Sunday, March 20, 2016

Possibility of more affordable European cars revealed at 1st European Motor Show

The recent 1st European Motor Show in the Philippines flaunted European excellence in automotive engineering and design and held open the possibility European cars could become more affordable through a Free Trade Agreement between the Philippines and the European Union.

The three -day show featured some 20 magnificent cars of various classes from iconic European brands such as Audi, BMW, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Peugeot, Porsche, Volkswagen and Volvo famous for their fabulous luxury, eco-friendly auto technology and high safety standards. There was also a display of classic cars from the collection of European car clubs that participated in the event.

Guenter Taus (right), President of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP), gives a thumbs-up for the Audi R8 Spyder that was showcased during the 1st European Motor Show motorcade held at Bonifacio Global City on March 12, 2016. Also in the photo are EU Ambassador Franz Jessen with his son and ECCP Vice President Florian Gottein.

European motorcycle makers such as BMW Motorrad, Ducati and IMZ-Ural exhibited a dozen of their superbikes during the event while MAN showcased a passenger-friendly bus suitable for Metro Manila road conditions.

The opening ceremonies of the event were led by Ambassador Franz Jessen, European Union head of delegation to the Philippines, and Guenter Taus, president of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP). Ambassador Jessen mentioned during the press briefing that while European car brands are technologically competitive, these are disadvantaged by high duties and taxes.

EU Ambassador Franz Jessen and ECCP President Guenter Taus lead the ribbon cutting that officially opened the 1st European Motor Show at Bonifacio Global City on March 12, 2016. In the photo (from right to left) are Matthieu Penot of the EU Delegation; JP Orbeta, President and CEO of Volkswagen; Austrian Ambassador Dr. Josef Muellner; Ambassador Jessen; Dr. Andree Buhl, German Commercial Counselor; Guenter Taus; Chris Nelson, British Chamber President; Florian Gottein, ECCP Vice President; Atty. Cesar C. Cruz, ECCP Corporate Secretary; Alessia Reyes, Italian Chamber Director and Emmanuel de Ghellinck, BFBC representative.

He noted that a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will be able to address this issue, as well as help the Philippines in its development plans. The FTA should also help boost business ties and trade between the Philippines and the EU. The first round of FTA discussions is expected to start here in May with a second round to be held later this year in Europe.


Taus said the FTA will contain provisions that will modify customs duties and other barriers to trade, services and investment. The elimination or reduction of customs duties should significantly level the playing field for European brands vis-à-vis Japanese brands given the latter enjoy preferential tariffs under the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement or JPEPA.

Dr. Andree Buhl, Commercial Counsellor of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, drove the Volkswagen Passat during the 1st European Motor Show motorcade around the Bonifacio Global City on March 12, 2016. 

The well-attended event at Bonifacio High Street was co-funded by the European Union and organized by Fairs & More, Inc. (FMI), a subsidiary of ECCP. The show was organized in cooperation with the EU-Philippines Business Network (EPBN), which includes the Belgian, British, European, French, German, Italian, Nordic and Spanish chambers of commerce.

It was supported by co-presenter Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation that briefed visitors on Euro IV fuel standards, as well as by sponsors MAN and JEC Philippines and media partner CNN Philippines

Also displayed at the motor show were different European-made automotive products, components, and tools. A crowd pleaser was a full-scale replica of a Formula 1 racing car that could be driven on a virtual race track. The racer was provided by Asian Replicas and transported by Ex-Works. 

Children learned about road safety at the Volkswagen play tents. There were also well-received seminars about road safety, automotive lighting and mass transport systems.

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