Story & Photos by Ronald Rey M. de los Reyes
THERE were 128,000 visitors who attended the four-day affair last year—the number to beat this 2018. Thus, lo’ and behold, with the recent successful staging of the 14th iteration of the Manila International Auto Show at the World Trade Center in Pasay City, the number grew to 138, 000 guests, making Mias the biggest—if not the grandest—show in the whole archipelago.
With the theme “Work and Play,” it housed about 200 companies and showcased more than 400 car and motorcycle displays in an expanded 34,850 square meters of exhibition space.
Starting from their humble beginnings in a 9,000 footprint, organizer Worldbex Services International founding Chairman Joseph Ang said in his speech during the opening ceremonies that their success wouldn’t have been possible without their thousands of spectators, which, together with the media, have devotedly supported them throughout the years. Thus, with their underlying theme for 2018, they aim to highlight the latest and the most outstanding automotive innovations that both capture the necessities and sheer desires of the motoring public.
“This year’s show would focus on presenting automotive technology that would enable the people to travel the world safely, leisurely and in style. When it comes to car ownership, improvement and maintenance, we are fueled by our commitment to alleviate the Philippine automotive industry,” Ang stated.
For 2018 these amazing showmen unraveled a performance that has never been seen before.
A parade of American horses
First to draw blood in a tight schedule of activities during the first day is Ford Philippines, with their array American muscle cars, crossovers and a king-sized sport-utility vehicle (SUV).
With 875 horses under its hood, the all-new Ford Expedition Limited Max flaunted its flamboyant flair.
“No matter the road, no matter the weather, no matter the buzz from the chaos outside, you are in control. You and your family are safe. You’ll get to your destination. With the all-aluminum body and the turbo-charged 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost engine, it is more powerful,” invoked Ford’s local marketing guru Prudz Castillo.
Next up on stage was their very own iconic muscle car, their new Ford Mustang, which was now offered either a 5-liter GT with 10-speed A/T, or a 5-liter V8 GT with a six-speed manual with an exclusive drop top.
“We’re very much excited about the new Mustang, especially the top down,” shared Mustang Car Club of the Philippines Founder Wes Gatchalian, whose own group had a rare eyeball at Mias on a Sunday morning.
A Korean hybrid spectacle
Of course, another part of the globe won’t let its rivals take the show from them as Hyundai Asia Resources Inc. (Hari) took to the spotlight their newest model offerings.
“It’s really edgy and sophisticated technology that has been launched here at Mias,” imparted Hari President and CEO Maria Fe Perez-Agudo.
“Aside from our products, we also really want to connect with our customers.”
Hence, the Hyundai Ioniq is Hari’s answer to sustainable mobility. With its affordable price of P1.498 million, it becomes practically the most affordable hybrid vehicle in the country bar none. This was partly made possible through the government’s new Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion law. Bringing it to life is its 1.6-liter GLS 6DCT engine, which produces 104hp and 147Nm of torque, mated to a six-speed dual-clutch transmission. Its lithium-ion polymer battery has a capacity of 1.56kWh—supplying 42kW and 240 volts to its electric motor, which, in turn, delivers 43hp and 170Nm.
Sharing the limelight with this Korean star were the crossovers—the first-ever Kona and the fourth-generation Santa Fe. With this, Hari aims to get a slice of the hotly competitive crossover market.
For those more high-spirited drivers, the launch of the second-generation Veloster have been music to their ears as it sports 204 PS from its 1.6-liter turbocharged direct injection engine, not to mention that aggressive-looking hot hatch that it’s always been known for.
A ‘Dzirable’ first act
Suzuki Philippines’s (SPH) first foray into the annual show of all things automotive was such a charming feat, hands down.
“We want to build on the momentum we achieved early this year. While our expansion and sales efforts prove to be effective, we remain active in looking for platforms that can help us broaden the reach of the Suzuki brand in the country, and joining Mias showed promising potential to fulfill that objective,” SPH Vice President and General Manager for Automobile Shuzo Hoshikura said.
Making it special was their preview of the soon-to-launch Suzuki Dzire with Auto Gear Shift technology upgrade.
Also on display are its award-winning and best-selling vehicles, such as the all-new Vitara, 2017 CAGI Car of the Year awardee under the Subcompact Crossover Category; Ciaz, Best Fuel Economy Rate awardee of the DOE Eco Run 2017 and the Ertiga, Suzuki’s popular life-utility vehicle. The almighty Suzuki Hayabusa also graced the showcase. What made their exhibit truly endearing was their introduction of their Suzuki Safety Scouts, wherein they were joined by their influencers Kelly Misa and Mikael Daez.
Other ‘Work and Play’ ensemble
Also, making spectacular showcases were Foton with their Toplander and their other commercial models, the Volvo XC90 Hybrid SUV and the Jeep Wrangler, among others.
A celebration of mobility
Wherein the latest box-office hit The Greatest Showman celebrated humanity with various sizes, colors and backgrounds, here we honored various forms of mobility.
“The primary objective of Mias is to promote the auto industry. We want to showcase all of them under one roof [or this time five buildings] the latest in the automotive scene,” imparted Mias coorganizer Alvin Uy.
With this said, one of the greatest showmen of all time, P.T. Barnum once said: “The noblest art is that of making others happy.”
Thus, more than just the four-day auto show, this scribe looks forward to those big smiles after the whole auto industry performs on a bigger stage for the rest of the 365 days of the year.