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  • Suzuki set to return to Malaysia, under Berjaya – report

    You might be able to get your hands on a new fourth-gen Suzuki Jimny in the near future, and through official channels at that, if what being indicated by a news report is right. Apparently, plans are afoot to reintroduce Suzuki in Malaysia, with Berjaya Group – which holds the local Mazda franchise through Bermaz Auto – expected to be named as the new distributor, according to the New Straits Times.

    Sources revealed to the publication that Tan Sri Vincent Tan is slated to head to Japan next month to ink a distributorship agreement with the automaker, with Suzuki chairman Osamu Suzuki expected to witness the signing at the company’s headquarters in Hamamatsu.

    The brand was last represented in Malaysia by Suzuki Malaysia Automobile, with local assembly of the Swift hatchback being carried out by Hicom Automotive Manufacturers in Pekan, Pahang.

    In June 2015, Suzuki signed a memorandum of understanding and licence agreement with Proton and DRB-Hicom for the production of motor vehicles. Sales and assembly of Suzuki models in Malaysia were halted under a rationalisation plan, and in January 2016 it was announced that all 29 Suzuki dealerships in the country would be converted to Proton Edar outlets, ending the brand’s official sales presence in the country.

    The collaboration was to have allowed Proton access to Suzuki’s models, platforms, powertrain and automotive technology, with the Japanese carmaker providing specific technical assistance for the selected products and scope, but the union resulted only in the Proton Ertiga being introduced for the Malaysian market. The MPV, which is based on the Suzuki Ertiga, was last seen in Ertiga Xtra form.

    It was not revealed in the report what plans there were for local assembly or which models would be involved, if this was the case.

  • Renault Subscription now open to the public in M’sia – Captur and Koleos available; from RM1,299 a month

    Renault distributor TC Euro Cars has begun offering its car subscription service (Renault Subscription) to the public, following a pilot phase that was introduced back in May exclusively for Tan Chong Motor Holdings (TCMH), Warisan Tan Chong Holdings (WTCH) and APM employees.

    Interested parties will have access to the Captur and Koleos, with pricing dependent on the chosen monthly subscription plan. However, a refundable security deposit of RM2,500 for the Captur and RM3,500 for the Koleos is applicable regardless of the plan you decide to go for.

    Two plans are available, with the first (Fixed) being for a single model only, with a choice of one- or two-year terms. For the Captur, a two-year plan will cost RM1,299 monthly, while going for one year is RM1,499 a month.

    Those who need something bigger can opt for the Koleos, which is priced at RM2,299 (two years) or RM2,499 (one year) monthly. There’s also the higher-spec Koleos Signature available for RM2,699 (two years) or RM2,899 (one year) monthly.

    The prices of the plans include regular service costs, road tax and insurance, as well as an allotted mileage cap of 20,000 km per year Should you need more, there’s the option of an additional 10,000 km per year for an additional RM200 monthly. At the end of your subscription term, any excess mileage is subject to RM0.50 per km.

    Another optional upgrade offered is the Wear & Tear package for an additional RM100 per month, applicable for Fixed two-year plans only. With this selected, wear and tear parts will be covered under the subscription programme.

    Should you ever need to terminate the plan before the specified term, you will face a RM300 charge (applicable per month on the remaining months) if the termination is done within 12 months. This applies to all Fixed plans, including one- and two-year terms. For plans that span two years, terminating the plan from month 13 and any time beyond will warrant a RM200 charge, also applicable monthly on the remaining months of the plan term.

    Click to enlarge

    If variety is needed, there’s the Switch plan that allows you to swap between a Captur and Koleos. Subscribers will get to choose either a Base or Prime option, with the primary difference being the number of months you get to use the Koleos (two for Base, four for Prime) within the default one-year term. A RM3,500 security deposit is required for both options.

    The Base option is priced at RM1,999 monthly, while the Prime is RM2,199. Both plans also include road tax and insurance, as well as regular service costs, but are different from the Fixed plans as they already include the Wear & Tear package and come with unlimited allotted mileage. There’s also no charges to terminate the Switch plan early, with only a one-month prior notice required.

    The Renault Subscription service does have some benefits, as customers will not need to fork out a large sum as downpayment to have a Renault to drive, pay for service maintenance, be tied down by a long-term hire purchase, and is unaffected by depreciation. Is this something you might consider?

  • SPIED: Audi A3, S3 Sedan – better looking, roomier?

    The upcoming Audi A3 looks set to make its world premiere soon, judging by the way the camouflaged A3 and S3 sedans look in this prototype form. Spotted in southern Europe, the cars’ distinct bodywork and sculpted profile reveal a very familiar silhouette, if a bit stretched compared to the outgoing model.

    It’ll continue to ride on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform that’s tweaked to provide better interior space, while at the same time improve the car’s overall driving characteristics. Dimensionally, expect the wheelbase to be longer, and the track widths pushed out farther for better driving stability.

    Design-wise, the compact car will adopt the automaker’s latest design language, starting with the sharp, jagged LED headlights with staggered LED DRLs, wide hexagonal Singleframe grille, and bold side intakes with air curtain. Wheel size should range anywhere from 16-inch to 19-inch units, depending on the variant.

    Inside, the new A3 line-up is expected to be the next recipient of the latest Audi virtual cockpit, featuring improved graphical layout and readability. The centrally-mounted infotainment unit will also get the latest MMI user interface, complete with GPS navigation and various smartphone pairing and connectivity functions.

    Powertrain options will be quite varied, and that includes the VW Group’s 1.5 litre EA211 TSI evo engine with Active Cylinder Technology. Existing engines are tipped to be carried over, albeit tweaked for better performance and improved efficiency. The S3 will likely get a highly-boosted 2.0 litre TFSI petrol engine, cranked to produce around 300 hp, matching that of the Mercedes-AMG A 35 4Matic and F40 BMW M135i.

    The rumour mill suggests that some variation of electrified powertrains may be offered as well, but this remains to be seen. Also, for body styles, the four rings will apparently drop the three-door hatch and convertible models, choosing instead to focus production and sales of the conventional five-door hatch, sedan, and sportback models. What do you think of this, folks?

    GALLERY: Audi A3 Sedan spyshot

    GALLERY: Audi S3 Sedan spyshot

  • Ferrari to diversify, expand model variety and line-up

    Ferrari says it is set to expand its product line-up by diversifying the types of models it will offer, and this will not just be limited to its new SUV, which is slated to enter the market in 2022.

    According to its chief marketing and commercial officer Enrico Galliera, the automaker is looking to move away from simply coming up with traditional replacements and variant expansion by opening up new segments in its product portfolio, Autocar reports.

    “What we are trying to do is become a lot less predictable. We are currently working to redesign our products of the future,” he said, citing the SF90 Stradale PHEV as an example of how the company was making the shift.

    “The SF90 Stradale is not a car that was in our product range previously. It’s a completely new car, new technology, a new segment. It is what we are calling a ‘range supercar’. It’s not a LaFerrari. But it does supercar performance, and is available to a wider range of customers,” he said.

    Galliera said that the company was creating new segments to attract different customer profiles. “We have a saying – different Ferraris for different Ferraristas,” he stated.

    “There are a few clients who are looking for something different. For example, the Portofino is not necessarily peak Ferrari but it’s more elegant, more comfortable. There were lots of people that wanted a Ferrari but were scared by a high-performance car,” he explained.

    The company has previously announced that it will be introducing five models this year, two of which have been revealed, these being the F8 Tributo and SF90 Stradale. The identity of the remaining three remain a mystery, but it has been reported that one will be a spider derivative of the 812 Superfast, and this is expected to debut in Frankfurt. Galliera hinted that one of the slated debuts will be in a “new segment” for Ferrari, according to the publication.

    The automaker is expected to introduce as many as 15 new vehicles by 2022, among them the much-anticipated Purosangue SUV and the next-gen LaFerrari, and take its annual volume past the 15,000 unit mark. Galliera, however, believes that the brand can maintain its exclusivity despite the increase in products.

    “We’re not selling more of the same product. We grow without pushing a single model. We will see growth through new segments. And we expect to grow further in higher-end models. For example, the SF90, which has a 25% higher price than rest of range,” he said.

    GALLERY: Ferrari SF90 Stradale plug-in hybrid

    GALLERY: Ferrari F8 Tributo

  • BMW iNEXT – flat-bottomed steering wheel revealed

    To date, BMW has been one of the few holdouts against the pervasive flat-bottomed steering wheel trend initiated by the likes of Volkswagen and Audi. But they all fall down eventually, and Munich has revealed that its upcoming all-electric SUV, the iNEXT, will feature what it calls a race-inspired “polygonal” steering wheel.

    The term refers to the shape of the two-spoke item, which is not only flat at the bottom, but at the top as well. As with other carmakers, BMW claims that the new wheel aids entry and egress and enables the driver to bend their legs – for example, when using the adaptive cruise control – to improve long-distance comfort.

    But the shape has other benefits as well, particularly when it comes to autonomous driving. According to the company, the driver will be able to more easily recognise the angle of the wheel when switching back to manual driving, making for a safer transition.

    The steering wheel design has been optimised for use with the curved display

    The side sections will also be able to illuminate in different colours through the use of embedded optical fibres, signalling the availability of automated driving functions and to warn the driver when they are required to retake control of the vehicle.

    The design of the wheel also goes hand-in-hand with the curved display that will be used for both the instruments and the infotainment system. The shape is said to maximise the driver’s view of the screen, and the positioning of the display and the geometry of the steering wheel have apparently been optimised for the legibility of the information shown.

    Details have been pretty thin on the ground, but the iNEXT is expected to feature up to Level 3 autonomous driving, all-wheel drive and a range of over 600 km when it enters production in 2021.

    GALLERY: BMW iNEXT spyshots

  • Fiat Chrysler Automobiles makes second-largest order for next-gen eight-speed autos; electric drive-prepared

    Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has put in the second-largest single order in the history of auto parts maker ZF for its forthcoming, fourth-generation 8HP eight-speed automatic transmission. The new, longitudinal gearbox will commence production at ZF’s plant in Saarbruecken, Germany in 2022, and plans are in place for additional production sites in the United States and in China to contribute to the manufacturing volume.

    The new-generation transmission integrates electric drive, which gives customers such as FCA the option of electrification for any model using this new gearbox, with the aim of offering both improved efficiency and stronger accelerative performance.

    Designed for the front-longitudinal drive configuration in both rear- and all-wheel-drive forms, the new ZF 8HP transmissions will go into future FCA products likely to include forthcoming versions of the group’s larger models such as the Dodge Challenger and Charger, as well as its SUVs such as the Grand Cherokee. Others likely to benefit could be next-generation Ram pick-up trucks, Maseratis and Alfa Romeos.

    This means models such as the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, though already at the top of the carmaker’s performance tree, could be up for a sizeable helping of performance boost, on top of what’s already possible from the firm’s 6.2 litre supercharged petrol V8, namely 840 hp and 1,044 Nm of torque.

    Exact figures for the purchase agreement were not disclosed, although ZF executives said it was ‘not too far away’ from the value of the order made by BMW for similar transmissions in April, said to be ‘double-digit billion euros’, Automotive News reported.

    The order by FCA would include a ‘significant share’ of hybrid transmissions, the report said, and adds that ZF is hoping strong demands for hybrids, especially plug-in versions, will help the firm in the industry’s transition from internal combustion to full electrification.

  • Malaysia has the cheapest petrol in the region – report

    Have you ever wondered how many litres of petrol you can buy with an average Malaysian salary? Well, good news, because Picodi Analysis has prepared a report that considers the average monthly salaries and petrol prices in 17 countries in the Asia-Oceania region, with the addition of Hong Kong (Brunei is left out here).

    According to the report, Malaysia has the cheapest petrol in the region, where on average, one litre of petrol costs US$0.49 (RM2.05). Yes, RON 95 has stayed at RM2.08 per litre for several weeks now, but it wasn’t always the case earlier in the year prior to the government’s involvement.

    The pricing of RON 95 in the early parts of 2019 and the survey’s methodology (detailed below) are the reasons why the price used in the survey is RM2.05. Getting back on track, the most expensive place to fill the tank is outside the region in Hong Kong, with the average price per litre being US$2.15 (HKD16.89, or RM8.85).

    With a salary of US$843 (RM3,494), you can therefore buy 1,707 litres of petrol with your salary in Malaysia. However, it is Australians that have the best ratio of petrol price to the average salary in the surveyed region, as an average salary of US$3,682 (AUD 5,256, or RM15,153) and fuel price of USD$0.97 (AUD 1.39, or RM3.99) per litre equates to 3,783 litres of petrol purchasable.

    Coming in second place is Japan with 2006 litres, followed by South Korea in third with 1,908 litres, New Zealand in fourth with 1,852 litres. Malaysia is fifth in the 17-country survey, just ahead of Singapore with 1,598 litres. On the bottom end of the survey is Pakistan (192 litres), Cambodia (181 litres) and finally, the Philippines (158 litres).

    Looking beyond the 17 countries surveyed, Picodi also considered average wages and petrol prices in over 100 countries across six continents. Based on its findings, Venezuela came first as the average salary of US$29 (RM119) nets you over 14 billion litres of petrol, which is priced at US$0.000000002 (RM0.0000000082) per litre.

    Persian Gulf countries like Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates had fuel prices of between US$0.40 (RM1.65) and US$0.60 (RM2.47), and with their respective average salaries, buyers there can get between 4,900 to 6,500 litres of petrol.

    The company also explained the high positions of countries like the United States and Canada can be explained not only by high salaries but also the amount of extracted oil, while Switzerland and Luxembourg stand out with high incomes only.

    As for the lowest amount of petrol that can be bought, you’ll need to go to Madagascar (42 litres), Tajikistan (131 litres) and Zambia (137 litres). The study also revealed countries that possessed a rich supply of natural resources do not always mean that petrol will be more accessible for an average consumer, as is the case in Nigeria.

    To prepare the report, the firm used the average nett wages based on the latest available data provided by offices for national statistics or relevant ministries. The average prices of fuel for the first half of 2019 in over 100 countries were also taken from and other local sources.

    The number of litres purchasable is then calculated by dividing the average wage by the average price of one litre of petrol, and to standardise the currency used in this analysis, the average exchange rate for the last 90 days is taken in account.

  • Toyota Corolla Hatch gets new colours, better safety

    Toyota Australia has unveiled the updated Corolla Hatch ahead of its market launch November this year, featuring a new two-tone exterior paint scheme (top-spec models only), bright Feverish Red metallic paint (standard offering across the board), and upgraded safety.

    Other new additions include an eight-way powered driver’s seat, new parking support brake system (PKSB) and rear cross-traffic alert. The last feature is a driver assist system that helps reduce low-speed collisions, and this is offered alongside the blind-spot monitoring system.

    A specific variant of the Corolla, the Ascent Sport, Toyota can be had with the optional tyre repair kit to replace the standard full-size alloy spare wheel. This bumps up boot space by 116 litres to 333 litres, which of course can be expanded by folding the rear bench down.

    In the powertrain department, things remain unchanged. In Australia, the family hatchback is available with two engines, the first being the M20A-FKS 2.0 litre Dynamic Force four-cylinder petrol engine. Naturally aspirated and fitted with D-4S direct injection as well as VVT-iE electric variable valve timing, it makes 168 hp and 200 Nm of torque, and is paired to a six-speed Intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT) with automatic rev-matching as standard.

    Also available is the new Direct Shift-CVT, the world’s first continuously variable transmission with a launch gear for improved low-speed efficiency and acceleration. It gets a 10-speed virtual ratio mode as well as a sport mode and paddle shifters.

    Sold alongside that is the Corolla Hybrid, which draws power from an improved version of the Prius‘ 1.8 litre Atkinson-cycle petrol engine and twin electric motors – the total system output is rated at 134 hp.

    Other safety features include those part of the Toyota Safety Sense, such as pre-collision system (autonomous emergency braking) with night time pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane tracing assist, road sign assist, active cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist, automatic high beam, seven airbags and a reversing camera. The Corolla also comes as standard with LED headlights, an upgraded infotainment system and an electric parking brake.

  • C8 Chevrolet Corvette could get electrification – report

    The first Corvette to go mid-engined after 67 years will also likely feature electrified powertrains in the not-too-distant future, Autocar has reported. This move could also include a fully electric version, though mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions are naturally higher up the likelihood ranks.

    “You would not look stupid if you said that,” a Corvette project member said in response to the suggestion of a battery-based starter motor mild hybrid, or a small motor to comprise an all-wheel-drive layout. The company is committed to a ‘0-0-0’ strategy of zero emissions, zero crashes and zero congestion, said General Motors president Mark Reuss.

    “All of the technology rolling into this vehicle is meant to support that. This platform can carry a lot of different things into the future for General Motors,” Reuss said in response to queries for future electrified Corvettes. Is a fully-electric version of the company’s famous sports car in the works? “We’ll see. Stay tuned,” Reuss said.

    Reuss also confirmed that the C8 Corvette will be made for right-hand-drive markets, compared to its predecessors which were predominantly for the US market. For starters, the C8-generation Corvette was launched in naturally aspirated, 6.2 litre V8 guise, producing 495 hp and 637 Nm of torque.

    This is transmitted to the rear axle via an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, featuring a short first ratio for quick launches and closely spaced intermediate ratios for acceleration. The outcome is a 0-97 km/h time of under three seconds with the Z51 Performance Package. Exciting times, when such figures come from a base model, and more potent versions are certainly in the works.

    GALLERY: C8 Chevrolet Corvette

  • GIIAS 2019: Honda HR-V Mugen, facelift gets kitted out

    The Honda HR-V Mugen was available in Malaysia as a limited edition in early 2018, and it’s reasonable to expect a Mugen edition of the facelifted HR-V down the line. Indonesia gets it now, and the kitted out HR-V minor change made its debut at the 2019 Gaikindo Indonesia International Auto Show.

    The HR-V Mugen is based on the 1.5L Special Edition available in Indonesia, which gets the B-segment SUV in 120 PS/145 Nm 1.5L and 139 PS/169 Nm 1.8L engines. The Mugen kit for the facelift is immediately more subtle than the pre-facelift at first glance – a thick silver bar marked out the old car, but the facelift comes with a thick chrome grille as standard.

    The changes are obvious on the lower end of the face, which comes with bumper extensions in grey and body colour. That’s matched with side skirts and rear bumper add-ons in the same grey tone. No change in wheels – the Mugen rides on the 1.5L SE’s 17-inch two-tone alloys with 215/55 tyres. There’s a decal with the famous Mugen logo and colours underlining the daylight opening, and small Mugen emblems on the front wings.

    Lastly, Indonesia’s HR-V Mugen is equipped with a shark fin antenna and a unique hooded rear spoiler in silver. The price is Rp 344 juta (RM101,375), which is Rp 10 juta (RM2,946) costlier than the car it’s based on. Sounds like a good deal for a striking, but still subtle aerokit package. And those horsepower-adding Mugen logos, of course!

    The bigger news for Honda at GIIAS was the debut of the new Accord, which comes in a single 1.5L VTEC Turbo variant priced at Rp 698 juta, which is equivalent to RM206,033. Check out what our neighbours get here.

    GALLERY: Pre-facelift Honda HR-V Mugen in Malaysia


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Last Updated 20 Jul 2019


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