Of ironies and silver linings

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There is no downplaying the dire effects the world faces with the Covid-19 pandemic. We’re all in for tough times which is an understatement. But amid the difficulties, we can take solace from silver linings in the dark clouds rising before us. As well as the funny-sad ironies of being under what government describes as the enhanced community quarantine.

One obvious silver lining, and also an irony, is that the good and best are rising in the worst of times. We’ve seen that in some mayors, their staff and employees — coming to the fore to keep constituencies safe with social distancing while ensuring the basic needs are met with innovative and commonsensical solutions. This has inspired — or forced — more to also do better in their own constituencies.

We’ve seen that in the courage of the front-liners — from doctors, nurses and all the staff at hospitals and clinics, employees from stockers, cashiers, guards of groceries, supermarkets, pharmacies, and even to the garbage collectors — who daily face the danger of infection just showing up for work vital to keep community running and secure. People see the value of the work that many of the seemingly lowly do. Now people understand the importance of the roles each and every sector and individual play in the community.

Then there are the drivers of vehicles commandeered by authorities or volunteered by automakers and transport operators, to help ferry the front-liners — who don’t have private vehicles, motorcycles or cars — from home to work and back. And of course, those who transport vital commodities, materials and goods to places where they are needed. This again also emphasizes the importance of an efficient mass transport and affordable personal mobility if we are use auto industry terminology for owned vehicles.

Silver linings and funny-sad ironies also permeate motoring. The pandemic has seen fuel prices falling. But you don’t see vehicles lining up to take advantage. The enhanced community quarantine means no driving beyond — oh, let’s call a spade a spade — locked-down boundaries. This would be a great time for long road trips. Or even short food runs. You’ll virtually have all the street and highways to yourself. But then you’ll have to deal with the checkpoints.

Meanwhile, automakers and distributors are continuing to launch vehicles — online of course — that should be dream cars for many of differing taste, needs and means. But buying or acquiring them would have to wait for when the community quarantines — enhanced or not — end.

Suzuki Offerings

Suzuki S-Presso

Suzuki Philippines has added two new vehicles to its lineup — the all-new XL7, an SUV, and the S-Presso, a compact crossover.

In a press statement, Keiichi Suzuki, Suzuki Philippines VP and GM for automobile division, said: “We have seen our customers progress over the years and it is only fitting that we in Suzuki make sure that we are able to provide them with top-notch vehicles which champion the Suzuki Way of Life! in their everyday lives. The newest addition to our SUVs which is the XL7, perfectly fuses exterior aesthetic and dynamic interior with its seating capacity that can accommodate seven passengers.”

He added: “The S-Presso that proudly boasts of the iconic Suzuki SUV design is perfect for our customers who appreciate compact cars that deliver excellent engine performance made to match their needs when it comes to conquering daily challenges on the road.”

Suzuki XL7

The new XL7’s K15B engine generates 103hp and torque of 138Nm.

Suzuki describes the S-Presso as  a compact crossover with a modern take on the iconic Suzuki SUV design. It is powered by a fuel-efficient 1.0L engine mated to a five-speed manual.

Interior amenities include storage space for bottles and cupholders, air conditioning with heater control, and front power windows. Safety features include dual airbags, Rear Parking Assist, and ABS. 

The S-presso is priced at a P518,000.

Mitsubishi Strada Athlete

Mitsubishi Motors Philippines (MMPC) has unleashed the Strada Athlete into the pickup market. 

The Strada Athlete features a black dynamic shield, black front bumper garnish, 18-inch black alloy wheels, as well as styling bar and side decal accents. The 4×4 variant boasts a a luxurious two-tone interior finish.

In a press statement, Mutsuhiro Oshikiri, MMPC president and CEO, said: “We are very excited to introduce the Strada Athlete here in the Philippines as we strongly feel that the new design will appeal very well to pick-up enthusiasts. It’s robust and sporty design best represents the capabilities of our truck. With 40 years of truck engineering heritage, the Strada has been refined to become a well-balanced road warrior that does not only conquer rough terrains but also provides advance technology, comfort and safety to its driver and passenger.”

Powering the Strada Athlete is a 2.4-liter MIVEC Turbo Clean Diesel engine that produces 181ps and 430Nm of torque. It is matched with a six-speed automatic with Super Select 4WD II.

Features and amenities include Forward Collision Mitigation (FCM); Blind Spot Warning with Lane Change Assist (BSW with LCA); Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA); Ultrasonic Misacceleration Mitigation System (UMS); Trailer Stability Assist; Hill Descent Control; Hill Start Assist; Multi Around Monitor with guiding and expected course line; Auto High Beam, and Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution (RISE) body.

The new Mitsubishi Strada Athlete is available in both 4×2 and 4×4 variants priced at P1,443,000 and P1,760,000, respectively.

Deadline Extensions

Transport operators and drivers need not worry about missing deadlines for renewal of permits, licenses and franchises. The Department of Transportation (DOTr), the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) have announced extensions of up April 15 for renewal of permits, licenses, franchises, vehicle registrations.

The DOTr ordered the LTO and LTFRB to waive penalties for late renewals caused by the enhanced community quarantee imposed in many places in the country.

In a press statement, the DOTr said the Personal Passenger Accident Insurance Program (PPAIP) will be automatically extended until May 15, 2020 without any additional fees on the part of the operators.

Provisional Authorities (PA) and Special Permits (SP) issued to TNVS, PUBs, TH, Taxi, and UV Express, with expiry dates covering the period of March 17, 2020 to April 15, 2020, will also be extended until June 15, 2020 with waiver of fees, it added.

Happy Motoring!!!

For comments & inquiries email [email protected] or visit www.motoringtoday.ph.

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