Thursday, December 27, 2012

Popular Cars of Puerto Princesa, Palawan: Hiace and Urvan dominate

Ok, I know this is a little late to post this. But they say its better late than never to narrate my trip to Puerto Princesa Palawan back in March 2012. Pardon for not having any photos (although there are some, they are shot at near dark), but videos will be shown at the end of the article. Since I had just stayed in the downtown area (read: hotel-restaurant), I can get a bigger picture of what do Palawenos drive.

With a limited number of car dealerships which includes Hyundai, Kia, Nissan (Universal Motors), Suzuki, Toyota (a sales outlet of Toyota Iloilo), and by the time you read this, Mitsubishi; there are a smattering pieces of vehicles wearing the license plates that are assigned in Metro Manila, South Luzon (mainland), Western Visayas, and Central Visayas. Either the vehicles are purchased locally or bought from the above mentioned places via freight.

If there is the La Salle-Ateneo rivalry in the basketball world, there is the Toyota Hiace-Nissan Urvan battle in the roads of Palawan. The two vans are the top choices among tour operators and hotels in the province, since they are fuel efficient, reliable, and can carry dozens of people at one piece. Majority of them are used as tourist vans and hotel shuttles. There was never a sight of a Hyundai Starex in the island, although I have not seen one in my four day trip.

Private consumers are limited in several category segments in the province (wearing the "V" plate) and there is a two way battle between some vehicles. The pick-up truck rivalry is between the Toyota Hilux and the Nissan Navara, sub-compact buyers mostly pick either the Toyota Vios or the Kia Rio (second generation), mid-size SUV choices are between the Toyota Fortuner or the Kia Sorento, compact SUV's that captured the hearts and wallets of locals are the Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage twins, and the hatchback party is composed of the Suzuki Celerio and Swift and the Hyundai i10. Strangely, there is the abundance of the Toyota Avanza and Innova but the direct competitors, namely the Isuzu Crosswind and Mitsubishi Adventure, are not that wide spread.

Among old vehicles, there are numerous Kia Prides, Mazda 323s, and Kia Sportages (first generation) still plying the streets. Partly because a Kia-Mazda dealer used to operate in the 90s but the former brand was relocated and currently operates under a new management.

Here are some Youtube videos of street scenes:

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