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  • SPIED: GAC Trumpchi GS3 Power spotted in Perak – 1.5T, 163 PS, 235 Nm; B-seg China SUV to be CKD?

    A new prototype vehicle, identified as the GAC Trumpchi GS3 SUV, has been spotted by reader Enche Ariel undergoing road tests in Perak. The GS3, or likely the facelifted GS3 Power in this case, is a B-segment SUV produced by GAC Group and sold under the Trumpchi brand in China.

    If you’re wondering what it’s doing here in Malaysia, well, it’s likely part of a feasibility study resulting from the MoU signing between TC Overseas Assets Holdings Labuan (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tan Chong Motor Holdings) and GAC Motor International. The MoU is valid until July 1, 2021, and includes the possibility of assembling and selling GAC models in Malaysia and Vietnam.

    The Perak plate also points towards the possibility of it being assembled at Tan Chong Motor Holdings’ new RM500 million automotive hub (on 338 acres of land) in Bagan Datuk. This was announced back in mid 2018, and at the time, the company said its commercial vehicles production line was set to begin in 2021. This may seem like a coincidence, but it’s all speculative.

    Now, onto the SUV. The prototype seen here appears to be a right-hand drive unit. If so, that would make it a first for the GS3 model. The GS3 is currently not available in right-hand drive markets, and there exists no RHD version of it as well. Not homologated ones, at least.

    In China, the refreshed, range-topping SUV is powered by a 1,493 cc turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine. The direct injection mill (Euro 6 emissions-compliant) makes 163 PS at 5,500 rpm and 235 Nm of torque at 1,500 to 4,000 rpm. Drive is sent to the front wheels either through a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, with the top speed reportedly being 165 km/h.

    Curiously, there are reports suggesting the existence of an even more powerful 1.5T four-cylinder engine. That unit makes 169 PS and 265 Nm of torque, and all that gets sent to the front wheels through a six-speed automated manual transmission (AMT). At this point, we’d like to remind you that getting information from China websites is always tricky (remember how we all thought the original Boyue had a six-speed DCT last time?), so take these with a grain of salt.

    In any case, both 1.5T engines in the GS3 Power are more powerful than the non-TGDi Proton X50s. The 1.5T PFI three-potter offers 150 PS at 5,500 rpm and 226 Nm from 1,500 to 4,000 rpm, while the 1.5 TGDi lump churns out 177 PS at 5,500 rpm and 255 Nm from 1,500 to 4,000 rpm.

    There are cheaper, non-Power models as well. Those are powered by either a 1.5 litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine developing 115 PS and 150 Nm of torque, or a 1.3 litre four-cylinder turbo that makes 137 PS and 202 Nm of torque. Transmission options here include a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic, the latter sourced from Aisin.

    In terms of dimensions, the GS3 Power measures 4,350 mm in length, 1,825 mm wide, 1,685 mm tall, and has a wheelbase of 2,560 mm. That makes it 20 mm longer, 25 mm wider, and up to 76 mm taller than the X50. However, the GS3 Power’s wheelbase is 40 mm shorter than the X50’s, and weighs between 1,315 kg to 1,380 kg depending on the variant. It’s really close, then.

    Other notable features include McPherson struts for the front suspension, torsion beam suspension for the rear, disc brakes on all four corners (front units are ventilated, rears are solid), plus electric power steering. In terms of colours, the older GS3 can be had in five colours, but sportier blue and red hues have been introduced with the arrival of the updated GS3 Power.

    Design-wise, the GS3 Power gets a massive front grille, almost in the vein of Lexus’ spindle grille. The headlights have been updated with dual projector LED units, and photos of the SUV in China show new 18-inch aeroblade-style dual-tone wheels. Those appear sportier than the twin-five spoke units seen on the camouflage testers here, but again, nothing is quite set in stone at the moment. The LED combination tail lights are also new.

    Based on these photos, the cabin is clearly not to the level of the Geely Binyue/Proton X50. The facelift adds on a Mercedes-esque conjoined twin displays, one for the instrumentation and the other for the 10.25-inch widescreen infotainment system. This sees the centre vents take on the shape of an oblong, while the surrounding trim features a carbon-fibre print in its entirety.

    Elsewhere, you’ll find keyless entry with push-start button, leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, three rectangular control hubs for heating, ventilation and air-conditioning, front and rear USB ports, a six-speaker configuration, plus power adjustable front seats. The rear seats feature a 60:40 split and reclining function, too. Boot space remains unchanged from before at 370 litres, but expands up to 780 litres with the rear seatbacks folded down.

    For safety, the standard kit includes three-point seatbelts for all five seats, dual front airbags (top model gets additional side airbags for a total of four), ABS with EBD, electronic stability programme, traction control system, hill-start assist, hill descent control, and Isofix child seat anchor points for the rear seats. Apparently, the GS3 Power is equipped with ADiGO advanced driver assist system, which includes active brake assist, front collision warning system, and lane departure warning.

    In China, the GS3 Power is priced at 102,800 yuan, which is roughly RM64k after conversion. The starting price for non-Power models (pre-facelift; these have yet to be updated) starts from 73,800 yuan (RM46k). So, what do you think of this?

    GALLERY: GAC Trumpchi GS3 Power spyshots in Perak, Malaysia

    GALLERY: GAC Trumpchi GS3 Power in China

  • MCO in 6 states, all federal territories extended to Feb 4, 2021 – restaurants can open till 10pm from Jan 22

    The government has extended the movement control order (MCO) period in the states of Selangor, Johor, Penang, Melaka, Sabah, Kelantan and the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan to February 4, 2021. The reimplementation of the MCO from January 13-26 initially involved the aforementioned states and federal territories.

    On January 16, it was announced that the MCO would also come into effect in Kelantan and Sibu in Sarawak from January 16-29. This was later followed by Terengganu, Pahang, Perlis, Perak, Negeri Sembilan and Kedah, with the MCO period for these states set to run from January 22 to February 4.

    With the latest announcement, almost the whole of Malaysia now follows an identical MCO period. The only exception is Sarawak, where all parts of the state are under the conditional movement control order (CMCO) from January 18 to 31, with the exception of Sibu that is a MCO state and should follow the February 4 end date.

    During his speech today, senior minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob also revealed that food outlets will be allowed to operate from 6am to 10pm, beginning January 22 – previously only up to 8pm. This includes restaurants, food stalls and kiosks, food trucks, roadside hawkers, food courts and hawker centres.

    As per MCO standard operating procedures (SOPs), no in-place dining will be allowed in MCO states, although take-away, drive-thru and deliveries are permitted.


  • Nissan e-NV200 Winter Camper concept turns electric van into off-road motorhome with kitchen and beds

    Very rarely is an electric vehicle touted as a road trip companion, but Nissan is trying its luck with its e-NV200 Winter Camper concept. Essentially a rolling showcase of original Nissan accessories, it envisions the electric van as the ideal companion for cold-climate exploration.

    The centrepiece around which the car is built is the Nissan Camper Technology Luxury Kit, which is available for the e-NV200 and the e-NV200 Evalia passenger variant. It turns the van into a motorhome of sorts, with an integrated kitchen, refrigerator, folding beds and insulated windows, plus a solar-rechargeable 220-volt power pack. There’s also an elevating roof fitted, giving those inside more standing space.

    Other original accessories include mudguards, side sill scuff plates, side bars and rubber mats. The Winter Camper has also been tweaked to offer a modicum of off-road capability, including chunky off-road tyres, raised suspension and a nudge bar equipped with twin 5,400-lumen spotlights.

    To recap, the e-NV200 shares its powertrain with the original Leaf, consisting of a front-mounted electric motor that delivers 80 kW (109 PS) and 254 Nm of torque. Despite the Winter Camper’s adventurous streak, don’t expect it to actually be able to travel far – even with the new Leaf‘s 40 kWh battery, the standard e-NV200 only has a WLTP-rated range of 200 km.

  • Kia to take over Apple self-driving EV from Hyundai?

    Earlier this month, Hyundai has reportedly been on track to sign a partnership deal with tech giant Apple for autonomous electric vehicles by this March, according to a report by Korea IT News as quoted by Reuters.

    Now, a report by Korean site eDaily suggests that Hyundai will instead hand over responsibilities for the self-driving EV project to Kia, and that the development and eventual production will take place at Kia’s factory in Georgia, United States. The report speculates that Hyundai has decided to distance its brand from the Apple car project out of brand reputation concerns.

    The fear is that the Korean automaker will “become an OEM factory” for the autonomous EVs if Apple, rather than Hyundai takes the lead in the manufacture of the self-driving car project. As it stands, the project was revealed to involved outside partners for parts such as its lidar systems.

    Discussions about the self-driving car project are said to be still ongoing, and the matter has not been decided yet, the Korean news outlet quoted Hyundai as saying.

    The timeline for the self-driving car project by the Cupertino, California-based tech company dates back to Project Titan in 2015, which Apple then scaled back in 2016 to a revised focus on developing autonomous driving technologies, rather than a complete car. A report emerged at the end of December that the Apple car project has restarted, with a revised debut target of 2024.

    Kia’s own EV products so far include the e-Soul, the Niro EV, and most recently revealed its strategy of releasing seven new electric vehicles by 2027, for private and commercial customers alike. All of these will be built upon the Hyundai Group’s Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), and offer fast charging capability.

    Kia at this point also stated its commitment to diversifying into environmentally-friendly mobility services, in major cities centred on autonomous electric vehicles.

  • 2020 second best ever sales year for BMW Motorrad

    Coming off a record sales year in 2019, BMW Motorrad has recorded its second best sales year in 2020, with 169,272 motorcycles sold worldwide. This number is 3,4% down from the 2019 record of 175,162 motorcycles sold.

    Despite the Covid-19 pandemic and travel restrictions imposed across the world, BMW Motorrad managed to launch 13 new models. Among these were the BMW Motorrad R18 and the mid-range twins, the F900R and F900XR, as well as the updated S1000R four-cylinder naked sports.

    As can be expected, BMW Motorrad’s boxer twin continues to be its best seller, with almost 80,000 units sold in its R-series and RnineT range. For the sub-500 cc G-series bikes, the G310R and G310GS, BMW Motorrad sold over 17,000 units, and will continue on in its catalogue.

    Broken down by country, its home market of Germany remains its largest market with 27,516 units sold, an increase of 1,224 units over the previous year. This was followed by France with 17,539 units against 17,300 units in 2019.

    However, Europe as a whole showed a downturn in sales, registering a drop of 5.3% posted against the year before. This was made up with increased sales volume in China and Brazil, the Middle Kingdom registering a substantial 33.7% increase in sales volume with 11,788 motorcycles and scooters sold while Brazil recorded 10,707 BMW two-wheelers moving off the showroom floor, an increase of 6.4%.

    The two-cylinder F-series machines, comprising of the BMW F750GS, BMW F850GS and BMW F850GS Adventure, along with the F900R and F900XR, saw more than 35,000 units sold. Of these, the F900R and F900XR comprised close to half the total sales volume with 14,429 sold across the world.

    Positive about BMW Motorrad’s sales performance in 2021, Timo Resch, BMW Motorrad Head of Sales and Marketing, said, “we will again deliver a variety of strong new products to our customers in 2021 together with our strong partners. The M 1000 RR, one of the most spectacular sports bikes, is waiting to be released onto the racetracks of this world.”

    Other developments waiting in the wings for BMW Motorrad in 2021 include an update to the G310R and G310GS as well as “one or two surprises with regard to e-mobility this year.”

  • US orders Ford to recall 3m cars with Takata airbags

    The Takata airbag recall saga seems so long ago, but it’s actually not over yet. Contrary to popular belief, Japanese carmakers weren’t the only ones supplied by Takata, one of the biggest airbag vendors in the world. The Detroit carmakers used Takata too, and they’ve been trying to resist the authorities’ effort to get them to issue recalls.

    Now, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has said that Ford must recall three million vehicles with potentially defective driver-side Takata airbags, rejecting a bid by the Blue Oval to avoid the inconvenience, Reuters reports.

    Ford and Mazda filed petitions in 2017 seeking to avoid recalling vehicles with potentially dangerous airbag inflators, which forced the likes of Honda, Toyota and Nissan to recall millions of cars globally. NHTSA has now denied the petition, which means that Mazda will also have to recall around 5,800 units. The Ford/Mazda recall will cover cars from model years 2006 to 2012.

    In rare instances, when the potentially defective airbag inflators are exposed long term to high humidity, they may rupture and shoot out shards of metal fragments. According to the wire report, Takata inflators have resulted in the deaths of at least 27 people worldwide (including Malaysia) and 18 in the US, and over 400 reported injuries.

    The scary possibility kicked off the largest automotive recall in history involving more than 67 million inflators in the US alone. Worldwide, about 100 million inflators installed by 19 automakers have been recalled. The US auto safety regulator said the “evidence makes clear that these inflators pose a significant safety risk”. Earlier this year, it said at least 17 million vehicles with the affected airbags are yet to be repaired. Even in Malaysia, some inflators have not been replaced yet.

    NHTSA said Ford must “submit to NHTSA a proposed schedule for the notification of vehicle owners and the launch of a remedy” within 30 days.

    Ford has said that the vehicles NHTSA is ordering it to recall were subject to an earlier recall for the passenger-side airbag. This recall will apply to various Ford Ranger, Fusion, Edge, Lincoln Zephyr/MKZ, Mercury Milan and Lincoln MKX vehicles, along with Mazda 2007–2009 model year B-Series trucks. The latter was designed and built by Ford, and used the same airbag inflators as the Ranger.

    It was reported that two people died in Takata airbag ruptures in previously recalled 2006 Ford Ranger pick-ups, with the most recent death happening in 2017.

    The Blue Oval isn’t alone on this. In November last year, the NHTSA said it was rejecting a petition filed by fellow Detroit carmaker General Motors to avoid the recall of 5.9 million 2007-2014 model year Takata-equipped vehicles in the US. Its hand forced, GM then said it would recall seven million vehicles worldwide.

  • Volkswagen Group delivered 9,305,400 vehicles in 2020 – 15.2% year-on-year decrease due to Covid-19

    The Volkswagen Group has announced its sales results for 2020, which saw a total of 9,305,400 vehicles sold worldwide. This represents a 15.2% year-on-year decrease from 10,975,300 vehicles delivered in 2019, largely due to the Covid-19 pandemic that affected both sales and production.

    “The Covid-19 pandemic made 2020 an extremely challenging year. The Volkswagen Group performed well in this environment and strengthened its market position,” said Christian Dahlheim, head of sales at Volkswagen Group.

    “We are particularly pleased that we hit the ground running in our e-offensive in spite of the pandemic and thus took a big step forward in the implementation of our Together 2025+ strategy. We will keep up the momentum this year, adding many more attractive electric models,” he added.

    The Volkswagen Group is made up of several brands, including Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Audi, Skoda, Seat, Porsche, Bentley, Lamborghini, Bugatti, as well as those linked to commercial vehicles like Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, MAN and Scania. Every single one saw a decline in sales compared to 2019, some as much as -27.5%.

    Despite the negative deltas, there are some encouraging highlights from last year’s performance, as deliveries of all-electric vehicles increased by 214% to 231,600 units from 73,700 units in 2019. Meanwhile, plug-in hybrid also jumped 175% to 190,500 units from 69,200 units in 2019.

    The bulk of electrified vehicles delivered were from Volkswagen Passenger Cars, which saw 134,000 EVs sold last year from just 45,117 units in 2019. As for PHEVs, it’s 78,000 units in 2020 from 37,053 units in 2019. Volkswagen Passenger Cars launched nine new fully electric and plug-in hybrid models in 2020, with the ID.3 (56,500 units) and Passat GTE (27,200 units) being the best sellers in their respective categories.

    Across the entire Volkswagen Group, the e-tron was the second best-selling EV with 47,300 units, followed by the e-Golf (41,300 units), e-up! (22,200 units) and Taycan (20,000 units). On the PHEV side, the Q5 occupied the second spot with 23,500 units, while the Cayenne (21,500 units) came in third, the Superb (16,400 units) in fourth and the Golf (15,200 units) in fifth.

    Every region that Volkswagen Group has a presence in also saw declines compared to 2019, with the most significant being in Western Europe, where 2,939,900 cars were delivered last year compared to 3,747,600 units in 2019 – a 21.6% decrease.

    It’s the same case for Central and Eastern Europe (-15.6%), North America (-17.4%), South America (-19.5%), China and Hong Kong (-9.1%), the rest of Asia-Pacific (-9%) as well as the Middle East and Africa (-12.3%).

  • VIDEO: Five cool things about the new Hyundai Sonata

    Last year, the Malaysian D-segment sedan market was stirred with multiple entries such as the CKD Honda Accord turbo, Volkswagen Passat R-Line, and the Hyundai Sonata.

    There is only one variant of the eighth-generation executive sedan available, that being the 2.5 Premium. It’s fully imported from South Korea and can be yours for RM189,888 (with 50% SST exemption), which is the introductory price for the first 50 units.

    Now, we’re in the midst of readying the full video review, so in the mean time, help yourself to this short clip, showcasing the five most interesting features about the new Sonata. There’s actually more than meets the eye (especially with that eye-watering price tag) with this one!

  • AD: Detailing, coatings, tints, aftermarket parts, even photoshoots – Kuzig Glanz has all your car needs!

    We may be in unprecedented times where our cars spend most of their time at home, so it’s easy for us to neglect them. But like us, vehicles need to be loved from time to time, which is why it’s important for us to keep them clean and well-maintained – because we want them to be raring to go when our road do reopen.

    And when it comes to keeping your car showroom fresh, you really can’t go wrong with Kuzig Glanz and its passionate team of professional detailers. The company started out as a local go-to spot but quickly developed a reputation for premium car detailing, attracting enthusiasts near and far.

    The company has now expanded and evolved into a one-stop centre for all car enthusiasts, offering a vast range of detailing and car care solutions. It all starts with a wash – at Kuzig Glanz’s upgraded facilities, you can choose from basic and detailed car washes, both utilising deep and thorough cleaning techniques to remove all hidden dirt and grime inside and out. A multi-tank water treatment system enhances cleaning performance, leaving behind a spotless finish while preserving the lustre of the vehicle’s factory paint.

    You can also opt for a variety of detailing services that are able to comprehensively restore worn-out paint, recondition and add protection to leather, and fully detail the interior. Want to apply a paint protection coating? The climate- and humidity-controlled room is able to maintain the ideal ambient temperature and humidity to ensure an effective curing process. It also functions as a cleanroom that minimises pollutants, making it the perfect place to apply window tint and paint protection films.

    The products being used and offered by Kuzig Glanz are also first-class – the company is a certified detailer for Gyeon Quartz, having undergone the Certified Dealer Programme designed to consistently uphold the brand’s highest standards.

    Kuzig Glanz is trained on and adheres to Gyeon Quartz’s strict standard operating procedures, which oversee areas like task performance and workplace safety. It prides itself in delivering the best service and end result to its customers, so it continuously trains its staff to be acquainted with the latest detailing products and skills, as customer satisfaction is of utmost significance.

    The company also has special collaborations with renown brands like XPEL; as an authorised reseller and installer of one of the most advanced paint protection films and automotive window tints, it offers six-year and lifetime warranties respectively. Kuzig Glanz is also the place to go if you’re looking for aftermarket parts, as it’s the authorised dealer for Apex Race Parts wheels, Akrapovic exhausts and iPE exhausts.

    Just as an artist requires the best brush and paint (and constant practice) to deliver their finest work, so do detailers need the best tools. Kuzig Glanz is no exception, utilising Flex polishers from Germany – a brand that has even been used on a historic Air Force One aeroplane that flew the President of the United States.

    The company has also created its own line of detailing products through years of research and development and trial and error, delivering maximum performance and ease of use. The Armour Series of professional products caters to detailing centres and consists of compounding solutions, polishing and waxing creams and coating products. On the other hand, the Lustrous Series is designed for DIY enthusiasts and includes pH-balanced car shampoos, wheel cleaners and leather conditioners.

    The Kuzig Glanz headquarters, located right next to Sime Darby Motor City in Ara Damansara, provides a whole new customer experience with outdoor and indoor waiting lounges. While your ride is being pampered, you’ll be able to enjoy facilities that include a coffee machine, a smart TV and – in case you need to do some work – high-speed wireless Internet. There’s even a racing simulator for you to get your adrenaline fix!

    If that’s not enough, you can head over to the viewing deck that offers a 360-degree look of the entire premises, thanks to integrated cameras at all areas. This gives you complete peace of mind, as you’ll be able to check on your beloved car at all times.

    And if you ever need to store your vehicle at Kuzig Glanz, don’t worry. The facility boasts state-of-the-art security that includes the aforementioned cameras and a top-notch alarm system. The latter is able to detect motion, smoke, haze, carbon monoxide and water leaks to guard against theft, fire and flood – you’ll be even be notified of any irregularities via your mobile phone.

    Last but not least, Kuzig Glanz’s headquarters can also host photoshoots and events. Depending on the style they’re going for, photographers can choose from the detailing bay with a raw industrial look or the coating bay with its clean and modern aesthetic.

    So what are you waiting for? Book an appointment with Kuzig Glanz for all your automotive needs! For directions to the Ara Damansara headquarters, click here.

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  • Lotus says Alpine tie-up will accelerate its product development – new electric sports car by mid-decade

    Lotus says that the tie-up with Alpine to develop an electric sports car for the French brand will help accelerate its push towards electrification. The British sports car maker said the joint venture will also bump up its own product development in this area.

    Speaking to AFP, Uday Senepati, the company’s executive director corporate strategy and product management, said the partnership will play on the strengths of both companies. “We have a great expertise in motor sports, they have great expertise in aerodynamic powertrains with lots of electrification on race tracks. Formula One is another area that we are exploring, but this is not the main focus,” he said.

    He said that the companies are partnering on several aspects, with the main area being the development of an all-electric sports car chassis that will be done by Lotus. This, he explained, will yield new products from Hethel in faster fashion.

    “It will give us our line of sports car in the middle of this decade, and we will be looking at launching a new electric sports car on this platform,” he told the news agency, adding that the carmaker was intent on becoming a full electric brand eventually. The company is also reportedly set to introduce a new all-electric SUV, codenamed Lambda, sometime in 2022.

    Senapati said the co-operation deal with Alpine is driven by a need to share supply chains and production facilities, which will offset supply-chain delays that have come about following the UK’s recent exit from the EU’s single market and customs union.

    “The partnership with Renault will work well since Renault has got a big supply-chain footprint, and this partnership will help us. With Renault we have access to its industrial footprint as well in Europe, if needed,” he said.

    He added that the partnerships were crucial in a changed landscape. “2021 is going to be extremely challenging for the industry. We have to work together to brace for those challenges. If you want to battle a crisis yourself you are going be in trouble. Partnerships are going to be key and Lotus has a history of partnerships. We are open to more,” he said.

    Senepati also provided an update on the Evija. It was reported last August that customer deliveries of the electric sports car – which made its dynamic debut at Goodwood in October – had been delayed by a minimum of five months due to testing programme disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, and it looks like buyers will have to continue being patient.

    “There have been challenges with the launch of the Evija and testing the car with the travel restrictions. The car has to be developed by testing it across the globe. It’ll go into production and commercialisation this year,” he said.


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