PH auto market: 2023 in retrospect

Here are some of the most memorable car launches, introductions, and announcements in 2023

PH auto market: 2023 in retrospect

This year, the local automotive scene has gone full swing with plenty of model launches, and reveals that  provided excitement to the general Filipino motoring public.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • What cars did Honda Philippines launch in 2023?

    In 2023 Honda rolled out the all-new CR-V and the refreshed versions of the Brio and City, to name a few.
  • How many cars will GAC launch in 2024?

    According to GAC, it will launch six cars next year.
  • So before we wrap up 2023, here’s a quick look back at the most memorable happenings in the Philippine automotive market.

    Suzuki launches Ertiga Hybrid

    In January 2023, Suzuki Philippines Incorporated officially launched the Ertiga Hybrid in the country. The electrified multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) is powered by a fuel-efficient 1.5-liter gasoline engine and an integrated starter generator mated to either a four-speed automatic or a five-speed manual.

    Suzuki Ertiga Hybrid 1

    Later, Suzuki Philippines phased out the internal combustion engine-only Ertiga in favor of the hybrid model.

    GAC brings over Empow, GS8

    Also in January GAC Motor Philippines — under the leadership of Astara — brought over the Empow sedan and GS8 sport utility vehicle (SUV).

    The former is a sleek and stylish four-door car while the latter is a full-size SUV.

    The GAC Empow packs a 1.5-liter powerplant. The GS8, on the other hand, gets a 2.0-liter mill.

    A few months later, GAC Philippines introduced at four-wheel drive version of the GS8, which promises better performance on almost all terrains.

    Aston Martin introduces DBX 707

    In February, Aston Martin Manila introduced the DBX 707 SUV to the local market.

    Touted as the most powerful in its class, the Aston Martin DBX 707 boasts a maximum power output of 697 horses with 900 Newton-meters (Nm) of torque.

    It is aimed at the country’s upmarket car buyers who want a ride that looks as good as it performs.

    MG GT makes debut

    MG Philippines debuted the MG GT sometime in February. The sleek-looking sedan is slapped with a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine that makes 158 horsepower (hp) and 250Nm of torque.

    Range Rover Sport arrives in PH

    Still in February, Land Rover Philippines added the Range Rover Sport to its local lineup.

    It was offered in diesel and plug-in hybrid powertrains, which makes the nameplate an appealing choice for a wide variety of car buyers.

    Kia launches EV6

    With Filipino car buyers being more accepting of electric vehicles (EV), the local launch of the Kia EV6 in March was considered a success.

    Kia EV6 1

    The Philippine-market model offers an impressive range of 528 kilometers (km).

    Jeep Grand Cherokee revived

    Jeep Philippines revived the Grand Cherokee nameplate here in the Philippines sometime in March.

    It packs a 3.6-liter V6 engine that produces 282hp and 344Nm of torque.

    GAC launches Emkoo

    April is a busy month for local arms of international car companies as it is the time when the Manila International Auto Show (MIAS) takes place.

    Emkoo Drive 10

    Introduced in the much-awaited event is the GAC Emkoo, a crossover with ultramodern design, a luxurious interior, and a decent powertrain setup.

    We had a chance to take it for a spin later this year via a media drive staged by GAC Motor Philippines. You can check out our story, here.

    Suzuki S-Presso gets AGS variant

    The Suzuki S-Presso is one of the most popular small cars in the country, and the local wing of the Japanese brand gave more Filipino car buyers a reason to consider the car by adding an Automatic Gear Shift (AGS) variant.

    In May, the Suzuki S-Presso AGS was launched.

    Next-gen Ford Ranger Raptor released

    Still in May, Ford released the next-generation Ranger Raptor.

    It boasted plenty of exterior, interior, and performance appointments, proving why it is one of the most sought-after variants of the iconic pickup truck.

    Carmudi Philippines reported that Ford Philippines handed over the first batch of the next-gen Ranger Raptor to their lucky owners upon the model’s launch.

    Mercedes-Benz PH reveals GLC

    Upmarket brand Mercedes-Benz revealed the new GLC in June.

    The posh SUV boasts a 2.0-liter gasoline engine with mild hybrid technology. It is mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission.

    It offered plenty of luxurious features like the latest Mercedes-Benz User Experience infotainment system that combines an 11.9-inch infotainment system and a 12.3-inch instrument panel.

    Maserati Grecale arrives in PH

    In late June, Maserati Philippines brought the Grecale SUV to the country.

    It can be had with either a pure internal combustion engine or a hybrid powertrain.

    Toyota introduces Zenix MPV

    Toyota Motor Philippines introduced a hybrid version of the well-loved Innova, dubbed the Zenix.

    Powering the hybrid people mover is a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated gasoline engine paired with a hybrid system. It reportedly generates a maximum power output of 184hp and 188Nm of pulling power.

    Honda refreshes Brio, City

    One of the hottest topics of July was the launch of the refreshed Honda Brio and City.

    Honda Brio by Fort Manahan

    The two nameplates received better exterior styling and slight interior upgrades.

    Toyota updates Wigo

    Toyota Motor Philippines answered its rival’s two-car salvo by giving one of its popular nameplates an update of its own.

    Based on a report from Carmudi Philippines, the Toyota Wigo now packs a larger body with various upgrades inside and out.

    Geely rolls out GX3 Pro

    Geely rolled out the GX3 Pro crossover in August, marking the arrival of a solid competitor in the Philippine crossover segment.

    Sharing the same powerplant as the Geely Emgrand, the GX3 Pro packs a 1.5-liter gasoline engine that puts out as much as 102 horses with 142Nm of torque.

     

    Mini PH launches limited models

    The local distributor of Mini cars in the Philippines has launched two limited edition models in the country.

    In September, the Mini Convertible Seaside Edition and Clubman Untold Edition was revealed to the Filipino motoring public.

    Nissan PH unveils all-new Z, GT-R

    Two legendary Nissan cars received an update last September.

    The Nissan Z and the GT-R both got refreshed with more aggressive looks, better aerodynamics, and improved performance features.

    Powering the all-new Nissan Z is a 3.0-liter turbocharged powerplant that puts out as much as 400hp and 475Nm of near-instantaneous torque. Meanwhile, the all-new GT-R boasts better exterior appointments that have been designed to make the car more stable.

    Toyota Hilux GR-S enters market

    Toyota has introduced a Gazoofied version of the Hilux pickup truck in September.

    Toyota Hilux GR-S

    Made to look more like the Toyota Tacoma, the Hilux GR-S has a more aggressive appeal and improved interior appointments. More importantly, it made more power thanks to tweaks to its electric control unit.

    The Toyota Hilux GR-S makes 224hp.

    Honda brings 6th-gen CR-V

    Honda brought the sixth-generation CR-V to the country in September. It now wore a more matured look with minimal design cues and was not offered with a hybrid powertrain.

    Honda Media Drive 1

    Just to prove how efficient and capable the new CR-V is, the local arm of the Japanese car brand took members of the motoring media to a two–day drive. Here’s what we have to say about the impressive CR-V.

    Mercedes-Benz PH electrifies lineup

    Mercedes-Benz Philippines revealed a host of EVs to bolster its electrified lineup in September.

    Introduced were the Mercedes-Benz EQB, EQA, EQE 300 Electric Art, and the 350+ AMG Line.

    These cars are expected to set the trend in the local upmarket EV segment.

    Volkswagen introduces Tharu

    Volkswagen stirred the local automotive scene and reminded its fans that it’s here to compete by introducing the Tharu last September.

    The German carmaker’s crossover entry is powered by a 1.5-liter gasoline engine mated to a seven-speed direct-shift gearbox.

    Power figures peak at 158hp and 250Nm of torque.

    MG PH rolls out MG 4, Marvel R

    Not to be outdone, MG has introduced two electric models in the country in October.

    These are the MG 4 hatchback and Marvel R SUV.

    The former has an estimated all-electric range of up to 435km while the latter boasts emissions-free driving of up to 402km.

    Hyundai unleashes Stargazer X, Custin, 9-seater Staria

    A highlight for October 2023 was the unveiling of the Hyundai Stargazer X, Custin, and the nine-seater version of the Staria.

    Staria Launch

    All of which took place in a single, action-packed event, that shook the local automotive market.

    The Hyundai Stargazer X is powered by a 1.5-liter gasoline mill mated to Hyundai’s intelligent variable transmission. Likewise, the Custin gets a 1.5-liter engine, but is paired with a button-type shift-by-wire eight-speed automatic transmission.

    Isuzu releases D-Max Limited

    Isuzu Philippines Corporation has launched the D-Max Limited in October. Living up to its name, the pickup truck is only sold in 200 units.

    Isuzu D-Max Limited Launch

    It gets a new grille, new decals, new wheels, an updated tailgate, and unique floor mats.

    Lotus Eletre arrives in PH

    Lotus Philippines has finally brought the Eletre hyper SUV into the country.

    Its impressive features include the Eletre 675 Motor, which is mated to a two-speed transmission and can put out as much as 905 horsepower.

    BYD launches Atto3

    The Ayala-led BYD Philippines has formally launched the Atto3 into the Philippine car market.

    It is equipped with a permanent magnet synchronous motor and the BYD Blade Battery. It flaunts an impressive all-electric range of up to 480km.

    Kia PH updates Seltos

    Kia Philippines has also updated the Seltos crossover, which is now offered in three variants with two engine options.

    Our favorite will probably the the range-topping model that packs a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine paired to a seven-speed DCT.

     

    Final thoughts

    This year indeed shaped to be a good one for the local automotive scene. On that note, 2024 looks to be a promising and exciting year for all Filipino motoring fans.

    Photos from Juan Paulo Papa and Ruben Manahan IV

    Also read:

    Here are some tips to help get your car 2024-ready

    Photo Essay: PH’s memorable auto events in 2023

    Here are some of the common ADAS features found in PH-spec cars

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