Upward and onward – these are the two words that best describe the growth of the Philippine automotive industry after what we call the “bleep” that was the pandemic. And the previously concluded 2023 Manila International Auto Show was the perfect manifestation of that.
In fact, the organizers of the MIAS said that the four-day motor show, which happened from April 13-16, 2023, clocked in a new record of attendees at 149,000. This is even higher than the number of attendees in 2019 before the pandemic.
Carrying the theme “Shaping Mobility,” a total of 17 car brands showcased the hottest in the local auto industry, giving us a taste of either their latest offering or what discerning car buyers can expect in the near future.
The columnists of Philstar Wheels voted for which were the most important car launches that happened at the 2023 MIAS. We believe these vehicles will set the pace this year, and are the models that will locally shape mobility in the years to come
The most important car launch at the 2023 MIAS was also coincidentally the show opener. Ford was back on its usual massive booth on the leftmost side of the World Trade Center and the star of the show was the next-generation Ford Territory.
With 20,000 customers since the nameplate’s launch in 2020, the Territory is definitely one of Blue Oval’s volume-sellers. The launch of the new-generation model should refresh the model to prospect crossover buyers, though we have the rest of the year to see if this launch will translate to actual sales numbers.
Hyundai Ioniq 6
The Hyundai Ioniq 6 wasn’t a car launch, but it’s a preview of what’s to come for the revitalized Hyundai brand in the Philippines. The electric sedan is a sophomore to the Ioniq 5 EV, and aims to give Filipinos a taste of fuel-free mobility.
Why is it important? It shows that Hyundai Motor Philippines is being bullish with its electric push and is pretty confident about the trajectory of the local EV market. HMPH will launch the Ioniq 6 within the year with a target price tag of P4-million.
Jetour is one of the newest automotive players in the Philippine market, with a public launch set at the 2023 MIAS. With a four-pronged lineup as a starter, the Chinese brand’s flagship model is the Dashing and frankly, it’s aptly named. So much so that it attracted a number of attendees to the brand’s MIAS display and even test drives as early as the first day.
We’ll see if Jetour’s strategy of offering incredibly affordable vehicles will pay off this year, but seeing how the brand attracted interest at the show, we won’t be surprised if the brand will racked up numbers.
Jetour Ice Cream EV
The second Jetour on this list, the Ice Cream EV is quite important in the fact that it’s the most affordable fully-electric vehicle in the market right now (that’s officially launched). The tiny EV, based on the Chery QQ, has a sticker price of P699,000, offering Filipino buyers freedom from gasoline prices without breaking the bank.
Will this entice more buyers to go electric? Only time will tell but just like the rest of Jetour’s booth, the model amassed quite an audience during the 2023 MIAS, which should be a good sign.
MG ZS Nite Edition
When MG launched the ZS several years ago, it racked up some numbers – enough to disrupt the subcompact crossover segment and spark a revolution among brands to bring in their respective players. The new ZS Nite Edition aims to reignite that spark with sleeker styling.
Even better, the new model still comes with the very reason why the nameplate is popular: competitive pricing. The new ZS Nite Edition is priced at P1,018,888.
The GAC Emkoo is the newest crossover in the lineup of vehicles from the Chinese automaker. It made an appearance at the MIAS, capturing the attention of attendees with its concept-like styling. It also represents the new design direction that the brand is going, and it’s looking quite good.
With a goal of achieving a 10 percent share of the entire market, the GAC Emkoo isn’t only important for the brand itself but also for its distributor, Astara. We’ll see if this compelling crossover with a price tag that starts at P1.4 million will be beneficial for Astara to achieve its goal.
Great Wall Cannon
Great Wall Motor is another new player in the local automotive scene. It launched a pair of Haval crossovers with hybrid variants to slightly touch on electrification, but probably the most important launch for the brand is its pickup truck – the GWM Cannon.
It goes without saying that pickup trucks are big (literally and figuratively) in the Philippine market. The Cannon not only offers advanced features not expected from a pickup truck but also a refined ride quality, also not expected from a truck. Its price tag is also a clincher, with a number that’s south of the P1-million mark.