Culture > Bliss

At PIMS 2018, Volkswagen endears itself to Filipinos

With a unique booth that flaunts a proud Filipiniana theme

VW’s booth at PIMS 2018 easily stands out. PHOTO FROM VOLKSWAGEN

When you step inside the main exhibition hall of the ongoing 2018 Philippine International Motor Show in World Trade Center in Pasay City, one specific booth will immediately jump at you just because it looks the most different of all. It’s Volkswagen’s Filipiniana-inspired space in the middle, which seems like a production set more suited to a Linggo Ng Wika celebration than a glamorous car show.

So while the other automakers’ booths are made of steel, aluminum and acrylic, Volkswagen’s consists mainly of wood, bamboo and nipa. There are also native plants to add to the rustic ambience. We swear it feels odd—in a good way—seeing a corner with a barrio vibe at the biennial motoring event. One that belongs to a car brand from Germany, of all countries.

The Crafter van, the Lamando sedan and the Santana GTS wagon are the booth’s stars. PHOTOS FROM VOLKSWAGEN

Unlike the other car companies present at the show, Volkswagen doesn’t really have what you might consider a proper show car. There are no concept vehicles and there are no heavily modified workhorses. Well, there’s a customized Crafter van with a smart LED TV and six captain’s chairs—if you’re into mobile lounges.

All the other cars on display at the VW booth have already been publicly presented before—including the five new models which the local distributor launched in May this year. But PIMS 2018 is a good opportunity for the public to closely inspect Volkswagen’s three new offerings that will only be made officially available in November. These are the Lamando, the Santana GTS and the Santana 1.5L AT, whose prices we already announced last month.

Patriotic Filipinos will love the German automaker’s area at the show. Feels like home. PHOTOS BY ANTONNE SANTIAGO

But going back to the booth’s Filipiniana motif: This is Volkswagen Philippines’ way of saying that with its new, reasonably priced cars, it is making German engineering “accessible to Filipinos,” as one company executive told us. The firm wants the focus to be on world-class German-engineered automobiles being made more affordable for the Philippine market—and not on the fact that these vehicles are sourced from China (although there’s really nothing wrong with that if you can only look past your strong bias against anything that comes from that Asian country).

And if you drop by the VW exhibit, they’ll even serve you taho, halo-halo or biko.

We’ve dated a million girls in Sydney—somehow we feel like we don’t belong. PHOTOS BY ANTONNE SANTIAGO

But our personal favorite is the yummy dirty ice cream (sorbetes)—exactly the kind we always had in the street when we were kids. So we had two cones (or was it three?) on the show’s opening day.

We want to go back to the show just for Volkswagen’s dirty ice cream. That’s for real. PHOTO FROM FRANZ DECLOEDT

You still have one full day (tomorrow, October 28) to visit PIMS 2018 if you haven’t done so. If you go, don’t forget to pass by Volkswagen’s little nayon. Oh yeah, almost forgot: There are power outlets near the tables in case your smartphone or camera runs out of juice.

Vernon B. Sarne

Vernon is the founder and editor-in-chief of VISOR. He has been an automotive journalist since July 1995. He became one by serendipity, walking into the office of a small publishing company and applying for a position he had no idea was for a local car magazine. God has watched over him throughout his humble journey. He writes the ‘Spoiler’ column.