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.
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.
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.
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.
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.