The people have again spoken as to what the year's most popular automobile models are. After more than 6 months of public voting both online and also "on site" during major industry events like the Manila International Motor Show, Auto Focus Summer Test Drive Festival and the Philippine International Motor Show, combined with the actual number of units registered this year from January to September with the Land Transportation Office as documented by its official IT Provider STRADCOM, the Fortuner among Standard models and the RX350 in the Luxury category have come up as "top of mind" automobiles among those who purchase and those who aspire to own cars as declared during the Awards Night of this year's Auto Focus People's Choice Awards (AFPCA).
Now on its 12th staging by Sunshine TV, the AFPCA is a yearly polling exercise, which was conceived to help the country's automobile manufacturers and importers have an idea of the local market's model preference to guide them as to what models to offer the populace. The awardees are determined by a unique scoring system that attributes 80% value to public votes and 20% to unit sales. The reason for this weight value distribution is that there are people who like automobile models that they cannot afford to buy or for some reason cannot buy. Then there are also fleet sales that may actually be decided by an individual's or a few individuals' preference that's multiplied by the actual number of units purchased. The system actually gives due value to people's aspiration as an added measure in determining popularity.
Aside from the two most popular automobile models, awards were also handed out to the different Most Preferred Models in each of the different categories of sedans, SUVs, sports cars, pick ups, vans, MPVs and those belonging to the Open category also for both Standard and Luxury models.
For Standard Models, aside from the Fortuner, Toyota also locked-up 3 other Standard Model of the Year titles: Innova (Multi-purpose Vehicle - MPV), Hi-Ace (Van), and Hilux (Pickup). Honda snatched 3 wins: City (Subcompact), Civic (Compact Sedan), and Accord (Midsize Sedan). One award each went to the Ford EcoSport (Compact SUV), Jeep Wrangler (Large SUV); Mazda MX-5 (Sports Car), and Nissan Juke (Open).
For Luxury Models, The RX350 (Compact SUV) led 6 other Lexus models into the winners' circle for Luxury Models of the Year: ES350 (Midsize Sedan), RCF (Sports Car), IS350 (MPV), GS460 (Midsize SUV), LX570 (Large SUV), and NX200t (Open). Mercedes Benz bagged 2 titles with the A-Class (Subcompact) and the B-Class (MPV). Honda also came away with 2 awards via the Legend (Large Sedan) and Odyssey (Van).
Also given due recognition during the Awards Night, which was attended by the local auto industry's top executives joined by their associates were the winners of the year's Media's Choice Awards, a second but equally important component of Sunshine TV's Automotive Industry Dual Merit Program.
The Media Choice Awards winners in their respective performance categories were:
Best Design - Standard: 5 Awardees
Mazda 6 (Midsize Sedan); Mazda MX-5 (Sports Car); Ford Explorer (Large SUV); Hyundai Grand Starex (Van); Nissan Juke (Open)
Best Design - Luxury: 5 Awardees
Volkswagen Golf GTI (Luxury Subcompact); Lexus IS350 (Luxury Compact Sedan); Porsche Macan (Luxury Midsize SUV); Toyota Alphard (Luxury Van); Lexus NX200t (Luxury Open)
Best Engine Performance - Standard: 7 Awardees
Honda Civic (Compact Sedan); Subaru WRX STI (Sports Car); Mitsubishi Montero Sport (Midsize SUV); Isuzu D-Max (Pickup); Toyota Innova (MPV); Toyota Hiace (Van); Peugeot 308 (Open)
Best Engine Performance - Luxury: 7 Awardees
Volkswagen Golf GTI (Luxury Subcompact); Volkswagen Passat (Luxury Midsize Sedan); BMW 7-Series (Luxury Large Sedan); Porsche Macan (Luxury Midsize SUV); Volkswagen Touran (Luxury MPV); Toyota Alphard (Luxury Van); BMW 4-Series Gran Coupe (Luxury Open)
Best Safety Features - Standard: 2 Awardees
Mitsubishi Montero Sport (Midsize SUV); Hyundai Grand Starex (Van)
Best Safety Features - Luxury: 7 Awardees
Volvo V40 (Luxury Subcompact); Volvo S60 (Luxury Compact Sedan); BMW 7-Series (Luxury Large Sedan); Volvo XC90 (Luxury Midsize SUV); Mercedes Benz B -Class (Luxury MPV); Mercedes Benz V-Class (Luxury Van); Volvo V60 Cross Country(Luxury Open)
Best Value-for-Money - Standard: 7 Awardees
Suzuki Ciaz (Compact Sedan); Mazda MX-5(Sports Car); Isuzu MU-X (Midsize SUV); Isuzu D-Max (Pickup); Nissan Urvan (Van); Suzuki Ertiga (MPV); Nissan Juke (Open)
Best Value-for-Money - Luxury: 9 Awardees
Volkswagen Golf GTI (Luxury Subcompact); Lexus IS350 (Luxury Compact Sedan); Volkswagen Passat (Luxury Midsize Sedan); Lexus LS460 (Luxury Large Sedan); Ford Mustang (Luxury Sports Car); Volkswagen Touareg (Luxury Midsize SUV); Toyota Land Cruiser 200 (Luxury Large SUV); Volkswagen Touran (Luxury MPV); Lexus NX200t (Luxury OPEN)
Next year's polls would be brought nearer to the public by holding "on site" voting in malls during weekends. This added feature of the voting exercise would definitely widen the voters' base by several folds.
Congratulations to all the winners of this year's Auto Focus People's Choice and Media's Choice Awards!
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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)