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Thursday, April 30, 2020

Hyundai Group Design Head Leaves

Hyundai Group Design Chief Luc Donckerwolke is leaving the Korean automaker group for undisclosed personal reasons. The Belgian behind the current Palisade, Sonata (pictured), and even the Le Fil Rouge Concept has stepped down with immediate effect.

Hyundai PH is First Automaker to Outline What "New Normal" Will Be Post ECQ

Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI), the official distributor of Hyundai vehicles in the Philippines is the first local automaker to publicly announce its safety guidelines for dealers and service centers in areas covered by the General Community Quarantine (GCQ).

Chery Auto PH Now Equips N95-Certified Cabin Air Filters

Chery Auto Philippines is now fitting most of its local line-up fitted with an N95 certified cabin filtration system.

Nissan Won't Be Making Any Terra, Navara Until June

Nissan announced the extension of its temporary adjustment to production in Thailand in response to the continuing COVID-19 outbreak and decreased demand in the automotive market.

Global Auto Sales See Lowest Year-on-Year Decrease Since 1980

The outbreak of COVID-19 has already impacted the automotive industry significantly, according to JATO Dynamics, a leading provider of global automotive data and insight. Global vehicle sales totaled 5.55 million units in March 2020, down by 39 percent from March 2019.

Confirmed: Audi is Pulling Out of DTM

Audi has confirmed: they will not be racing in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) beyond the 2020 season. The decision is fueled by the German carmaker’s direction as a carbon-neutral premium mobility provider, but exacerbated in light of the recent economic challenges brought by COVID-19.

Mazda Celebrates 100 Years of Breaking Records

From Hiroshima cork producer to global car manufacturer, 2020 sees Mazda celebrate a century of innovation, pioneering design, and engineering success. One hundred years of business that has also seen a fair share of records achieved by Mazda over the course of its storied history.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Porsche Opens New Website to Keep Kids Entertained During Quarantine

With schools and daycare centers closed, parents working from home have to find ways to keep their children busy. Porsche is pitching in these efforts—like through Porsche 4Kids, which offers children stuck at home a welcome distraction by way of various activities that both entertain and educate.

Suzuki Teams Up with Doraemon in Newest Campaign

Suzuki Philippines is announcing a very unlikely ambassador in the form of robotic time traveling cat character Doraemon.

Rolls-Royce Sees Another Kind of Record Production

Although car manufacturing has been temporarily suspended, production of another unique, distinctly British treasure is running at record levels at the Home of Rolls-Royce: the world’s most exclusive honey.

Jaguar Land Rover to Re-Start Production on May 18

Jaguar Land Rover plans to gradually resume production from May 18, 2020, starting with manufacturing plants in Solihull in the UK as well as in Slovakia and Austria.

Geely is Now Making Their Own 7-Seater SUV with the 2020 Haoyue

Geely has just unveiled their first three-row SUV: the 2020 Haoyue. With a name that literally translates as “Auspicious” it has just been launched online for its home market of China.

Toyota Starts Making Medical Face Shields Against COVID-19

Toyota Motor Corporation joins Mitsubishi and Nissan in the full-scale production of medical face shields in Japan.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

PH Vehicle Importers See Sales Sink 34.4 Percent in Q1 2020

The Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors, Inc. (AVID) – with 20 member companies representing 26 global brands – recorded sales of only 14,404 units equivalent to a 34.4 percent drop in the first quarter of the year amid the Enhanced Community Quarantine caused by COVID-19.

Most, if not all, dealerships and their accompanying repair and maintenance facilities have been closed since March 16, 2020.

“The local industry is reeling from this invisible enemy as vehicle manufacturing, importation, distribution, and maintenance have stopped completely. Demand has likewise declined as consumers spend on more urgent needs. With this disruption, we estimate that car sales may drop by around 40 percent for the year,” AVID President Fe Perez-Agudo said.

“The industry is no stranger to adversity but this pandemic will be our toughest challenge yet.  We estimate that it would take at least 12 months for the local industry to recover once the ECQ is completely lifted. There will be a ‘new normal’ and we must be quick to adapt since Filipino consumers will be even more prudent and looking for more value in their purchases," Ms. Agudo added.

The Passenger Cars (PC) segment declined by 43 percent in the first quarter of 2020 with 4,506 units sold versus the 7,848 units in the same period last year. Hyundai leads this segment with 2,724 units sold, followed by Suzuki with 1,127 units, and Ford with 415 units.

In the Light Commercial Vehicles (LCV) segment, year-to-date sales dipped by over 29 percent with 9,806 units sold. Ford leads this segment with a total of 3,479 units while Hyundai comes in second with 2,797 units closely followed by Suzuki with 2,740 units.

Commercial Vehicles (CV) sales declined by 62 percent to just 92 units over the period.

AVID says second quarter sales may dip even further due to the ECQ for the whole month of April and at least half of May in major urban areas.

The association, however, says that despite the bleak short-term outlook, many members have joined the nation’s battle to fight COVID-19. Several AVID companies are providing free mobility which includes the transport of our front liners, medical supplies, and essential goods across the country. Some have donated personal protective equipment (PPE), masks, gloves, etc. to COVID facilities. Others are supporting their home communities and LGUs.

AVID member companies have used the lockdown to develop COVID-ready processes, structures, and organizations. Health protection and safety strategies are being put in place for employees, business partners, and to meet the emerging needs of the customer in the next normal environment. It added that the industry is very much aware of the protocols on social distancing —wearing of appropriate protective equipment, and additional sanitation measures—which it committed to observe. As an added layer of protection, some AVID members will be conducting antibody testing prior to the re-entry of its workforce. This will be done as part of Project ARK, a private sector-led initiative to conduct mass testing for the new coronavirus at the community level.

Based on government data, the Philippine automotive sector, directly and indirectly, employs 408,000 people.

Editor’s Note:
  • ANG – Auto Nation Group (Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Mercedes-Benz)
  • BBAI – British Bespoke Automobiles, Inc. (Rolls-Royce)
  • BUAI – British United Automobiles, Inc. (Lotus, MINI)
  • DMI – DBPHILS Motorsports, Inc. (Aston Martin)
  • FGPI – Ford Group Philippines, Inc. (Ford)
  • HARI – Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (Hyundai)
  • JAIPI – JAC Automobile International Philippines (JAC)
  • LMI – Legado Motors, Inc. (GAC)
  • MIPI – Motor Image Pilipinas, Inc. (Subaru) 
  • PGA – PGA Cars, Inc. (Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini, Porsche) 
  • SGAP – Sojitz G Auto Philippines (Geely)
  • SMC – Scandinavian Motors Corporation (Volvo)
  • SPI – Suzuki Philippines, Inc. (Suzuki) 
  • TAC – Triesenburg Auto Corporation (Kinglong) 
  • TCCCI – The Covenant Car Company, Inc. (Chevrolet) 

Hyundai Teases a Sportier Version of the 2021 Elantra: Meet the Elantra N Line

Hyundai has wasted no time. After introducing the “regular” 2021 Elantra, the Korean automaker has announced that a “warmer” version is coming in the form of the Elantra N Line.

Previewed by these camouflaged photos, the Elantra is getting its first N Line treatment. With that, it gets specific upgrades to its design, chassis, and engine—but all short of the full N treatment.

It must be reiterated that the “N Line” sits directly below the “N” brand. Whereas the N brand develops high-performance versions of existing Hyundai cars, the N Line simply adds sporty design elements and further refinements to its chassis and powertrain.

The Hyundai Elantra N Line is expected to bow in around the same time as the “regular” Elantra compact sedan.

Toyota Has Now Sold More Than 15 Million Hybrid Electric Vehicles

In January 2020, Toyota achieved an important milestone by selling more than 15 million hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) globally since the launch of the first-generation Prius in 1997.

Today, the range of available hybrid electric vehicles from Toyota and Lexus reaches 44 models, far eclipsing the original flag-bearer that remains the symbol of the company’s early and visionary foray into mass electrification.

Toyota’s decision to develop hybrid electric vehicles started over 25 years ago when Takeshi Uchiyamada led a team to develop a car for the 21st century, one which would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful pollutants.

The first-generation Prius was launched in 1997 around the time of the Kyoto Protocol signing, which gave new momentum to the environmental movement. Today, 15 million hybrid sales later, Toyota has made a significant contribution to the environment as its hybrid electric technology has reduced CO2 emissions by more than 120 million tons worldwide to date compared to sales of equivalent petrol vehicles.

Across this period, Toyota has seen demand for its hybrid electric vehicles soar as the company has combined this innovative technology with the roll out of its next-generation TNGA global platforms. Beyond the current 4th generation hybrid system, Toyota is continuing to refine its hybrid technology to achieve even lower emissions and ever-better fuel efficiency.

From Pajeros to Face Shields: Mitsubishi Shifts to COVID-19 Efforts

Mitsubishi Motors is now producing face shields in Japan to help against the spread COVID-19 infections.

Isuzu Shows Off D-Max's Aftermarket Potential with One-Off GO2

When you think of accessorizing, the Isuzu D-Max rarely makes it on top of most project car lists. Though it’s been proven to look great with the Boondock Edition, most would consider other pickup trucks as their starting point. It’s for this reason that Isuzu UK has come up with this one-of-a-kind D-Max: to show the pickup’s aftermarket potential. Meet the Isuzu D-Max GO2.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Isuzu INTECO Steps Up COVID-19 Efforts

One of Isuzu Philippines Corporation’s dealer groups, INTECO (Industrial & Transport Equipment Inc), has been in the forefront of the automotive industry’s all-out efforts to assist the country’s front liners in the medical, hospital, armed forces and essential industries in their fight to halt the further spread of COVID-19 in the Philippines.

How a Global Design Team Resulted in the Geely Coolray Becoming a World-Class Car

To create a world-class car, you need a team that knows the world. With the Coolray, the result is a global collaboration between teams of designers and engineers.

8 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Mercedes-AMG

Fifty-three years ago, three letters came together to become synonymous with the ultimate in Mercedes-Benz driving performance: AMG. Those letters, and the company it represents today is world-renowned for supreme automotive performance, exclusivity, and highly dynamic driving pleasure.

Some Carmakers Have Their Safety Priorities Backward

With the multitude of driver assist technologies like blind spot warning and lane keep assist, the question now beckons: which tech actually prevents accidents?

Peugeot Celebrates a Decade of the i-Cockpit

This year, Peugeot is celebrating a decade of the i-Cockpit—one of the French carmaker’s most distinct design features that’s been standard on all their cars since the first-generation 208.

Lexus Bids Goodbye GS Sports Sedan with Eternal Touring Edition

After 27 years and four generations, Lexus is bidding adieu to its sporty GS sedan this August. And with Toyota’s announcement of the model’s discontinuation, they’re sending it off in style with this special “Eternal Touring” edition.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

DTI to Auto Dealers in ECQ Areas: Sorry, You're Not Allowed to Re-Open

Secretary Ramon Lopez of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has formally responded to the request by the Philippine Automotive Dealers Association (PADA). Unfortunately for PADA, the DTI is not allowing them to re-open.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Honda Cars PH Lends 15 Vehicles for Medical Front Liners

Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI) has lent out 15 cars to medical front liners who are battling the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

HCPI provided various models of the cars comprising of the City, Brio, Jazz, Mobilio, BR-V, HR-V, and CR-V models, to doctors and nurses of various hospitals including: the New Sinai MDI Hospital in Tagapo, Santa Rosa, Laguna; The Medical City South Luzon in Santa Rosa, Laguna; Unihealth-Southwoods Hospital and Medical Center in Biñan, Laguna; Westlake Medical Center in San Pedro, Laguna; and, the Carmona Hospital and Medical Center in Carmona, Cavite.

Honda will be providing each car with free gasoline good for one month.

Share Your Mazda Story, Win a Dinner For Two After the Quarantine

Because everyone’s dreaming of road trips during this Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), Mazda Philippines is holding a Facebook contest to recall your fondest Mazda memories.

Sharing your Mazda story will be treated to a dinner for two at Escala Tagaytay once the quarantine is lifted. This is open to anyone who follows the Mazda Philippines Facebook page, resides in Luzon, and with a valid driver’s license.

See the full mechanics below:
  • The contest is open to any Facebook user who follows the Mazda Philippines page (you do not need to own a Mazda), resides in Luzon, Philippines, and with a valid driver’s license.
  • For 10 weeks (on April 24th and every Wednesday beginning April 29) at 12 noon, Mazda Philippines’s Facebook page will post a contest, guiding participants to share their Mazda story. Qualified contestants can submit their answers via the post’s comment section.
  • Mazda Philippines will select a winner by Monday 6 PM of the following week. The winner will be announced through a Facebook post on the same day, and the page will reply to their comment for next instructions.

These Areas May See Auto Dealers and Service Centers Re-Open Starting May 1

Auto dealers and auto service centers will be allowed to open in areas covered by the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) which will take effect in certain provinces starting May 1.

The announcement is part of Malacañang’s revised measures against COVID-19. Under the guidelines of GCQ, businesses catering to manufacturing, electronics and exports, e-commerce, and delivery for essential and non-essential items, repair and maintenance services, housing, and office services may open in a 50 percent capacity (up to 100 percent if social distancing measures are met). Meanwhile, auto sales (part of retail trade) can resume, but only in a 50 percent capacity.

That said, people aged 0-20 years old, and those above 60 years old are still not allowed to go out, as are people with high-risk factors such as lung and heart disease and diabetes.

The General Community Quarantine will take effect starting May 1 in the following areas:
  • Abra
  • Agusan del Norte
  • Agusan del Sur
  • Aklan
  • Apayao
  • Aurora
  • Basilan
  • Batanes
  • Biliran
  • Bohol
  • Bukidnon
  • Cagayan
  • Camarines Norte
  • Camarines Sur
  • Camiguin
  • Capiz
  • Davao del Sur
  • Davao Occidental
  • Davao Oriental
  • Dinagat Island
  • Eastern Samar
  • Guimaras
  • Ifugao
  • Ilocos Norte
  • Ilocos Sur
  • Isabela
  • Kalinga
  • La Union
  • Lanao del Norte
  • Lanao del Sur
  • Leyte
  • Maguindanao
  • Marinduque
  • Masbate
  • Misamis Occidental
  • Misamis Oriental
  • Mountain Province
  • Negros Occidental
  • Negros Oriental
  • North Cotabato
  • Northern Samar
  • Nueva Vizcaya
  • Palawan
  • Quirino
  • Romblon
  • Samar
  • Sarangani
  • Siquijor
  • Sorsogon
  • South Cotabato
  • Southern Leyte
  • Sultan Kudarat
  • Sulu
  • Surigao del Norte
  • Surigao del Sur
  • Western Samar
  • Zamboanga del Norte
  • Zamboanga del Sur
  • Zamboanga Sibugay
Customers who are part of areas covered by General Community Quarantine should contact their respective dealerships / service centers on May 1 as to their revised operating hours/conditions.

Areas including Metro Manila though will continue to be under the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) until May 15.

With the Trailblazer Ending Production in Thailand, Should Chevy PH Bring in the Chinese Blazer?

With Chevrolet completely discontinuing production in Thailand, the question now is where will Chevy Philippines source their vehicles? Well, North America is the safe bet for high-value vehicles such as the Camaro, Corvette, Tahoe, and Suburban; but what about more mainstream ones?

Well, China looks like a safe bet. Chevrolet has a joint-venture there with SAIC (yes, the same group responsible for MG), and one of their newest products is this: the mid-sized Blazer SUV.

With an overall length of 4,999 mm, a width of 1,953 mm, and a height of 1,736 mm, the 7-seater Blazer seems like a shoo-in in the mid-sized SUV segment replacing the aging Trailblazer. Unlike the Trailblazer though, the Blazer isn’t a pickup-based SUV but rather a unibody crossover.

The Blazer adopts the newest Chevrolet design cues such as the dual-port X-shaped grille, sharp-split LED headlights, and Y-shaped LED taillights.

The same “sportscar-inspired” styling continues inside with the “flying-wing” dual cockpit design, 8-inch LCD digital gauges, and 10-inch floating center touchscreen. And like most SUVs in China, it has a large panoramic sunroof that measures over one square-meter in size.

Powering the Blazer is a turbocharged 2.0-liter Ecotec engine making 236 horsepower and 350 Nm of torque. Mated to a 9-speed automatic with idle start/stop tech, Chevrolet says it goes from 0-100 km/h in 9 seconds, while just sipping just 13.51 km/L.

An available all-wheel drive system can switch between front- to all-wheel drive in as little as 0.12 seconds, while also being able to split torque between left and right wheels.

If Chevrolet Philippines does decide to bring in the Blazer to replace the Trailblazer, expect it to retail at roughly the same price: P 1.86-million to P 2.36-million.

Hyundai's Making a "Hot" Version of the Kona SUV

While Subaru’s been busy making their Forester more mainstream (i.e. boring), Hyundai is heading in the opposite direction. Aside from giving their Tucson the N Line treatment, the Korean carmaker is gearing up for a Kona N.

At this point, Hyundai hasn’t revealed solid details about the Kona N, but several prototype mules have been spotted running around not just at its namesake, the Nürburgring racetrack, but at snow-packed test circuits as well. With that, it’s likely this high-performance variant of the Kona will pack all-wheel drive.

As for the powertrain, speculations have been running wild to include a new 2.5-liter Theta III Smartstream engine putting out 300 horsepower. However, at this point sharing the Veloster N’s 250-horsepower 2.0-liter unit seems like a safer bet.

Additional grunt aside, the Kona N will carry beefier brakes and larger wheels.

The Kona N also looks to paint the sub-compact crossover’s trademark cladding in body color while also sprouting a larger rear spoiler. Exposed dual exhaust will complete the changes outside.

With the prototypes looking to be close to production ready, the Kona N is expected to bow sometime late this year as a 2021 model.

Ford Shows Off Zero Emissions Mustang Drag Racer

It won’t hurt your ears and doesn’t use a drop of fuel, but it’s projected to crush the quarter-mile in the low-8-second range at more than 273 km/h. For the first time ever, Ford Performance introduces a one-off Mustang Cobra Jet factory drag racer with all-electric propulsion.

The battery-powered Mustang Cobra Jet 1400 prototype is purpose-built and projected to deliver over 1,400 horsepower and over 1,491 Nm of instant torque to demonstrate the capabilities of an electric powertrain in one of the most demanding race environments.

Following the debut of the all-electric Ford Mustang Mach-E SUV, the Mustang Cobra Jet 1400 prototype represents another opportunity to advance its performance while simultaneously incorporating some of the technology coming to Ford’s future powertrains.

Mustang Cobra Jet 1400 also honors the original Cobra Jet that first dominated drag strips in the late 1960s and still is a major force in sportsman drag racing today.

Ford Performance continues to test Cobra Jet 1400 ahead of its world debut later this year at a drag racing event where fans, media and competitors alike will get to meet the race car, as well as see exactly what it’s capable of up on the asphalt.

Enhanced Community Quarantine Over NCR, Selected Areas Extended to May 15

It’s official: the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) is being extended once more to May 15, 2020. In a televised address, President Rodrigo Duterte says the ECQ will remain up over Metro Manila until the middle of May, and the ECQ coverage will be expanded as well.

Aside from Metro Manila, ECQ will now cover the following areas:
  • Benguet
  • Pangasinan
  • Bataan
  • Bulacan
  • Nueva Ecija
  • Pampanga
  • Tarlac
  • Zambales
  • Batangas
  • Laguna
  • Cavite
  • Rizal
  • Quezon
  • Albay
  • Mindoro (Oriental Mindoro and Occidental Mindoro)
  • Catanduanes
The ECQ will also be expanded to cover high-risk areas in Visayas and Mindanao:
  • Antique
  • Iloilo
  • Cebu
  • Cebu City
  • Davao del Norte
  • Davao City
The rest of the country will be placed under general quarantine starting May 1, meaning people are allowed to go out of their homes for as long as social distancing requirements are met, and public transportation will resume at a reduced capacity.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases recommended the extension to the President after experts warned that lifting restrictions too soon could spark a second wave of infections.

The May 15 lifting target is the second extension.

Classic Porsches Can Now Get Apple CarPlay

Porsche is now giving owners of older models the chance to jump onto the Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay bandwagon with these special 1- or 2-DIN infotainment systems from Porsche Classic.

Now available for order through the Porsche Centre or the Porsche Classic online shop, the Porsche Classic Communication Management (PCCM) fist into the 1-DIN slot which was standard in sportscars for many decades. The PCCM is operated via two rotary knobs, six integrated buttons and a touch-sensitive 3.5-inch display.

It’s made to blend into the dashboard of classic Porsche cars, especially in the way the knobs are designed and finished. The German sportscar maker says the PCCM is suitable for 911 models of the 1960s to the last 911 with air cooling—the 993. Use in earlier front- and mid-engine models is also possible.

Aside from giving it Apple CarPlay, the PCCM also adds digital radio (DAB+), Bluetooth, USB, and SD Card inputs as well.

Meanwhile for 911 models and Boxster models from the 1990s onwards can also upgrade their original Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system to the Porsche Classic Communication Management Plus (PCCM Plus) system. This system not only adds Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but it also swaps the screen to a high-res 7-inch touchscreen display while still supporting navigation/audio track display on the instrument cluster.

Porsche says installation can be done DIY, but they do recommend a Porsche Centre do it for the owner. Prices don’t come cheap though with the 1-DIN PCCM at 1,439.89 Euros (P 78,617.36~) and the PCCM Plus going up to 1,606.51 Euros (P 87,714.74~).

Toyota Finally Shows Off the 2021 Yaris Cross (w/ 9 Photos, Video)

After a canceled launch at the 2020 Geneva International Motor Show, Toyota is now unveiling its all-new Yaris Cross—an urban-centric crossover tailor-made to suit the city, but with still enough credentials to call it a true SUV.

Underpinned by Toyota’s new GA-B platform, the Yaris Cross features a “big small” design that also characterizes its sibling, the Yaris hatchback. Competing in the B-segment along with the Nissan Juke and the Ford Puma (no, not the Ford EcoSport), the Yaris Cross features the same wheelbase as the all-new Yaris but is 240 mm longer with a 30 mm taller ground clearance. It will slot below the C-HR and RAV4 in terms of exterior size and positioning.

Europe is highlighting the use of their fourth-generation hybrid in the Yaris Cross. Displacing 1.5-liters, this 3-cylinder Atkinson-cycle engine puts out 116 horsepower driving either the front- or four wheels. Meanwhile, for the Japanese market, it’ll still have a non-hybrid version. This Dynamic Force 1.5-liter 3-cylinder will be solely available in front-wheel drive, and comes with a choice between a 6-speed manual or CVT.

The simple, spacious interior comes with all sorts of storage solutions adding to the Yaris Cross’s practicality and versatility. This includes a power tailgate, a split-adjustable cargo floor, and a rear seat with a 40/20/40 split-fold.

The foundation of the Yaris Cross’s safety performance is its GA-B platform, giving the car an exceptionally rigid body. With the intention of meeting the highest and most rigorous independent test standards, it will further benefit from Toyota Safety Sense active safety systems and advanced driver assistance functions as well.

The Yaris Cross will be manufactured at Toyota Motor East Japan Co., Ltd. for the Japan market, and at Toyota Motor Manufacturing France for the European market.