LTO’s interconnectivity project fails to connect
MOTORING TODAY - Rey Gamboa () - January 10, 2007 - 12:00am
Many vehicle owners, especially those who got to read the half-page announcements of the LTO regarding the implementation of its PETC-ITF Interconnectivity Project were dismayed to find out that there was "a failure in connection" somewhere and the much vaunted IT system that would altogether stop the fraudulent issuance of CECs or Certificate of Emission Compliance to ensure acceptable levels of emission of vehicles that are for registration isn’t working as expected.

Was the ill-timed implementation done post-haste just so the new leadership of the LTO can lay claim to some level of accomplishment?

Or did some of the players involved in the chain of operations of the project just plainly goof? As of this writing some fingers are pointed but nobody has yet admitted to failure.

You and I know that this unscrupulous practice by many fly-by-night operators of emission testing centers of issuing CECs even without having to bring the vehicle for actual testing of its level of emission is prevalent. And this new system being introduced by the LTO, which is backed by modern Information Technology, can put a stop to this.

We’ll just have to wait for the LTO and its partners in this project to get its act together for us to be ensured of a better implementation of one of the aspects of the Clean Air Act of 1999.
Ford Escape story attracts varied readers’ reactions
We have received varied reactions to that issue regarding a couple whose Ford Escape stalled in flood waters despite the fact that an exact model was able to make it through together with a sedan with a much lower platform. The SUV’s engine block was discovered to have "holes" after it was towed from the flood waters and the couple reported that the dealer that sold them the SUV barely three months before its engine ceased in the flood waters, Ford EDSA and Shaw, refuse to honor warranty for the damage citing that the driver failed to follow clear instructions in the owner’s manual as to the limitation of the Ford Escape in fording over flood waters.

I’ll have all these varied reactions related to the issue and some others that are related to customer satisfaction or its absence in my future articles as soon as I get them all compiled. Abangan.
R&R with Suzuki’s Grand Vitara
I took the few days of the Yuletide Season as an opportunity to have some well-deserved rest — producing and hosting three weekly TV shows and writing two weekly columns while managing a yearly automobile popularity contest, which requires a good six months of every year and in between playing badminton and going to the gym three times a week and playing poker the same number of times can be a little taxing for the system. Of course I’m not complaining — I’m happy with my life.

But then that’s not the story here. The story is that I picked the Suzuki Grand Vitara V6 to bond with during Christmas Day and New Year’s Day and all the days in between. I used it while inching into the malls for last minute shopping, going to endless cocktails and dinners for the Holidays and for an out-of-town trip to a dive resort in Batangas. Now, that’s basically using it for almost all kinds of driving situations — stop and go traffic, highway driving, cruising and pedal-to-the-metal — the kind of test drive that’s most ideal for me to be able to have a clearer picture of the vehicle.

So, what did I discover about the Suzuki Grand Vitara that’s quite impressive?

For safety it has, count it, a total of six airbags located in front, at the sides and as curtains. And it can break hard at top speeds with front disks and rear drums complimented with ABS.

For driving comfort it has front double wishbone and rear multi-link for a suspension system that provides on-road smoothness and off-road agility.

For driving convenience, there’s the cruise control to get your foot off the pedal for long distance driving.

For driving confidence it has ESP (Electronic Stability Program), which gives the SUV better grip in slippery road conditions.

It even has a keyless entry and starting system that allows you — that’s right, to enter and even start the vehicle without using the key. But the system, aside from being very European, does not allow you to lock the doors with the key inside.

Now, let us lift the hood to find out what’s inside — a 2.7 liter, 24 valve V6 engine that brags of 185 hp @ 6,000 rpm and torque of 25 kg-m @ 4,500 rpm in tandem to a 5-speed automatic transmission.

All of these features you can find in many SUVs but only in quite a few all together like they have put in one grand package in the Suzuki Grand Vitara.

This compact SUV from Suzuki has definite appeal from both the hard core off-roader and the mainstream soft-roader — from its performance down to its looks, inside and out.

Some people say that the Grand Vitara’s price is quite stiff. Not if you consider all them features all together.

Really, I’m impressed.
Consumer Empowerment
In a few weeks we shall be launching this year’s public voting to determine the most popular automobiles in each category and ultimately the most popular automobile for 2007.

The 2007 Auto Focus People’s Choice Awards shall be formally launched on the first week of February for a voting period of four months that shall culminate in the most extensive Grand Display and Test Drive of current model automobiles at the World Trade Center.

In between the scheduled formal launch and the 4-day industry-wide motor show that starts on May 24 and ends May 27 will be a satellite display of most of the model-entries at the auditorium-parking lot of SM San Fernando in Pampanga. This will allow many of those coming from the Central Luzon provinces to take a closer look at the models as they vote for their preferences. The San Fernando Motor Show is also an opportunity for the region’s market to have a very convenient brand to brand comparison of all available models before they actually make their choice of what to buy.

In this same period, there will also be a "Mall Tour" of all the models being voted upon by way of booth exhibits and audio-visual presentations in some of the most populous malls in the metro. The objective here is to create more awareness regarding the polls to determine the most popular automobiles in our midst and to bring the voting to the public as they can actually cast their votes in these Mall Displays.
Hope for worn out suspension?
With the country’s road conditions, which are far below par compared to the roads of most of our neighboring countries in the region, one of the first to go in an automobile’s working structure is the suspension system.

There’s a new invention — a Filipino’s — a patented special repair methodology for suspension parts and shock absorbers that offers a very much less expensive option to parts replacement.

is vaunted to virtually make the repaired suspension parts good as new and as durable as brand new at a cost of as much as 70 % less than brand new spare parts.

I still have to personally experience or hear from satisfied users the veracity of the unique and benchmark promise of this new invention. However, Atty. Eulalio "Loy" Ventura, chairman of Clear-Cut Components Corporation, owners of the invention and brand name swears by the product’s "testimonial use" of its present clientele, which includes among many; Cabanatuan Racing Club, Grupo Toyota, Honda Club Philippines, Nissan Bayan, BMW E30 Club, Altis Club ZZ, if only to mention a few.

Loy, a former poker peer who’s now very much into religious pastoral concerns and who, according to him, gave up playing poker, a game he loves most as a sacrifice to the Lord, said that this invention can help a lot of vehicle owners who can least afford buying new suspension spare parts and even those who can but would rather be practical and choose something that’s inexpensive but works.

I’ll be following the progress of this new invention because if it really works even only close to what it’s claiming to do, then it’s must really be worth the try.
Auto Focus changes schedule on Solar Sports
In line with the program realignment being done in Solar Sports, Auto Focus, the country’s premier TV motor show that’s exclusively dedicated to the automobile and its industry, now goes on the air every Friday evening at 10:30.

The show in itself has some major program innovations and production enhancements with the advent of the New Year to keep the viewers not only assured of the constant flow of information about the automobile and the auto industry both locally and internationally but also have it in a manner that’s most entertaining and interesting.

This year, Auto Focus shall have a weekly segment called Industry Profiles that shall feature the Corporate Profiles of all the automobile manufacturers and distributors in the country to include the Executive Profiles of their top honchos. Through these weekly segments we hope to bring the firms and people behind them better known by the market that the industry serves. We hope to bring out the true picture of the automotive industry, which is not just cold concrete facades of buildings and manufacturing plants but also of real people who are sensitive to the consumers’ wants and desires.

The revived Q&A segment would continue putting into fore inquiries from viewers, which are to be referred to people from the industry, the government or whoever would be in the best position to supply the needed information.

Auto Focus
shall also expand its Technical Report segment by including among the present audio-visuals of technological breakthroughs in automotive engineering, new products and gadgets for the automobile enthusiasts.

Happy Motoring!!!

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