Thursday, February 25, 2016

EDSA 30 Tribute: Significant Vehicles of 1987-2015

The EDSA Revolution 30 years ago occurred one thing for the automotive industry: we were given lots of choices throughout the years. From several car development programs to the market liberalization that allowed new brands to enter and the revision of the vehicle tax structure which resulted to more vehicle choices. With the country being poised to be one of the worlds top markets in the future, expect for more car brands to enter that will result to more traffic jams and for the consumer, more options.

Before anything else, we will restrict our list with vehicles that were officially brought by their official distributors. So for those who are finding the first release Hyundai Starex here, sorry but it was not first released by the original distributor here, Francisco Motors Corporation despite making a splash.

So, let us see which cars made the cut and sparked the industry.

1987 Mitsubishi L300 Versa Van - The Family Van

With the demise of the Toyota Hiace years ago, the L300 made the splash in the industry which made extended families buying them in droves. It later on spun a crew cab version which became a common sight and used by most entrepreneurs. The Versa Van may be gone, but this one spurred a category and a success for the brand.
  • The only van sold during the late 80s until the launch of the Nissan Urvan and Mazda Bongo in 1989
  • Next generation model sold as the Spacegear launched in 1997 but not a market success
  • TV Patrol was launched

1988 Mitsubishi Pajero - A Symbol Status

There is nothing shouts that you had arrived than riding in a Pajero. Apart from a Benz, this one showed you had the money and power to set you apart from the ordinary. The SUV category eventually grew from only a handful models back then to a number catering the different markets currently. Even though it may lost its luster today, it was the one who saw the SUV boom.

  • First SUV available locally until Nissan Patrol was made available
  • Most expensive Mitsubishi vehicle during its time
  • Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program was signed by Corazon Aquino

1989 Toyota LiteAce - Small is More

If the L300 conquered the larger scale of the van market, the LiteAce made a splash in the smaller range. One of three vehicles that were launched when Toyota made a return in the Philippines, this one can seat seven people in a small package. It may be gone but the market still craves for small people carriers until now.
  • Launched together with the Corolla and Crown
  • GXL variant became the sole option in 1993
  • Ferdinand Marcos dies in Hawaii due to an internal organ failure

1990 Kia Pride - The First People's Car

Governor Jose Alvarez of Palawan brought in the Korean budget car and despite the badge, it was a market success thanks to a low price and its practicality. The hatchback came in first with a sedan launched in 1992 and bowing out in 2004, being replaced by the Picanto. Since then, economy cars have more kit and power than before.
  • 1.1 carburetor engine was the sole option paired to a manual until a GTX got an automatic
  • Also assembled alongside the Daihatsu Charade in Paranaque
  • The deadly 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Northern and Central Luzon happened

1991 Toyota Tamaraw - Birth of the FX

The Tamaraw was revived as a cargo van and was a success for Toyota. Two years later, an MPV version known as the FX was born that led a segment of its own, the AUV. The term FX also became a vernacular for a utility shuttle carrying people, and being called to vehicles not wearing the Toyota badge. Its successors became blockbusters despite Isuzu and Mitsubishi entering the scene in the late 90s.
  • Second best seller of Toyota until 1997
  • Tamaraw FX name used in Revo until 2002
  • Typhoon Uring struck Eastern Visayas killing 8,000 people mostly from Ormoc due to a landslide

1992 Toyota Corolla - A Best Seller was Born

Called as the Big Body due to its big dimensions, the Corolla became the country's best selling vehicle until 1998. It also hosted numerous firsts including rear seat belts and a driver's airbag. Selling lots of them meant numerous special edition models were spun. This was the car that defined the decade due to its ubiquity.

  • 1.6 engine became EFI powered
  • Sold 17,000 units in 1996 alone
  • Pepsi's 349 fiasco with thousands of victims happened that year
1993 Mitsubishi Galant - Here Comes V6 Power

A redesign in 1993 gave the Galant a 2.0 V6 engine which was unrivaled until the Cefiro's launch three years later. Others stucked 4 cylinder engines under their hoods but this one was a niche of its own. Almost 10 years later, rivals had V6 engines and the decline of the Galant badge happened. Despite the death of the nameplate, the Galant has a spot on the automotive industry.
  • First in its class to offer a V6 engine
  • 1.8 Carburetor engine dropped
  • 266 people perished after a pagoda sank due to overloading in Bocaue, Bulacan

1994 BMW 3 Series - The Germans Had Arrived

With Mercedes Benz being silent during that time, BMW made a splash by launching the 3 Series and the timing was right, executives had lots of money and were curious. Volvo started operations in the same year but BMW's impact was very strong that a local subsidiary was put up years later only to pull out due to a crisis in 2008.
  • Available in 316i guise in 1994, with a 320i sold in 1996
  • Assembled in Columbian's plant in Bicutan, Paranaque
  • For the first time, the Miss Universe pageant was held in Manila which also made Dayanara Torres a household name

1995 Honda Civic - The Trendsetter

November 1995 saw a new Civic which had the VTEC technology (something that they're capitalizing back then), double wishbones which made it comfortable, and an SiR variant later on. While it didn't beat the Corolla in the sales race, it cemented its position as the sporty and prestige (due to Honda's no taxi policy) compact back then. These technologies were later trickled to other Hondas.
  • Only EFI engines and a sedan configuration was available
  • First Philippine market Honda to get VTEC
  • Eat Bulaga! had its premiere at GMA Network after years of shuffling TV networks

1996 Nissan Cefiro - Executive Wars Had Started

While the Galant started the engine displacement wars, the Cefiro took the category by storm in which it offered a stately appearance that appealed to executives. No more rear wheel drive which the predecessor had, in replacement was the VQ V6 engines that pulled smoothly. Although it had gone with the wind, this made rivals more luxurious.

  • Available in front wheel drive with V6 engines
  • Ended the streak of Nissan's unsuccessful executive car models
  • Michael Jackson's HIStory World Tour in the Philippines held 

1997 Honda CR-V - Birth of the Compact SUV

Based on a Civic platform, the CR-V was essentially a raised Civic that can wade through floods with ease. This was Honda's first attempt on the SUV race and was a success, despite that only five people can ride inside. The compact SUV wars can be traced to this vehicle, especially that years later more competitors had arrived to the scene.
  • Only available in AWD
  • Toyota RAV4 arrived first, but this one saw commercial success
  • Agila-2 communications satellite was launched and commenced commercial service 

1998 Mitsubishi Adventure - The Car That Saved Mitsubishi

1998 was a gloomy year for the industry, especially that a crisis saw falling car sales. But not for Mitsubishi, whose Adventure - the answer for the Tamaraw - became the reason why the car brand beat Toyota in the sales race. Get a Taiwanese car, fit in Mitsu's reliable 4D56 engine and price it fairly and vola! Until now, the Adventure is still marketed.

  • Named as the Mitsubishi Freeca from Taiwan
  • Diesel variant remains to be marketed locally, gasoline engine discontinued by 2009
  • The Philippine Independence celebrated its 100th centennial anniversary

1999 Ford Lynx - A Comeback of the Blue Oval

Ford's Philippine plant was inaugurated in September 1999 with the Lynx (a last generation Laser) being the first vehicle to roll out. So significant it made the country being an exporter until put to a stop in 2012 which made the plant shut down.
  • Used the Lynx name for the Philippines
  • Exported to several ASEAN countries until replaced by Focus
  • The Manhunt International World Finals was held for the first time in Manila

2000 Nissan Sentra Exalta - Luxury at Compact Levels

If there's one car that had made other rivals place items that are only seen in vehicles costing three or four times more, its the Sentra Exalta in STA guise. Having buttery leather seats, a sun roof, disc changer, and fake wood panels for just below 800k (during that time) is a bargain in itself. With this alone, Nissan sales during that year grew and that theme had transferred to its other models and competitors, nonetheless.
  • First vehicle to be released under Yulon Motor's administration
  • Third update for the Sentra B14 model locally, which caused the 1.6 Super Saloon to be discontinued
  • Philippine Airlines Flight 812 en route from Davao to Manila was hijacked who later jumped out of the plane without killing any of the passengers or crew

2001 Isuzu Crosswind - AUV Wars Made Intense

Sometime in June 2001, the Hilander (which was fresh) was replaced by the Crosswind and made its direct rivals very old. It was the first to get an automatic transmission paired to a diesel engine, with leather seats and head rest mounted screens that followed. So successful it had overtaken the Adventure numerous times in sales.
  • Technically the second generation Hilander
  • Hilander name used in Crosswind until 2004
  • Dream Satellite TV was launched and commenced operations

2002 Toyota Camry - Luxury Redefined

While the Cefiro is the top choice before, the anonymous looking previous generation Camry received a transformation that made executives wow. Not much cheesy looking than the Nissan but it also offers the same amount of room and more fuel friendly 4-cylinder engines. Up to now, Camrys are sought after by the same demographic market.
  • Assembled in the Philippines
  • V6 engine followed in 2004
  • The Ateneo Blue Eagles defeat the De La Salle Green Archers to end the latter's 4-year winning streak and get their school title in 14 years

2003 Ford Everest - A Category was Born

Pick-up truck based SUVs are a niche (the Terrano was one) but the Everest - launched in November 2003 - made a category that gave way to the Fortuner, Alterra, and Montero Sport. This category shifted people from their AUVs and was a success on making this category a profitable venture.
  • Based from the Ranger
  • Initially available with a manual, followed by an automatic
  • Jollibee celebrates it 25th year anniversary

2004 Mazda 3 - An Anticipated Return

As early as 2002, there were reports that Mazda would be distributed by Ford. That report became true two years later, with the comeback being heralded by the Mazda 6 and Tribute but the star was the 3, becoming the best seller for the brand. No more bland looks, it was fun to drive and loaded with goodies.
  • First released in sedan guise, with a hatchback followed
  • Outsold the Focus until 2011
  • Overseas Filipino Workers voted for the first time under the Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003
2005 Hyundai Getz - The Small Success of Hyundai

While the Starex is a runaway success, the Getz became a star despite being a new nameplate. It hit the right notes: small footprint, basic amenities, fuel friendly engines, and a spacious cabin. With an introductory price around the 300k mark, it is a sure hit for Hyundai.
  • Smaller than the Matrix
  • Received a diesel engine in a 2006 update
  • Jaime Sin, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila, dies at the age of 76
2006 Toyota Avanza - The Boom of a Class

The Innova was a hit, but Toyota needed something smaller so it can compete in the taxi category as well as with the APV, which is a lukewarm seller during that time. It was a hit, among low budgeted buyers who seek three rows of seats.
  • Sold as the Daihatsu Xenia in Indonesia
  • First Toyota to be offered with a LPG fuel system
  • Leo Oracion became the first Filipino to reach the summit of Mount Everest in May

2007 Toyota Vios - Goodbye Corolla?

That year was the last year for the Corolla Altis, and the first year for a redesigned Vios, which outsold the bigger brother in 2005. In terms of size, it was similar to the Corolla Big Body plus it was the default pick of the masses, especially that the Altis got larger and pricey.

  • Assembled in the Philippines
  • Overtook the Innova as the best selling vehicle in 2008
  • Former President and current Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada was pardoned

2008 Mitsubishi Montero Sport - Mitsubishi's Savior

The first Montero Sport which was brought here was not a hit since it was very very old. Now that the Fortuner saw the rewards, other manufacturers tried to dethrone but Mitsubishi did it. Despite the fact it was first made available in 4x4 guise, a 2.5 4x2 AT launched in 2009 made it a runaway winner. In 2014, the Fortuner became the sales leader again.
  • SUV based on the Strada pick-up
  • Best selling vehicle in class from 2009 until 2013 until the Fortuner took over the following year
  • After six years, the Eraserheads reunites for a concert but cut short due to Ely Buendia's worsing health conditon

2009 Hyundai Genesis Coupe - The Rise of Hyundai

Hyundai making a sports car which rivals the Mustang may be a joke, but the Korean brand made it seriously by the means of the Genesis Coupe. Available in rear wheel drive, this car is about pure driving fun and nothing more. Whats great is that prices start at below P2M bucks, a price point rivals ignore but offers the same quality as them.

  • Replaces the front wheel drive Coupe/Tiburon
  • Related to the Genesis and Equus sedans
  • The flu pandemic, known as the H1N1 outbreak affects every country including the Philippines

2010 Ford Fiesta - The Power of Social Media

Sub-compacts are currently the cash cows of manufacturers nowadays, so Ford jumped to the opportunity of introducing the Fiesta locally and heavily promoted this vehicle via social media which signaled its intended target market. Since then, Ford would heavily promote its vehicles through online and social media.
  • Built in Thailand for the ASEAN market
  • Promoted with a theme of Fiesta Connect
  • First Philippine automated elections occurred

2011 Hyundai Elantra - Broke the Mold More

A debut at the Manila International Auto Show in that year and combined with a more competitive pricing and specifications, Hyundai had a winner here. Add the various awards it received worldwide, Hyundai was definitely on the roll. Just like the Tucson and Accent, this one sold very well.

  • Replaces the unsuccessful diesel model
  • Car of the Year Philippines in 2012
  • 150th birth anniversary of Jose Rizal

2012 Toyota 86 - Fun is Back at Toyota

Toyota admitted that the younger demographics would rather take public transportation than drive. But with Toyota's return to the fun to drive theme, the 86 would start a trend that made other Toyotas follow. Nothing fancy inside and out plus conservative engine figures, it is just pure driving pleasure that is offered. There are reports of vehicles of sporting nature slotting above and below in development process.

  • First sports car model to be officially sold by Toyota Motor Philippines
  • Promoted through a motorcade prior to its official launch
  • The controversial Reproductive Health Bill was put into law
2013 Mitsubishi Mirage - Less is More

Downsizing was a trend but keeping it practical and more realistic was lacking. Fortunately, Mitsubishi built the Mirage with an economical engine, a roomier cabin, and amenities that aren't offered in that price range. So popular during its first full year a waiting list occurred plus activities and marketing strategies were aimed towards young buyers, which ensured its popularity.

  • Cheapest vehicle in Mitsubishi's line-up
  • Assembled in Thailand for worldwide consumption
  • The priority assistance development fund became a scandal that a million people march occurred in August of that year
2014 Honda City - Technology in a Small Package

Items such as curtain airbags, an advanced touchscreen monitor, and a stability control in a sub-million peso vehicle made Honda a standout in 2014, especially that none other contemporaries had it as standard. Plus having it assembled in the Philippines added its appeal, proving that the country has skilled workers assembling world class vehicles driven by fellow Filipinos.
  • Top end model costs P980,0000, nearly eating to Civic terrirtory
  • Marked the return of the CVT transmission
  • Senator Antonio Trillianes IV and Vice President Jejomary Binay's debate didn't occur after the latter backed out
2015 Nissan Navara - Let the Pickup Wars Begin

This line was mentioned by the president of Nissan Philippines himself marked the launch of the redesigned Nissan Navara. It was the first pick-up truck sold in the mainstream market to have coil springs and a 7-speed automatic transmission. That year saw a new Strada and Hilux and an updated Ranger and D-Max.

  • First Nissan to be available with a 7-speed automatic transmission
  • Now assembled in Thailand
  • The Aldub phenomenon made Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza household names which was featured in a July 2015 episode of Eat Bulaga!

No comments:

Post a Comment