Buy this jeepney body, choose your own engine

Dominic Menor, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 24 2018 07:25 PM

At quick glance, the offerings at this week's 7th Philippine International Motor Show (PIMS) are a pipe dream for most Filipinos.

With the top-class auto show focusing on "future mobility," the premier car event's theme, the question is, where does Juan dela Cruz play into this forward-thinking mindset?

Columbian Manufacturing Corp. (CMANC), in partnership with Sta. Rosa Motor Works Inc., appears to have an answer.

Amid the grander showing of heavyweight carmakers surrounding it, CMANC on Wednesday unwrapped what it brands as the Iconic Jeepney concept.

According to the company, what the Iconic hopes to accomplish is to build a public utility vehicle (PUV) that complies with the Philippine national standard set by the government and to give jeepney drivers options.

"Ito iyong sinasabi natin na jeepney modernization program ng government," said Philip B. Alumno, production manager at Sta. Rosa Motor Works Inc. based in Laguna.

"May standard room height, width and length ang unit natin."

The entrance is through the front right side, not the rear, as part of the safety features called for by the government.

While CMANC provides just the body, it's up to those who buy it to fit it with their engine of choice.

"Sa ganitong set-up, ginagawan naman ng body and kinakasahan namin ng either diesel engine or electric motor. Nagiging flexible ang design namin ng body," said Cris Espinar, engineer and product development supervisor also at Sta. Rosa.

The Iconic Jeepney drew interest from a sizable crowd, which included professional jeepney drivers. The consensus was they liked what they saw and were keen to shift to electric power.

Jun Mercado, a transport professional, said that if he had the budget, he would buy an Iconic.

"Masasabi ko, less usok ito, tapos walang consumption ng diesel. Alam natin ngayon ang diesel tumataas, pero ito nakikita ko hindi tayo gagamit ng diesel dahil more on electronic. Ang kagandahan nito, makakatulong sa environment," Mercado said.

Benjie Deborja, who is also in the transport business, said he also would consider shifting to the Iconic Jeepney. 

"Sa business, mas magandang gamitin kung ano iyong makukumportable ang mga pasahero. Iyon ang hanap namin," said Deborja. 

"Praktikal pero kumportable."

The Iconic Jeepney remains a concept, and Alumno and Espinar acknowledged no price point and no target date for mass production have been determined yet.