Story & photos by Patrick P. Tulfo
“MIXING business with pleasure” has long been part of the advertisements of many products and services. But car lovers got to see, feel and even take this mantra for a spin at the 2018 Manila International Auto Show (Mias), the country’s largest automotive exhibition, which was held at the World Trade Center on April 5 to 8.
Mias organizer Worldbex Services International said in a press statement that this year’s “Work and Play” theme highlights vehicles that cater to either career-driven professionals or to adventure seekers.
“Last year Mias racked up at least 128,000 visitors as it housed 145 companies and boasted 250 displays throughout its four-day run,” the company said. In turn, Mias 2018 expands its venue to 34,850 square meters and has noted over 400 car and motorcycle displays.
Among the highlights of the show were the local debut of the facelifted Ford Mustang and the all-new Ford Expedition, the Mitsubishi Xpander, the new sport-utility vehicles from Hyundai, the all-new Dodge Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab, the updated Mercedes-Benz GLC and the debut of Russian carmaker GAZ.
In addition, the show’s annual Custom and Classic Car Competition attracted over 100 of the country’s most outrageous, breathtaking and eye-catching automobiles. Meanwhile, truck lovers got to admire some real heavy machinery at the show Truck Pavilion.
And for those who find joy without needing to go large, the Die Cast Display and Swap Meet gave die-cast car lovers the chance to not only see but also trade their models with each other.
Government must give alternatives
Transportation Undersecretary for Roads Tim M. Orbos, who was a guest speaker at the show’s opening, told the BusinessMirror that Mias is a “good initiative” from the private sector.
“The theme really sits well with what the government is doing right now,” he said. “We are doing the ‘Build, Build, Build.’ Therefore, we need to work, work, work in order for the private sector to begin working and playing.”
The P9-trillion Build, Build, Build infrastructure program, which aims to develop much-needed roads, bridges and even public-transport services—is one of the key programs of the Duterte administration’s economic agenda.
Orbos added Filipinos should not be discouraged from buying cars despite worsening road congestion in Metro Manila.
“The growth of the industry [has] always been related to congestion,” he said. “And for me, it shouldn’t be so. The drive is really to move people, not cars, but, having said that, it doesn’t mean that we’re discouraging people from buying cars.”
“It’s really up to the government to provide ample transportation, from pedestrian lanes to rails, for people to have a more convenient, a safer mode of transport at their disposal,” Orbos added. “Then you can say there’s an alternative. Right now, it’s not something that we can really say until after all the Build, Build, Build programs have been done.”