Getting to know many cars – in one venue

The more than 1,000 visitors to the Auto Focus Pre-Christmas Test Drive Festival (AFTDF) held from November 14 to 17, 2019 at the SM MOA Concert Grounds in Pasay City have validated the claim that it is considered the biggest test drive event in the country.

The visitors lined up to test drive the cars that they said they would like to buy soon and the event gave them the extraordinary chance to compare the various brands in one venue. Aside from the knowledgeable staff of the auto distributors and manufacturers who explained the specs of the vehicles, the visitors were given as many chances to test drive each vehicle in his or her wish list.

In fact, some of them said the test drive event gave them a clearer guide to make their decision and a few admitted that they had changed their minds on the model they had wished for – after driving the cars.

The AFTDF is now on 15th year. The event, held twice a year, has Summer and Pre-Christmas editions.

At the recent AFTDF were the vehicles of Changan, Chevrolet, Ford, GAC, Honda, Isuzu, Kia, Maxus, Mitsubishi, Nissan, SsangYong, Subaru, Suzuki, Toyota, and Volkswagen.

Organized by Sunshine Television (STV), AFTDF brought together competing car manufacturers and distributors in a single venue that displayed their latest models and offered test drives and special deals to prospective car buyers. This test drive event started in 2005.

Here’s a piece of trivia about how this test drive festival started, from the words of my good friend Gerry Aquino, who remembers the idea coming up during an actual race – while we were both driving in Macau:

“This is how the whole conversation went, while race cars passed us and our eyes were glued to the issue at hand – to drive faster than them! The germ of the idea to hold a test drive event came before the race was over. And in 2005, Butch finally got it going first in BGC. I’m glad that this has evolved into what is now, probably the biggest outdoor test drive festival in the Philippines. I’m happy to see that Butch has been able to do this from a germ of an idea in the midst of all those cars running past us in Macau. So I’d like to congratulate Butch, STV, and thank all of you for supporting something that was a germ of an idea 30 years ago.”

Here are a few comments from the visitors:

Miguel Hupano: “Overall, it’s pretty large. It can accommodate all the vehicles but sometimes the cars pile up (along the test drive route). A bigger lot is recommended, and at least three or four more courses so as to accommodate more units My message is –keep it up, keep up the good work and hoping for a much better event next year.”

Jovanni Medrano: “The test course would be better if there is more space so we can see how the cars perform. I enjoyed very much.”

Raymond Tiangco: “It’s actually very good. I appreciate that all the car manufacturers are here in one spot so it saves you the time from going around, and at least you have the full selection of all the variants that you want. The sales people were very responsive; they know what they’re talking about, so it’s actually a very good experience. I wish there was more track, but it was okay! To the organizers, thank you for putting up this event. It’s very worth one’s time because if you’re really in the market for a car, there’s no better place to look for a car than here.”

Aber Arapol: “The test drive was good, it was the first time we got to see the quality of each car because of the test drive. The test drive course was okay because it gave us a chance to check the turning radius, and there was a rough portion too.”

The Test Drive Festival is sponsored by Phoenix Fuels with Pulse Technology, which has been STV’s partner since the 2018 Summer staging of the AFTDF. On the opening day, a gas-up activity with Phoenix Petroleum was held at Phoenix MOA.

Happy Motoring!

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