Aug 31, 2016

SsangYong shows wares

Invited members of the Philippine motoring media were recently given a tour of the impressive facilities of SsangYong Motor Company in South Korea.

The trip was lead by no less than Mr. Dave "Mr. Mac" Macasadia, managing director of SsangYong Berjaya Motor Philippines, the country's exclusive importers and distributors of SsangYong vehicles, which is part of the Malaysian Berjaya Group that also imports and distributes Mazda vehicles in the country.

The journalists were given exclusive tours of a SsangYong assembly plant in Pyongteak, South Gyeonggi Province, which manufactures the brand's popular Tivoli compact SUVs together with that located in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province where gasoline and diesel engines for SsangYong vehicles are being produced. They were also able to test-drive all the models that are being offered in the country.

As a bit of a background, SsangYong Motor Company reentered the Philippines in August last year, after an eight-year hiatus due to what it considered then as high tariffs. It is one of the largest South Korean-based automobile manufacturers. The biggest single shareholder (70%) of SsangYong (which means Double Dragons) is one of India's biggest conglomerates, Mahindra & Mahindra.

SsangYong models that are right now being offered in the country include the Rodius van, the Tivoli and Tivoli XLV crossovers and the Korando suv. They can be viewed up close and personal at SsangYong dealerships located along Quezon Avenue in Quezon City and also in Cebu City. All these models will likewise be available for close scrutiny and test drive at the Auto Focus Multi Brand Test Drive Festival scheduled in November at the Concert Grounds of the SM Mall of Asia.

Toyota thanks and launches

Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) gathered the country's motoring journalists for a sumptuous lunch and get-together at the Salvatore Cuomo restaurant at Uptown, Bonifacio Global City for a dual celebration a media thanksgiving for its 28th anniversary together with the launch of its enhanced top-selling compacts, the Vios and the Yaris.

In his special message for the occasion, Alfred V. Ty, the forever young-looking vice chairman of TMP paid tribute to the motoring media saying, "You have been a true partner of the auto industry. You were there to help the approval of the CARS program. You were there to help significantly reduce the illegal importation of vehicles, with every unit stopped, is one unit for the industry. You help stimulate the market by providing knowledge to the public about the latest technology and latest trend around the world. You were there to provide fair representation of crisis situations relating to automotive makers, shielding all of the auto brands from unfair bashing and unfounded criticisms. You are side by side with us with the tripling of the growth from 10 years go".

For his part TMP president, Satoru Suzuki had his own share of kind words for the invited guests, "For almost three decades, through your help, we at Toyota have made numerous accomplishments in the motoring industry whether it be in sales, production or corporate social responsibility. The continuous support in all our endeavors have led to where Toyota stands today. On behalf of our shareholders, TMP management and Toyota dealer network, thank you for the unwavering support and partnership."

In the same event TMP announced that both the Vios and the Yaris, which were both displayed for the media's appreciation and up close look, now carry a more powerful and fuel-efficient NR series engine equipped with dual VVT-I and CVT. They added that this improvement gives better mileage that aims to achieve fuel economy, high engine output and decreased fuel emissions similar to other Toyota vehicles such as the Altis, Camry and RAV4.

To Toyota Motor Philippines -- thank you for appreciating the motoring media's efforts and for the recognition.

BMW 7 Series Privileges Programme launch elegant

The ballroom of the Shangri La at the Fort exuded with elegance and sophistication to match the launch of the BMW 7 Series Privileges Programme last week.

After the very successful and well attended launch last March of the All-New 7 Series, the latest iteration BMW's flagship vehicle, now comes the exclusive program that entitles its owners to a premium selection of services.

"Contemporary luxury is not just about the vehicle, it also reflects the redefined lifestyle and esteemed standards that BMW 7 Series owners exude. We designed he BMW 7 Series Privilege Programme to match the unique innovations in our flagship vehicle, while focusing on the core values tht BMW and its clientele share exclusivity and individuality," remarked Ms. Maricar Parco, the very lovely lady president of Asia Carmakers Corporation (ACC), the official importers and distributors of BMW in the Philippines.

During the presentation, ACC's very energetic and dynamic marketing director, Karl Magsuci said, "The program boasts of the finest, most exclusive services suited to the discriminating tastes of BMW 7 Series owners. They can enjoy a private escape amid the bustling metro with a weekend getaway at Shangri-La at the Fort, or delight in a gastronomic feast prepared by a professional chef from Chateau 1771 in the confines of their own home or a venue of their choice. They can reinvigorate their mind and body with a luxurious retreat at Chi The Spa, or play golf in the lush fairways of Ayala Land Premier's exclusive properties Anvaya Cove Golf and Sports Club and Ayala Greenfield Estates Golf Course."

Representatives of the all the above-mentioned BMW 7 Series Privileges Programme partners were individually presented during the exclusive event together with former BMW Philippines president and currently ACC Vice Chairman, Mr. Demosthenes "Bobby" Rosales.

In closing, the elegantly dressed lady president of ACC said, "The BMW 7 Series Privileges Programme is the first of its kind in the automotive industry in the Philippines that once again puts BMW at the helm of innovation in premium customer service. This underscores our dedication to not simply adapt to trends and understand our customer's preferences but exceed their expectations of sheer driving pleasure in every possible way".

What's on Auto Focus this week?

The spotlight shall be trained on the following automobile models this week for a review of the all-new Honda Civic, 2017 Mazda6 and the 2017 Audi A3.

There will also be a feature-to-feature comparison of the Isuzu mu-X against the Mitsubishi Montero Sport as they go head-to-head together with the latest news in the local auto industry and the start of a series of technological advancements on the Peugeot Technical Report and a Special Feature this week would center on the Isuzu Truck Fest held in Tuguegarao City.

Auto Focus, the country's premier news and features TV magazine airs tomorrow, Thursday at 10 o'clock in the evening on Solar Sports, Channel 70 on Sky Cable and Channel 35 on the Destiny Cable Network.

Happy Motoring!!!

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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)