Automart.PH Year In Review 2021
Updated on February 20 2024
When 2021 started, there was a degree of uncertainty and doubt. After all, the world was locked down because of the pandemic. But throughout the year, people and various industries adapted and adjusted to the situation. One of them is the automotive sector with a load of new models coming in over the last 12 months.
So as you read this on the eve of New Year's eve, let's take a look back at all the new cars that were launched in the Philippines. Sit tight. It's a pretty long list too.
In January, Chery introduced the Tiggo 7 to the local market. It is designed to fit in the C-segment crossover class but for much less than the usual models. Nissan also launched a lightly updated Terra, which would be a teaser for the major facelift a few months later.
Mercedes-Benz also rolled out the high-performance GLB 35 performance crossover here. Not to be outdone, Audi also debuted a fast crossover in the form of the RS Q8.
February saw facelifts of important models. Suzuki updated the Dzire, Mitsubishi tweaked the Mirage hatchback, while Ford gave the current-gen Ranger one last refresh. Volkswagen also gave the Santana some upgrades. Geely added an all-wheel drive model for the Okavango for those looking for an MPV that can go further off-road.
But the most important facelift that month was the Toyota Innova. Aside from a few styling changes on the outside, Toyota added a few more features inside to boost its value proposition. Needless to say, it's been flying off the showrooms since then.
Also launched that month were the Maxus D60, GAC GN6, and BMW 4 Series Coupe.
March was a big month for Lexus and pick-up trucks. In that month along, three pick-ups entered the Philippine market. From Ford, they launched the off-road oriented Ranger FX4 Max. Nissan also premiered the facelifted Navara around the same time. But it was the Isuzu D-Max that made one of the biggest headlines that month since it is fully redesigned and re-engineered from bumper to bumper. What a way to start the pick-up wars for the new decade.
As for Lexus, they launched the new-look IS and even brought in the hybrid version for the first time here. They also added a more “affordable” version of the LS500 flagship sedan. March also saw the premiere of the Toyota Vios GR Sport.
April 2021 was a little bit quieter compared to the previous months in terms of launches. Just two cars were released, but they're significant models. First was the spiritual successor of the Honda Jazz, the City Hatchback. With that, it was the first time in nearly 30 years the City got a hatchback body again. The second is the Volkswagen T-Cross, the German automaker's effort to make a dent in the subcompact crossover market.
For the month of May, Nissan launched its first ever electric car for the Philippines, the LEAF. It made its world premiere way back in 2017, but it's better late than never when it comes to promoting EV motoring in the country. Meanwhile, Subaru followed that up with a 1-2 combo punch in the same month.
Subaru Philippines launched the Evoltis, better known as the Ascent in the US. It's a large crossover that competes against the Mazda CX-9 and Ford Explorer. Not content with that, they rolled out the facelifted XV just a few days later. Last but not least, Suzuki Philippines brought in the all-wheel drive version of the Vitara.
It seems that luxury was the theme for June since none of the mainstream automakers had anything to show for. Instead, it was BMW, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo that took the limelight that month. BMW brought in the Competition versions of the M3 and M4, along with the updated M5 Competition. Mercedes-Benz came up with something more practical in the form of the mildly facelifted V-Class van. Land Rover brought in the facelifted Discovery, while Volvo enhanced the XC40 line-up.
Past the year's halfway point, and Subaru launched yet another all-new model. It's the fifth-generation Outback, and it continues to to bridge the gap between station wagon and crossover. Speaking of crossovers, Chevrolet added the Tracker to the Philippine line-up. If hot hatchbacks are more your thing, Honda brought in a (very) limited number of 2021 Civic Type R units to the country, and it's sure to be a collector's item. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Suzuki quietly launched the facelifted Ciaz.
There were also several models to come out from European manufacturers that month. Land Rover finally made the Defender 90 launch official. Jaguar brought in the slightly redesigned versions of the F-Pace crossover and XF mid-size executive saloon. Volkswagen then brought in limited units of the Multivan.
Like April, August was a bit of a quiet month when it came to launches. Ram Philippines launched the 1500 Rebel, while Audi please high-performance station wagon fanatics with the RS4. But the month's most significant model has to be the facelifted Mitsubishi Mirage G4. No, it's not an all-new model, but Mitsubishi changed quite a lot on the surface. It also saw a few more standard features to attract more buyers.
For all the stillness of August, September started with a bang. On the very first day of the month, Nissan finally launched the heavily updated and upgraded Terra to the Philippine market. Not to be outdone, Isuzu followed suit with the local debut of the second-generation Mu-X. But if it's a full-sized SUV you want, Toyota also rolled out the Land Cruiser 300 Series in the Philippines that same month. But that's not even half the story of September.
September also saw the local release of the most powerful Ford Mustang to date, the Shelby GT500. Luxury sedan shoppers were also pleased to know that Lexus launched the updated ES and the ES300h hybrid. Last but not least, the imposing Mercedes-Benz S-Class capped off the September launchpad.
On to October and it's a very interesting mix of new car launches. MG launched the new ZS T, with the T standing for Turbo. Yes, the subcompact crossover now comes with a healthy boost. Speaking of boost, Nissan Philippines launched the second-generation Almera, also with a turbocharged engine, a significant thing in its class. GAC also took part in the busy October launch calendar with the facelifted GS8. The Chevrolet Trailblazer was also launched that month.
Mazda had a particularly busy October. They revised and revamped the local line-up and introduced two hybrid models. These are the 3 M Hybrid and the CX-30 M Hybrid. Speaking of gas-electric vehicles, Maserati also joined in with the Ghibli hybrid. Toyota also expanded the GR Sport line-up with the Fortuner GR Sport and Hilux GR Sport.
November started off with the Mitsubishi Xpander Black Series. Subaru then brought in the facelifted XV GT Edition for those who want a sporty-looking tall hatchback. For the budget conscious, Suzuki came out with S-Presso Special Edition with slightly more features in it. Also for the budget-minded is the Chery Tiggo 2 Pro.
Last month also saw the introduction of Kia's new logo and the launch of the all-new Sorento. Mazda then premiered the all-new BT-50 in the Philippines. But if those weren't big enough news items, then the local debut of the eleventh-generation Honda Civic certainly is. To cap it all off, the Ford F-150 Powerstroke Diesel and Audi Q5 were also launched that month. What a busy November, indeed.
And just when you thought things will slow down by December, there's still a rush of new cars. First up is the Strada Black Series, likely hinting that Mitsubishi is getting ready for the next-gen Strada. From China, the Kaicene CX70 that aims to offer mid-size SUV space for subcompact crossover prices. And while we're on the subject of China, GAC also introduced the all-new GS4 crossover.
Other significant launches? Toyota Philippines finally launched the facelifted Camry, and it's all hybrid power from now on. Meanwhile, Ford officially launched the fifth-generation Explorer after years of delay. And for those who have fuel economy low on their priority list, the new Nissan Patrol and Ram TRX are now here for your consideration.
That's all the important cars that were launched over the past 12 months. All in all, that's over 70 new and updated models that are now available in the local market. Down the line, these will be used cars too, so now is a good time to start dreaming and saving up for these cars once they become bargains.