As the year comes to a close, we take a look back at what transpired in what many call a “recovery year.” One can say that the past few months have been full of “firsts” and many “lasts” in the global automotive industry, especially with the added emphasis on electrification.
The same can be said about our local automotive industry, with the Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act finally being part of our law, the rise of demand for people-movers, and the return of automotive titans (like Hyundai Motor Philippines).
Include the slowly growing infrastructure and tax cuts, and 2023 might be the year we could start to reap the bounty from the seeds that were sown in the past few years.
If you can’t afford the up-front costs of an electric vehicle, various Hybrid Electric Vehicles have appeared as well, most notably the Nissan Kicks e-Power and the Toyota/Lexus hybrid vehicles. These HEVs are great for bridging the gap while the infrastructure isn’t up to snuff yet to fully support the needs of electric vehicles.
Enthusiasts also got their wishes this year. We saw the release of the Toyota GR 86/Subaru BRZ twins and the Subaru WRX and WRX Wagon. The practical Mazda CX-5 Turbo also proved to be a hidden gem for fathers experiencing their midlife crisis.
If you had the cash to throw around, you have cars like the new BMW 2-Series, the Mercedes-AMG A35, the updated Porsche Macan, and the Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT, and the local debut of the oh-so-sexy Maserati MC20.
In 2021, we had the “pickup wars.” This year, you could say the market has a case of MPV madness.
Despite crossovers being the norm now, the demand for practical, compact family movers is higher than ever. It started with the arrival of the all-new Toyota Avanza and the updated Mitsubishi Xpander. They were soon followed by the swanky Toyota Veloz and the return of the Nissan Livina. Then, we got the futuristic Hyundai Stargazer and the all-new Honda BR-V wrapping up the entries for the year.
We also had our fair share of crossovers, like the Honda HR-V, the Hyundai Creta and Tucson, the Peugeot 2008, the Subaru Forester, the Toyota Raize, the MG HS, and several Changan crossovers (the CS35 Plus, the CS55 Plus, the UNI-T, and the UNI-K).
But don’t forget about compact vehicles. We saw the Toyota Liteace make a return as a light commercial vehicle, and witnessed the launch of the all-new Suzuki Celerio. There was also the MG GT, the Geely Emgrand, and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan.
If anything, expect 2023 to put a heavy focus on electrified vehicles—hybrid or electric. Heck, with the new Toyota Innova being electrified, the writing is already on the wall for traditional ICE-powered vehicles.