From April 7 to April 10, 2016, car enthusiasts formed a beeline to the World Trade Center in Pasay City for this year’s staging of the Manila International Auto Show. Arguably one of the biggest automotive shows in the country, an impressive count of attendees turned out for the four-day extravaganza, set off by the curtain raising Thursday ceremonials.
The WTC lobby area showcased the familiar names in aftermarket industy. Concept One Wheels, the company behind Black Rhino and Saffiro Tires displayed a customized Jeep Rubicon that has been upgraded with Black Rhino wheels and off-road lights from PIAA of Japan. Motul, the specialist brand for engine oils and lubricants displayed an array of iconic Lotus race cars, along with its “Drive Right” campaign. Red Rock Travel, on the other hand, had a racing simulator built by famed bodykits builder Atoy Llave of the Singapore GP that allowed participants to try their hand at driving through the different conditions on the Marina Bay Circuit. New kid on the block, CTEK, the Swedish brand of smart battery chargers, displayed its full selection of consumer and professional chargers, alongside crowd favorite, the BMW M4.
The main hall was where all the action took place. First day highlights kicked off with Ford and its introduction of new variants to the EcoSport (dubbed, the EcoSport Black Edition) and the Everest (with a new Titanium 2.2 4×2 A/T Premium version). Subaru officially unveiled the 2016 Forester and positioned on centerstage the Viziv concept car, flown all the way from Singapore. Hyundai occupied two categories: one for trucks and another for passenger vehicles, introducing the sporty Veloster hatchback and the new Santa Fe.
At the hall’s center, comeback kid Ssangyong unveiled the first three models for the Philippine market: the Rodius, Korando, and Tivoli; which was prior to the opening of its first dealership. Foton officially entered into the passenger category with the Toplander, displaying three units of the model SUV. And despite last year’s issues, Mitsubishi Motors put on pedestal the 2016 Montero Sport and, surprise, the new Mirage. What made the automotive displays visually appealing were the roof accessories from the Outdoors Club, which equipped the vehicles with Rhino roof racks and Montblanc luggage boxes from Sweden.
Other highlights had the new Chevrolet Sail, the carmaker’s entry into the entry-level passenger car category, the Peugeot 307 GTI, the new KIA Sportage, and the Mercedes NGCC generation of compact cars. The biggest attraction still remained to be the well-attended Russ Swift Stunt Drive Show, under the helm of Motor Image’s Subaru.