Motor Image Pilipinas revealed its 2020 plans and also made a bold prediction that its sales will increase by 30 percent compared to 2019 levels.
At last weekend’s Singapore Motor Show, Glenn Tan, deputy chairman and managing director of Motor Image’s parent company, Tan Chong International, brimmed with confidence thanks to a slew of new and refreshed models arriving this year.
Refreshed Subaru Impreza
The Impreza gets a makeover in 2020, and this will hopefully help boost its sales moving forward. It receives a breadth of aesthetic upgrades like the new LED headlights, front, grille, front bumper, fog lights, alloy wheels, and color, Magnetite Gray. Inside, de rigueur dash stitching finds its way onto the multi-function display while a new high-gloss paneling surrounds the climate control panel.
For comfort and convenience, the 2020 Impreza adds a whole slew of safety features including a front view monitor, rear seat remind feature which alerts the driver to check the rear seats before exiting the vehicle, and a reverse-linked tilt-down passenger side mirror. The Subaru EyeSight driver assist system is also expected to become standard equipment.
Mechanically, the Impreza continues almost unchanged and for that it remains powered by the direct-injected FB20 engine making 154hp and 196Nm of torque. The sole transmission is the Lineartronic CVT. That said, to give it some pep, it now comes with Subaru’s SI-Drive system. This adds two changeable driving modes: Sport and Intelligent. A retuned suspension completes the changes.
Subaru Forester e-BOXER
Subaru will be the first to offer a mainstream gasoline-electric hybrid SUV in the Philippines with the launch of the Forester e-BOXER by the third quarter of 2020.
The Forester e-BOXER pairs a 145hp/196Nm 2.0-liter direct-injection engine with a 13.5hp/66Nm electric motor. With that, it’s highly efficient with a city/highway fuel consumption figure of 14.92 km/L.
With electrification built into the design of the Subaru Global Platform, engineers were able to place the electric motor and the battery along the car’s central axis, keeping the handling characteristics of the Forester e-BOXER close to its IC-powered sibling. Furthermore, the compact electric motor and lithium-ion battery keeps the luggage compartment at a generous 509 liters.
More than just increased efficiency, the e-BOXER system enhances the Forester’s performance, too. With a special X-MODE system, Motor Assist (gasoline engine + electric motor) activates from 0 km/h helping drivers tackle the trickiest of terrains.
7-Seater Subaru Ascent arriving with a different name
Another interesting tidbit shared by Tan has to do with the seven-seater Subaru Ascent. Apparently, it will arrive in the country, but with a different name.
“The Subaru Ascent will carry the name Evoltis,” says Tan. “The Ascent name cannot be used for our market due to issues with its name. However, it will be the same vehicle — the same seven-seater SUV made at Subaru of Indiana using the turbocharged 2.4-liter Boxer engine.”
This makes perfect sense since Subaru Corporation has actually filed a trademark for the name, Evoltis way back in 2018. Previously though it was rumored to have been the name of the brand’s upcoming plug-in hybrid vehicle; apparently, that’s not the case. Instead, it’s going to be the Subaru Ascent’s export name for markets such as the Philippines.
The launch date is slated around the third quarter of 2020 and may launch side-by-side with the Subaru Forester e-BOXER.
More GT Edition Models on the way
Finally, sales are expected to be stronger this year thanks to the introduction of more GT Edition models such as the Forester GT Edition. A sportier variant of their most popular model, the Forester, it joins the Subaru XV GT Edition in getting a body kit specifically designed for Motor Image by former Subaru designer, Masahiko “Jack” Kobayashi.
“The introduction of the GT Edition to our Subaru XV has boosted our sales by around 30 percent,” reveals Tan. “We expect the same effect with the introduction of the GT Edition for the Forester as well as the Levorg GT Edition which will soon follow.”
Kobayashi introduced new design elements to the Forester without compromising things like ground clearance. The special GT Edition has four integral elements: a front bumper extension, side skirts, roof spoiler, and rear bumper extension.
These are then complemented by a set of five-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels. Inside, the leather seats receive silver highlights — a nod to high-performance grand tourers from Germany and Great Britain. Completing the equipment package for the Forester GT is a new 8-inch Display Audio infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as a 360-degree camera.
The Forester GT Edition will launch at the Manila International Auto Show this April.