One, they sold the Isuzu Gemini JT150/JT190 in the Philippines. This is the second generation Gemini, the FWD car, also known in the US as the Chevrolet/Geo Spectrum, and generally disrespected by everyone in the US and Australia. Regular Youtube visitors will invariably know these cars from the "Dancing in Paris" commercial campaign, 1986-1989, showing the boxy little cars performing two wheel driving stunts jumping the Seine River, looping a roller coasters, Shriner style precision stunts on a runway, and driving through the Paris subways, all thanks to Remy Julienne's driving team.
Two, it is considered to be one of the most popular cars in the Philippines. Apparently beloved for the same reason it was obscenely popular in Japan, because it was small on the outside, big on the inside, and as dependable as the Energizer Bunny. The diesel four door models were extremely popular as Taxicabs, the 4EE1 engine offering extremely high fuel economy, dependability, and drove like a gasoline engine, even smoother than Mercedes diesel coupes and sedans.
Three, the Gemini is so loved among the people of the Philippines, that after more than 20 years, they continue to use it as a measuring stick to compare all others by.
Indulging Old Habits
Ford Focus TDCi 4-door
By IÑIGO S. ROCES
September 17, 2010, 11:16am
The Philippines after all started out as a sedan market, and while hatches and SUVs are steadily growing in number, any car maker worth its salt always has a sedan to fight it out in the compact car segment.
Ford might have been reluctant to do the same with its Focus TDCi, but for those that were patient, there finally is a turbo diesel sedan.
The last time the market saw such a combination, it was in the form of the Isuzu Gemini Diesel. With a hardy and frugal diesel engine, it quickly became the dear of the taxi companies. This Focus may cost far more than any “taxi model,” but it certainly makes the change easy to adopt.
It’s an appropriate execution considering the market it hopes to attract: namely seasoned fans of the diesel Gemini, the Ghia badge, or just your garden variety sedan lovers.
It’s one of those few cars that makes change easy to embrace, allowing you to drive as you would any car with the modern conveniences well within reach.
Indeed some old habits and preferences really do die hard. Thankfully, there are also some that are more than happy to indulge them.
So, the new 2011 Ford Focus "might" be the first car in the Philippine market to live up to the reputation of the Isuzu Gemini.