Cars

Honda’s 30th Birthday Bash Made Me Think About My First Civic in the 90s

There was a time Honda asked you to sign a waiver not to use your car as a raffle prize or taxi
IMAGE Alvin Uy
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Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI), Honda Japan’s automobile business unit in the Philippines, is celebrating its 30th year of operations this October. Its entry into the country in 1990 brought much needed excitement in what was then a docile auto industry that offered limited choices of nameplates.

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I was newly married that time and we were so used to buying cars from the same Japanese brands so having Honda enter the market at that time was big news. It was at that time the Accord and Civic nameplates were also making strides in other big markets like the US. 

Naturally, it was those exact nameplates that were first to be introduced in the local market as well, plus the smaller Honda City. From the fifth generation Honda Civic, HCPI introduced the beefier and more sophisticated sixth generation Civic in the mid-90s.

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Special waiver

Back then, when I ordered my first-ever Honda Civic, I had to sign a waiver in the local dealer promising I wouldn’t use it as a taxi or offer it as a raffle prize for any kind of business promotion. The management of HCPI was so concerned about the nameplate being devalued as a fleet or taxi model that they had to resort to an iron-clad waiver to ensure compliance. It was never my intention anyway, so I gladly signed it, and became the proud owner of one. I chose the base LX model but regretted the decision later on so I upgraded it into the more premium variant with the famous V-TEC engine. I remember using the Civic to drive our son to school and it was my daily commute to the office as well.

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My son, who grew up and finished college in the US, drives around in his trusty CR-V and has safely taken him around the slippery and snow-covered streets of Chicago every winter probably because he became confident with the brand as a trusted mobility companion in his early years in school.

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It wasn’t a publicity stunt but a strong albeit risky advocacy. This propelled the nameplate’s near-exclusivity status that made sure Civic buyers would not see a taxi version of the beloved sedans, or being raffled off in some department store promo.

HCPI and its partners Ayala Automotive Holdings and RCBC, both being very fine and prestigious business institutions, likewise elevated Honda’s sense of premium-ness to its buyers as well.

Celebrating three decades 

Since its entry into the industry in 1990, HCPI has quickly became one of the leading brands in the industry in terms of market share. With its legacy models like the Civic, City, Accord, and CR-V, to newer innovations like the Mobilio, BR-V, and Civic Type R, HCPI consistently carved out a sizeable share in many segments throughout the years. 

In celebration of HCPI’s milestone, buyers of the Honda City, BR-V, Brio, Civic, CR-V, and Mobilio models can avail of special cash discounts, special all-in downpayments, special offers, and other exciting deals all this month. 

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In a virtual presscon held last Monday, Honda announced that it would be sending copies of the 30th anniversary commemorative book of HCPI, celebrating the many achievements and milestones the company has had over the past 30 years. HCPI also announced that it will have its very first virtual car launch on October 22, 2020, to unveil the two latest models in its lineup of vehicles in the country.

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Alvin Uy
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