The tenet or doctrine for those who are in the market for an automobile, whether brand new or pre-owned is to feel it, experience it, ride it and drive it before deciding to buy it.
And the more than a thousand test drives registered in the most recent staging of the Auto Focus Pre-Christmas Multi Brand Test Drive Festival is testimony to the motoring public's acceptance of the long-established dogma.
Regarded by the local auto industry as the most convenient 'one-stop shop' for car buyers and a haven for auto enthusiasts, the 4-day Multi Brand Test Fest, which was held last weekend at the sprawling Mall of Asia concert grounds gave the motoring public a chance to see and test drive all at the same time and in one venue an array of the latest brand new car models from the country's top automobile manufacturers and importers all in one venue.
The traditional opening day cocktails last Thursday saw a lively gathering of auto industry executives and motoring journalists celebrating another usually successful staging of this twice-a-year (the other one in summer) event organized by Sunshine TV to help conveniently connect the auto industry and its market.<
Thirty-five models of varied brands from nine of the country's top car manufacturers and importers ( Honda Cars Philippines, Inc., Nissan Philippines, Inc., Suzuki Philippines, Inc., Mitsubishi Motors Philippines, Corp., Isuzu Philippines Corporation, Motor Image Pilipinas (Subaru),Pilipinas Taj Autogroup (Tata),Asian Carmakers Corp. (BMW) and Ford Philippines) met the car buyers and automobile buffs last weekend from November 16 to 19, who were all given the choice of either doing the test within the venue or outside, with some opting for both.
Some of the most sought-after models that were seen going in and out of the test drive course included the newly launched Suzuki Vitara followed by the currently fast-selling Honda CR-V, which recently won the People's Choice Award for Compact SUV of the Year and the Mitsubishi Montero (People's Choice Award for Midsize SUV of the Year, Media's Choice Award for Best Engine Performance and Best Safety Features - Midsize SUV). FromFord, the Everest and the Ranger (Media's Choice Award for Best Safety Features - Pickup) were also part of the busiest list while the Isuzu mu-X (Media's Choice for Best Value for Money - Midsize SUV) and the Nissan X-Trail had its own share of test drives at the specially designed course intended to bring out a vehicle's demeanor in different road conditions and situations.
The next staging of this Multi Brand Test Drive event shall be next year during the summer months, when the poised imposition of higher auto taxes may not be implemented yet, which would lead to a continuing buying spree of the latest automobile models in anticipation of higher prices.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ray Butch Gamboa graduated from the College of Arts and Letters of the University of Sto. Tomas. It was a course that should have been preparatory to a law degree, but the call of broadcasting aborted his plans.
At the age of 16, while still a student, Butch tried his hand at disc jockeying, landing a job at Mareco Broadcasting Network’s AM stations DZBM and DZLM. From there, Butch moved on with his illustrious career as a popular disc jockey, riding the airwaves of Bob Stewart’s middle-of-the-road music at DZXX, and ending his disc jockeying career at ABS-CBN’s DZYL and DZQL.
From there, he stayed on with ABS-CBN, covering live the proceedings at the Manila Stock Exchange and eventually entered into the world of television sales as an account manager for the premier channel of ABS-CBN Channel 2.
In the early 70’s, at the outbreak of Martial Law, Butch was one of the thousands of professionals who woke up jobless when then President Marcos declared the new status of the nation. With the closure of ABS-CBN, Butch ventured into different fields outside of broadcast. He tried his hand and with ease and success at export (Costume jewelry), real estate (brokerage), and restaurants (fast food).
In 1987, after the revolution, with the broadcast industry back to its free state, and with its irresistible call ringing in his ears, Butch made his inevitable comeback and pioneered in a local motoring show, producing Motoring Today on Channel 4 and co-hosting with local motor sports’ living legend Pocholo Ramirez.
After 4 years, he ventured into another pioneering format by producing and hosting Business & Leisure, which was originally aired on ABS-CBN’s Channel 2. The format eventually espoused similar ones in other different channels. But the clones in due course faded away leaving the original staying on airing on Channel 4 and eventually on Shop TV on Sky Cable’s Channel 13.
The following year, the pioneering spirit in Butch spurred him to produce another TV show, Race Weekend, also on Channel 4, covering circuit racing at the Subic International Raceway after the motor sport’s hiatus of 17 years. But when similar shows with duplicated formats sprouted, he decided to give way and ended the program after a year, although still enjoying unparalleled viewership.
In 1998, when the local automotive industry was in a slump, Butch contributed his share to help the ailing industry by producing another popular motoring-related show, this time exclusive to the automobile and its industry—Auto Focus, which became a vehicle for local automotive assemblers and importers to showcase their products and dwell on the industry’s latest technological developments.
In 2003, Butch teamed up with his brother, Rey Gamboa who was a former Shell executive and presently one Philippine Star’s business columnist to co-produce and co-host the TV show Breaking Barriers on Channel 13. It is a talk show that features guests who are in the news and in the middle of controversies. The program ventures to draw deeper insights into current issues to learn how they impact to our daily lives.
Today, Motoring Today on its 28th year of service to the general motoring public still enjoys its unprecedented loyal vierwership nationwide while Auto Focus, after 16 years has firmly established its niche viewership among automobile enthusiasts and on the other hand Business & Leisure is on its 24th year dishing out current business issues and lifestyle features.
Today, aside from writing weekly columns for the Philippine Star (Motoring Today on Wednesdays and Business & Leisure on Saturdays) and executive producer / host of weekly TV shows (Motoring Today, airs Sundays on Solar Sports Channel 70, Business & Leisure, airs Tuesdays on Shop TV, Sky Cable Channel 13 and Auto Focus airs Thursdays on Shop TV, Sky Cable Channel 13, Ray Butch Gamboa is currently the Chairman and CEO of Sunshine Television Production and Marketing Services Corp., President of Gamcor Management and Development Corp., Chairman of Asia-Pacific Realty Corporation, President and Chairman of Socio-Communication Foundation for Asia and Founding Chairman of the Society of Phil. Motoring Journalists (SPMJ)