By Aries B. Espinosa
IN what could be considered a long overdue move, Suzuki Philippines (SPH) finally joined the Manila International Auto Show MIAS on its 14th edition.
According to SPH vice-president and general manager for automobile Shuzo Hoshikura, MIAS opened opportunities for SPH to further its goal of strengthening the brand’s foothold in the country.
“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,” he shared.
Seemingly making up for lost time, SPH put on a classy opening in the early afternoon of April 5, with bossa nova singer Sitti literally setting the tone for Suzuki’s subtle but spirited booth.
Suzuki brand influencers Kelly Misa (for the Ertiga) and Mikael Daez (for the Vitara) were joined by the Suzuki Safety Scouts — child ambassadors of Suzuki — to promote Suzuki’s road safety advocacy.
As for the displays themselves, SPH put its best foot forward, and then some. On display were best-selling, as well as award-winning, vehicles the all-new Vitara (2017 Car of the Year-Philippines in the subcompact crossover category), the Ciaz (Best Fuel Economy Rate award recipient of the 2017 edition of the DoE Eco Run, and Best Personal Commuter in the 12th C! Magazine Awards), and the popular LUV, or “life utility vehicle,” Ertiga.
Besides cars, SPH also displayed the Suzuki Hayabusa, representing the brand’s motorcycle division, and outboard motors from the marine division.
Taking the center stage, however, was the new Suzuki Dzire with the Auto Gear Shift technology upgrade. The combination of the manual gearbox and automatic transmission is claimed to deliver better engine performance, smoother driving and, thus, better fuel efficiency. Though the Dzire wouldn’t be available in the Philippines until later this year, SPH decided to give this sneak peek a go at the MIAS to whet the appetites of the model’s target market — millennials and members of Gen Z.