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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Top 5 Picks for 2014

2014 is a renaissance of sorts for the Philippine automotive industry. Record-breaking sales (topping north of 200,000 units), tons of events, and a great number of new entrants—for those covering the industry, it’s been a very busy year. Therefore, picking just the top five cars/vehicles of the year isn’t easy, but it’s something we have been doing for the past three years now (2013, 2012, 2011). As always, we don’t break it down into categories or classifications here. This is pretty straight to the point. No bull crap here. There are only two rules to be considered for CarGuide.PH’s Top 5 Picks: first, we should have driven it; second, it must be mainstream (no cars above PHP 4-million).

Now that we’ve put everything in order, let’s get on with CarGuide.PH’s Top 5 Picks of 2014. The list begins, in preferential order, after the break.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Hyundai Sales Increase 9 Percent January to November 2014

Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI) continued to post positive growth as sales hit a total of 21,405 units in January to November this year, 9% higher as compared with the same period last year. In November, total units sold were 1,730, up by 1% year-on-year.

Volvo Philippines Shares Gifts with Chosen Children

Volvo Philippines gives back as it shares its blessings to the Chosen Children Village Foundation, Inc. (CCVFI). In celebration of its 20th year in the country, Volvo continues its dedication to care for people when it teamed up with the Scandinavian Society of the Philippines (SSP) in a recent visit to the Chosen Children Village. Ferried by the dynamic line of Volvo cars, sponsors and donors trooped to Silang, Cavite and enjoyed a day with these special children, bringing with them love, care and financial aid to further the rehabilitation and continued development of children in this home.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Hyundai Philippines Launches 2015 Sonata (w/ Brochure)

Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI), the official distributor of Hyundai in the Philippines, used its festive Christmas Party to unveil the all-new seventh generation Sonata executive sedan to the media, dealers, and VIP guests. The all-new Sonata builds on the global success of its most immediate predecessor and is poised to set new standards in luxury, quality, and refinement. The all-new Sonata is built with four innovations in mind: Run, Stop, Versatility, Protect (RSVP) and the entire car is built to encapsulate those four elements.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Review: 2014 Tata Manza Aura Quadrajet Diesel

Photos by Ulysses Ang
Whenever you step out of the Tata Manza, it’s inevitable to be the butt of Indian jokes. A couple of times, I was quizzed whether it was curry-powered or at least ask me how it drives with whatever passes for an Indian accent. Clearly, it’s all part of the birthing pains for Tata, being the pioneering Indian car brand in the country. You don’t have to look far to see that a car buyer’s bias is still there: some will say Korean cars are as delectable on the palette as kimchee or that all Chinese cars are built by people named Cheech or Chong. As a car guy, I can’t have that bias. I’ve got to respect cars based on individual merit and strength. So when the Tata Manza Aura arrived at my doorstep, I won’t care where it’s from. I only mind its design and engineering. And you know what? It’s actually a respectable little car.

McLaren-Honda Prepares for 2015; Announces All-Star Driver Line-Up

McLaren-Honda is delighted to announce its new driver line-up for 2015: Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button. Kevin Magnussen will remain an important part of the team, as test and reserve driver.

BYD F0 is Official Car of "Challenge of Champions"

The BYD F0 served as the “spec car” during the recent Challenge of Champions (COC) race-off, organized by Flat Out Race Series Inc. (FORS) headed by Edward dela Rosa, which was held on December 6 at the Batangas Racing Circuit in Rosario, Batangas.

Honda Cars Makati Extends Reign as Customer Service Champions

Representatives from Honda Cars Makati, Inc. (HCMI) commanded a strong, solid finish as they, time and again, dominated the 13th National Customer Service Skills Competition (formerly National Technicians’ Contest or NTC) organized by Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI).

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Ford Philippines Previews All-New 2015 Mustang with Limited Edition 50th Anniversary Model

In celebration of the iconic Mustang’s 50th anniversary as well as to whet the appetite of Filipino car enthusiasts, Ford Philippines showed off the 50 Years Limited Edition All-New Ford Mustang. Based on the all-new 2015 Mustang, the 50 Years Limited Edition model carries unique features and specially-designed elements on both the exterior and interior.

Volkswagen Philippines Now Offers Leasing Program

Volkswagen offers you the freedom to afford one of life’s luxuries by giving you more options to choose from. Introducing Volkswagen Auto Leasing – for people who want to experience easy ownership plan and a one-stop shop offering exceptional amenities and customer services.

Uber Manila Partners with LBC to Send Your Christmas Gifts

The magical holiday season is in full swing and it’s the time of the year when you want to maximize face time with your family and loved ones. As we scramble to choose the nicest gifts to give, the idea of delivering these presents through the grindingly slow Metro Manila traffic is the least exciting part of it.

Maserati Centennial Gathering Wins International Historic Motoring 'Tour of the Year' Award (IHMA)

Luxury Italian automotive manufacturer, Maserati, was honored with the prestigious Tour of the Year Award at the 2014 International Historic Motoring Awards (IHMA) at a ceremony in London last week. The iconic Italian marque won the prize for its Centennial Gathering, a three-day tour which took place in Italy from the 18th to 20th September.

Titan Motorwerks Brings XPEL and Durashield Paint Protection Films to the Philippines

There are two types of car owners in this world when it comes to caring for their vehicles. The proactive and the reactive owners.  Proactive owners are the people who even before they buy their respective cars have already decided where to get it fix before something breaks. Reactive owners, on the other hand, never maximize the potential of their vehicles because they postpone routine maintenance until it’s absolutely necessary.

Petron Powers AAP Caravan

Petron Blaze 100 Euro 4 was the official fuel of the Quezon Drive Tour Caravan held last November 29-30, 2014, and organized by AAP Travel, a fully-owned subsidiary of Automobile Association Philippines (AAP).

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Ford Philippines Bags 15 Awards; Ranger Wildtrak Hailed as Philippine 2014-2015 Truck of the Year

Ford Philippines ended November on a victorious note as it received a total of 13 awards from the Car Awards Group, Inc. (CAGI) and the Auto Focus People’s and Media’s Choice Awards.

Best Philippine Drifters Awarded at Hyundai Lateral Drift Championship Awards Ceremony

There were no crashes, but lots of burning—as the best drifters in the Philippines smoked out tires and engines in the recently concluded 2014 Hyundai Lateral Drift Championship. In its ninth year, and second in partnership with Hyundai Asia Resources Inc. (HARI), this season’s drift championship showcased 40 drivers, proving the immense growth of the sport in the country.

2014 Yokohama Philippine GT Championship Season Finale Set on December 14

After spending more than a month in hiatus, the Yokohama Philippine GT Championship is finally ready to host the sixth and final round of the 2014 season. Although the GT 300, GT 150, and GT 100 drivers' title have all been decided, there are still trophies and egos still at stake when the drivers line up on the grid for the final time this coming December 13 to 14 in Batangas Racing Circuit.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

AVID Car Sales Up 20 Percent in October

The Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors (AVID), displayed a positive sales performance in October of 3,101 units, up by 20% year-on-year. Sales for the ten-month tally reached 30,114 units, growing by 19%. Both growth in Passenger Car (PC) and Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) segments contributed to the overall sales of AVID. However, sales for Mini was not reflected in the total reported October sales for AVID.

Visa and Caltex Launch "Win Big with a Mini" Raffle Promo

Visa and Chevron Philippines have a big surprise in store for their clients as they collaborate to introduce the “Win Big with a Mini” Caltex-Visa Promo. Starting December 1, 2014, Visa Credit, Debit, and Prepaid cardholders who gas up at participating Caltex stations can get a chance to win an all-new Mini Cooper A/T 1.5L for every PHP 1,000 worth of Caltex Diesel with Techron, Caltex Silver with Techron, or Caltex Gold with Techron.

Petron Engine Oils: Specially Formulated for Philippine Market

As the only and biggest Filipino refiner, Petron has a deep understanding of the unique driving conditions on Philippine roads, and Petron takes pride in formulating products that will deliver optimum efficiency for Filipino motorists.

BEMAC Philippines Carmona Plant Now Ready for Production

BEMAC Electric Transportation Philippines, Incorporated formerly known as BEET Philippines announced that their assembly line for electric vehicles (EVs) is now on place and is ready for mass production.

First Drive: 2015 Subaru Legacy 2.5i-S and Outback 2.5i-S

No turbo? That’s inevitably the first question asked by everyone during the launch of the all-new 2015 Subaru Legacy and Outback in Bangkok. It’s also the one question that Mr. Masayuki Uchida, Senior Project General Manager for both products could easily answer. His response: a turbocharged engine is not in line with the Legacy or Outback’s character. He’s aiming for an executive sedan with a smooth, comfortable, confident, and above all, linear driving experience; a turbocharged engine simply cannot deliver the refinement he wants. Mr. Uchida should know what he’s talking about: the vastly experienced 55-year old has worked on the Legacy since the first-generation model in 1981. This effectively means he’s worked on Subaru’s flagship offering for about half his life.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thailand Motor Expo 2014: Mazda2 Sedan Makes Global Debut

Photos by Ulysses Ang and Mazda Press
Fresh from winning the Japan Car of the Year 2014-2015 award, the Mazda2 gains a new sedan form which debuts at the 31st Thailand Motor Expo 2014. The all-new sedan variant joins the hatchback in offering the most up-to-date Skyactiv technology in the Mazda line-up. In Thailand, the Mazda2 also brandishes a 1.5-liter Skyactiv-D clean diesel (Euro 5) engine good for a healthy 105 horsepower at 4,000 rpm and 250 Nm of torque from 1,500 rpm. It makes the all-new Mazda2 sedan the first vehicle to quality for Phase II of Thailand’s Eco Car program. It easily exceeds the requirements of doing 23.2 km/L and CO2 emissions not above 100g/km.

UPDATED: Thailand Motor Expo 2014: Honda Launches 2015 HR-V, Brio-Based Wagon (w/ Video)

Photos by Ulysses Ang
UPDATE 2: This is how the Honda HR-V squares up against the competition. (6/9)

UPDATE 1: Honda Cars Philippines just launched the HR-V for the Philippines. (6/7)

Readying its assault in the growing sub-compact crossover segment, Honda finally pulled the wraps off the Jazz-based HR-V at the 31st Bangkok Motor Expo 2014. Dubbed the “Premium Sport Crossover”, the HR-V gets a unique powertrain configuration for the Thai market which will most likely be carried over to the rest of the ASEAN region.

Thailand Motor Expo 2014: 2015 Ford Mustang is Now a Global Muscle Car

Photos by Ulysses Ang
In time with the Ford Mustang’s 50th anniversary, Ford shows off the all-new 2015 version of the iconic muscle car for the first time in the ASEAN region at the 31st Thailand Motor Expo 2014. Showcased in a left-hand drive configuration at the show, the all-new Mustang is expected to make its arrival in the Philippines early 2015.

Thailand Motor Expo 2014: Nissan Gunning for the Top with NP300 Navara

Photos by Ulysses Ang
Not to be outdone and outgunned in the pick-up race, Nissan Philippines invited a couple of journalists to preview the all-new 2015 NP300 Navara at the 31st Thailand Motor Expo 2014. Although the X-Trail is the main highlight of Nissan Thailand’s pavilion (it’s the venue for the Thai market’s launch), Filipino eyes looked straight towards the striking NP300 Navara which shared the stage with Nissan’s premium compact crossover.

Thailand Motor Expo 2014: Hyundai HND-9 Concept is the Future Genesis Coupe

Photo by Ulysses Ang
First showcased at the 2013 Seoul Motor Show, Hyundai is showing off its future design direction with the HND-9 Concept, a luxury sports coupe that’s being shown in ASEAN for the very first time at the 31st Thailand Motor Expo 2014. A further evolution of the company’s “Fluidic Sculpture” design philosophy, the HND-9 is Hyundai’s modern interpretation of the classic premium sports coupe. It was developed at the company’s R&D Center in Namyang, Korea.

UPDATED: Thailand Motor Expo 2014: 2015 Mitsubishi Triton/Strada Gets Face Time

Photos by Ulysses Ang
UPDATE 1: The all-new 2015 Mitsubishi Strada is officially launched (3/20).

One of Mitsubishi’s best-selling and most important products, the Triton (Philippine market Strada) receives the lion share of attention at the 31st Thailand Motor Expo 2014. Not only does it occupy the majority of Mitsubishi’s huge pavilion, but several examples of the pick-up are displayed around the Impact Challenger convention center. The first major re-design in nine years, the all-new 2015 Strada is Mitsubishi’s revamped entrant in the ever competitive pick-up segment.

Thailand Motor Expo 2014: 2015 Subaru Outback is Now a More Premium Flagship

Photos by Ulysses Ang
Subaru’s flagship crossover, the all-new 2015 Outback, takes center stage at the brand’s pavilion at the 31st Thailand Motor Expo 2014. It serves as the venue for the regional launch of the said crossover along with the all-new Legacy (which isn’t shown at the show itself). As always, the Outback combines passenger car comfort with the long-distance touring capabilities and load space of a sport utility vehicle. In developing the latest Outback, Subaru delivers class-leading performance, confident all-wheel drive handling, and all-around safety.