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The Things That Rocked The Motoring World: The Year In Cars

Put your foot on the accelerator as we outline the top 10 things that rocked the car industry last 2014!
by Patrick Tadeo and Gelo Gonzales | Jan 11, 2015
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If there's anything we dream more about than dreaming of a date with a pretty girl, it's a date with a hot, little Ferrari. We love cars and the vibrant world that revolves around them.

So as the New Year begins, let's look back at all the awesome vroom moments that happened in 2014!


1)   Luca di Montezemolo Leaves Ferrari

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On September 10, 2014, after 23 years behind the helm of arguably the most popular car brand in the world, Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo resigns. It was under Montezemolo’s watch that Ferrari--both its car-making business and its Formula 1 team--grew, with its car sales tripling and its F1 team capturing eight of the past 23 constructors' titles.

Rumor has it that di Montezemolo left because he didn’t agree with the plans Fiat chief executive Sergio Marchionne has for Ferrari, like increasing the production of its models and cater to the demands of its buyers instead of limiting it to protect their value. Lest we forget, Fiat is Ferrari’s mother company.

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2)   The death of a local racing hero

Image via kickerdaily

Who knew that the local motor racing scene was also full of drama and intrigue?

On June 13, 2014, multi-awarded race car driver Enzo Pastor’s life was snuffed out by a lone gunman who, as it turns out, was allegedly hired by no less than Pastor’s friend, Domingo “Sandy” de Guzman, who reportedly was the paramour of Pastor’s wife, Dalia. Though de Guzman was arrested by the police, he has since been out on bail. As for Pastor’s wife, she hasn’t been seen in public since her husband’s death and rumor has it that she has already fled the country.

3)   Big changes in Formula 1

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Although Honda announced its return to Formula 1 via McLaren in 2013, it was in 2014 that everyone eagerly anticipated what steps the partnership has taken in preparation for its return to the starting grid in 2015. First was the revelation of Honda’s 1.6-liter turbo V6 engine, the same type of engine that powered the all-conquering McLaren MP4/4 Formula 1 car which claimed 15 of the 16 races in the 1988 season.

Second was the driver pairing that McLaren had lined up for its assault for the 2015 championship led by two-time champion Fernando Alonso who was last part of the team in 2007. Joining Alonso in a reunion of sorts is 2009 champion Jenson Button. The last time Alonso and Button were teammates was in 2002 with Renault F1 where Button was a driver and Alonso was the test driver.  

4)   Mitsubishi takes over Ford’s old Laguna plant

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In 2012, Ford Philippines closed its Santa Rosa, Laguna plant after it ceased the local production of the Escape SUV. The plant won’t stay closed for long though because Mitsubishi Motors Philippines announced that it had bought the facility last April 1, 2014. It plans to relocate its entire operations from its current Cainta, Rizal plant in January 2015. Since the Santa Rosa plant is significantly larger than the Cainta plant, this could only mean that Mitsubishi plans to ramp up the production of its vehicles.

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The inaugural Toyota Vios Cup injected an extra dose of hi-octane fuel into the Philippine racing scene

The tepid Philippine racing scene got a major shot in the arm as the country's biggest selling manufacturer, Toyota, spearheaded the exciting one-make racing series featuring their all-new Vios. Back in May, we got to see an entire fleet of the little car filled with racing decals, and driven by a wide range of personalities from radio DJs, motoring journalists, actresses to true-blue racers. Indeed, it was something that verified the nation's burgeoning love for driving and enthusiasm for motorsports.

The competition came to a rousing climax in October at the McKinley West in Taguig where we all saw just how action-packed these things could get.

6)   The year's biggest motoring fail: Defective Takata airbag recall affects 7.8 million vehicles spread over 10 car brands

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Carmakers often rely on third-party manufacturers for some of their components. So imagine just how dramatic safety equipment manufacturer Takata’s recall is, since it affects 7.8 million vehicles assembled between 2002 and 2008 and made by 10 car brands, including popular car brands like Toyota, Honda, and BMW.

The recall, made on October 23, 2014, was made after defective components in some airbags were found to cause fatal injuries. As it stands, four fatalities and over a hundred injuries have been linked to the faulty airbags.

7)   The arrival of Indian car brands

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First, it was the invasion of Korean car brands, specifically Kia and Hyundai and they’ve turned out pretty good. Next was the arrival of Chinese car brands and the jury’s still out on them. So while we’re still reeling from the onslaught of brands like Chery, Foton, and BYD, here comes the Indian car brands like Tata and Mahindra. Of the two, only Tata has been publicly launched although Mahindra reportedly secured a fleet order of 560 units from the Philippine National Police already.

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As for Tata, its lineup of diesel vehicles is targeting the frugal motorists, with compact models that are priced from just over P500,000 to below P700,000. Tata also has commercial vehicles in its lineup like a pickup and a couple of mini trucks. We can only wait and see if Tata and Mahindra will make some headway into the local car market.

8)   Second Pinoy to become the top executive of a car brand's country division, named!

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Car brands that have established a local office usually put someone from the home office as its representative in the country. So when Nissan Philippines was established in 2013, it came as no surprise that a Japanese executive was named its president. He didn’t stay in the position long though as it was announced on July 25, 2014 that Antonio Zara was appointed to take over.

This is only the second time a Filipino has been named to take charge of an international car brand, the first being Henry Co for Ford Group Philippines, who led the company from 2002 as president to 2012 as chairman. As for Zara, his appointment comes after having spent nearly five years as vice president of sales, marketing, and after-sales for General Motors Southeast Asia, GM Thailand, and Chevrolet Sales Thailand and, more recently, as GM Korea's managing director for international sales in 2013.

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9)   Maserati driver punches, drags MMDA officer

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In November, for simply taking a phone video of a Blue Maserati that apparently tried to commit a road violation, MMDA traffic enforcer Jorbe Adriatico was called and then accosted by the car’s driver, who was later identified as Joseph Russell Ingco. In what was one of the scariest moments of road rage in 2014, Adriatico was reportedly punched repeatedly and was even dragged along for a few meters before Incgo sped off with Adriatico’s phone. The Maserati driver though says that he was provoked by the MMDA constable, and things quickly devolved into a game of who's saying the truth before netizens eventually moved on to the next viral thing.

10)   Traffic enforcer punches taxi driver's window

On the other hand, it seems that no one was safe from road rage this year whether you're a driver or a traffic enforcer. Less than a month after the Ingco-Adriatico incident, a video of an enforcer accosting a driver surfaced. A heated argument ensued, which ended up with the driver's window in smithereens thanks to one, solid smack from the enforcer.

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Judging by these incidents, we only know of one resolution that all road users and enforcers need to make in 2015: Kumalma kayo!

room Wishlist 2014

Another year, another looooong list of dream cars we'd like to put in our imaginary 20-car hangar.  

Excluding exorbitantly-priced luxury brands, these five below are currently some of the cars we'd love to take for a spin.

For the rough-and-tumble cowboy:
The Ford Ranger Wildtrak

Image from Ford Philippines

This sophisticated beast of burden is as brusque as they come but few are as good-looking. Through straightaways and rough roads, this brawny block of metal has the torque and the guts to pull you through. It's the perfect weekend warrior for all you outdoorsy gentlemen out there.

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Favorite crossover SUV on the horizon:
Nissan's Navara-based SUV

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With Toyota Fortuners and Mitsubishi Montero Sports dominating the road, Nissan has finally woken up and has it let slip the fact that it is developing a challenger for the segment. Expect the arrival of the Navara-based SUV to turn this into a three-way fight, especially as the ubiquity of the other cars cause them to lose a few cool points in the upcoming battle.

Car best-equipped for dating an FHM babe:
Miata MX-5

It's sleek, suave and has little room save for two people. It's a bachelor's car alright. The MX-5 roadster has the youthful streak and the sporty attitude to shake awake the boy in you that once dreamed of ultra-cool two-seaters. And look at it. If you can't score a date with a car like that, we bet it ain't the car's fault. 

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What we're really saving up for now:
Mazda 3 Skyactiv 2.0 R

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A profile worthy of the zoom-zoom tagline, a Skyactiv engine that's as dynamic as the car's flowing lines, best-in-class handling, a classy minimalist interior: You get more than what you pay for in this car, and for the everyman who's looking for a practical, achievable car that one can be truly proud of, the Mazda 3 doesn't disappoint.

City car of choice:
Honda Jazz

Image via TopGear Philippines

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So many compact city cars have arrived, but we still love the Jazz's idiosyncratic appeal. Fresh in the new version: Honda ditched the 1.3 engine for the 1.5-liter i-VTEC engine that has 118hp of output at 6,600rpm, a more masculine front profile, the biggest cabin space in a Jazz ever, versatile seat configuration for extra utility and a space-age dashboard. Just a superb package, in and out.


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