Filipino-owned truck builder Centro Manufacturing Corporation may not ring a loud bell for you right now, but we can assure you the company is slowly but steadily carving a name for itself in the local automotive industry. If you remember the Isuzu i-Van shuttle vehicle from a few years ago, that was actually Centro's creation using the Japanese truckmaker's NHR platform.
Centro has a pair of new offerings. At the ongoing 5th Philippine International Motor Show (last day today, September 21), Centro presented the Mitsubishi L300 XV Mikrobus (above) and the Fuso Canter Tourista (below), two affordable minibuses to be manufactured at the company's Marilao facility in Bulacan.
The L300 XV Mikrobus uses the L300 FB Exceed chassis, converted by Centro into a single-body, 17-seater vehicle. With this minibus, Centro aims to fill the void left by the phased-out L300 Versa Van.
"We saw the upsurge in the nationwide demand in the shuttle segment of the mass transport industry, and realized that most of the reliable Japanese shuttle models have only 15 seats or less yet have a price tag of over P1 million," said Centro president Raphael Juan. "We therefore saw the demand for a minibus converted from a Japanese chassis cab with over 15 seats yet costs less than P1 million. Our answer is the L300 XV with 17 seats and at an introductory price of only P898,000."
Centro is positioning the L300 XV for UV Express and other shuttle applications, or as a school bus, a tourist coach and even an ambulance. Among its features are its bubble-top design and thicker four-inch seat cushion.
Introduced alongside the L300 XV is the Fuso Canter Tourista (mind the spelling). It is bigger than the L300 XV but only seats 10 as more space is allocated for overall cabin room and luggage compartment. As the name suggests, the Tourista is "positioned for corporate and higher-end transport applications and for touring purposes such as airport-to-hotel shuttle, local tours and travels, or as a touring bus for VIPs and executives."
If you want to see these two minibuses in the metal, check out the Centro booth at the 5th Philippine International Motor Show at World Trade Center in Pasay City. You have until today to do so.