up truck. But, behind the Isuzu based truck are the Orion SUV, a pick up truck whose name I didn't noticed, and a single cab version of the Hunter. The fact is that JMC assembles the Hunter in Santa Rosa, Laguna.
Another car maker to watch out for this year is Kia. Once ridiculed, it is now a part of a buyer's list. Greeting you is the Kia Quoris (or the K9 in some markets), which aims to rival the likes of BMW and Benz. Shockingly, this is Kia's great effort but the question is, will it be worth the price? But then again, this is just a preview. Reaching Philippine shores by 2013 is the facelift of the Sorento, which receives a new grille and front design. However, I find it a little less appealing than the current model, but let's see others opinion on that styling. But the cream of the crop in the booth is the Optima, which is basically the twin of the Sonata. You can have one for P1.4M with the equipment found on the Sonata Premium, which costs a hundred grand more.The bad news is, you have to wait for weeks since the initial stocks ran out.
|Can the Kia Quoris persuade Benz and BMW buyers?|
|I had to admit that the Optima is more masculine than the Sonata|
|Available this 2013, the facelifted Sorento|
Their whole line up (save for the LS, which a new generation model is introduced) were present in the PIMS, and this includes a treat for car enthusiasts, the appearance of the Lexus LFA. You cannot go inside the super car (reportedly the only one) since it is obviously closed. New models include the GS (launched in April) and the ES (recently launched), and with the elections coming, politicians would want the LX SUV, basically the twin of the Land Cruiser.
|2012 Lexus GS F Sport|
|2013 Lexus ES|
|Oh yeah! The Lexus LFA|
The three-pointed star used the PIMS to introduce their new model, the 2013 M Class. Other models on display are their SUV's and some sedans (to recall a C Class was there). The booth for Chrysler and Benz are separated despite the fact they are distributed by one company. They didn't have the SLS Gullwing, bummer.
|2013 M-Class AMG Sport|
If there is one car to wait for from this brand, it would be the Mirage. The Lancer Cedia (this has been discontinued recently to give way to the Lancer EX 1.6, expect an article soon) attempted to rival the subcompacts with its pricing strategy but didn't capture the hearts of buyers; this time, the Mirage would be the one to propel Mitsubishi to higher sales figures when deliveries start in November. Another SUV spotted (not the Montero Sport with blinged wheels) is the concept unit of the Outlander. Rememeber this compact SUV? It was pulled out in the market due to prohibitive costs but it comes back with a vengeance, it can seat seven and styled nicely. But the sales agent that I've talked to had no idea of introduction or pricing, since basically it is a preview.
|A customzied Mirage|
|A Galant used in a rally|
|Would it hit the right notes? This is the third generation Outlander|
|Interior of the Outlander|
The struggling car maker had the opportunity to use this event to highlight their new cars, and what could be a joke (no, it isn't) is the Nissan Juke, with Universal Motors Corporation making jokes to the media about the pending introduction. It is just a preview, but let's hope it would be sold here. If there is one car that could save Nissan, it would be definitely the Almera. Why do I say so? It is a sub compact (the hottest segment in the market), fuel efficient, and even affordable. They'll sell this in 2013, and I hope it is a hit. On display also is the Nissan 370z which was designed by a Filipino named Randy Rodriguez and a skeletal figure of the X-Trail.
|Just right for the coming elections|
|The Juke is not a joke since a lot liked it|
|X-Trail's frame figure|
People from Suzuki took the chance of bringing in the whole Suzuki line-up and a preview of the Swift Sport. Bad thing is, you can't go inside. Suzuki is another brand to watch for this year, with the popularity of the APV, Celerio, and the Alto.
|Suzuki Swift Concept|
TRD is the term to describe the Toyota booth. Why? From the Vios to the 86, all of them have TRD kits! In fact, you can order one for your Innova or Fortuner. The good news is, 200 units of the 86 are allotted for the Philippine market, which is good news.
|The boxer engine|
|Toyota 86 with TRD kits|
|Executives lined up for this|
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Photography by Myk Belmonte