Two rides to anticipate in 2012By Charles E. Buban
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Pent-up demand for luxury automobiles, coupled with a comeback in production for one Japanese icon means the Philippine auto industry is heating up.
Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. president Rommel Gutierrez believed auto sales this year are poised to grow double digits, looking at total sales of about 159,000 units or 12 percent more than the 141,616 units sold by members of Campi and Truck Manufacturers Association in 2011.
At end-June, total sales of companies belonging to both Campi and TMA reached 72,874 units or 4.43-percent higher than the number of vehicles sold in the same period last year, thus, proving that last the industry has recovered from last year’s earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan, as well as floods in Thailand (which disrupted the global supply chain).
At the luxury end of the spectrum, the new 2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class has gotten a lot of buzz lately. Why so? This particular luxury sport utility vehicle has been completely redesigned for 2012.
Although the new version share almost the same external dimensions and proportions as last year’s model, the new 2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class now has revamped powertrains, including all-new V6 engines, that have been getting high ratings worldwide in terms of green quality, fuel efficiency and in terms of performance review.
The new M-Class also comes with expanded active and passive safety features that have been getting prestigious ratings
worldwide; all-new electromechanical steering; a new active damping system, a more finely detailed interior and improved isolation of noise and vibration.
The good news is, CATS Motors, the country’s exclusive distributor of Mercedes Benz, is bringing the luxury SUV’s performance variant, the 258 horsepower, 3-liter ML 350 CDI AMG Sport.
The ML 350 CDI AMG Sport boasts a dash full of elegant curvatures that give the driver a sense of luxury everywhere they go. CATS Motors shared that apart from AMG body styling (front and rear apron, side sill panels in vehicle color), 19-inch AMG 5-spoke light-alloy wheels and sports brakes (perforated brage discs and painted brake caliper cover), this particular variant will have Eucalyptus wood trim, Harman Kardon Logic 7 surround sound system, Neck-Pro head restraint system and other luxury amenities.
CATS Motors informed that the ML 350 CDI AMG Sport will be priced at P6.28 million.
Those looking for exceptionally affordable fuel-sipper with surprising style may want to consider the upcoming all-new Mirage from Mitsubishi Motors Philippines.
Debuting at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show, the all-new Mirage is set to hit our shores in October. The compact hatch signals a change in direction for the Japanese company as it aims to create a global small car that will appeal to a broad worldwide audience.
The all-new Mirage would surely be welcomed with open arms by MMPC dealers, as they will have a new bet to entice a growing market seeking high quality yet affordable ride (currently MMPC’s “smallest” and most affordable model is the newly launched 1.6-liter Lancer EX and its predecessor the Lancer GLX and GLS).
The all-new Mirage will be powered by a 78-horsepower, 1.2-liter, three-cylinder MIVEC gasoline engine, with transmission choices of either five-speed manual or a CVT.
MMPC will bring in four variants: a 5-speed manual GLX, a CVT GLX, a 5-speed manual GLS and a CVT GLS. While most of these models will gave a price tag of below or around P500,000, the Ralliart version, handsomely out fitted with alloy wheels, roof spoiler and an engine start/stop button, will be available at around P600,000.
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