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  • Malaysia vehicle sales data for February 2018 by brand

    February has traditionally been a weak month for vehicle sales in general – besides offering a shorter window of opportunity, that for 2018 also had Chinese New Year smack in the middle of it this year, and so the holiday period added to what turned out to be a sluggish month. With just 40,578 vehicles being registered, sales for the month dropped by 9% (or 3,997 units) compared to January.

    Here’s a quick breakdown of how most brands performed last month. Nine of the top 10 registered lower sales numbers in February, a good indication of how things were. Brands that saw a drop in numbers included market leader Perodua (-3.1%), Honda (-14.0%), Proton (-19.4%), Nissan (-35.2%), Mazda (-22.0%), Hyundai (-34.1%) and Renault (-42.4%)

    Not every company had cause to complain – of the top 10, Toyota was the only one to register an increase (+11.1%) in numbers last month compared to January, and Ford (+9.1%) and Kia (+19.9%) also managed to do very well.

    It was also a soft month for premium segment leaders Mercedes (-0.4%) and BMW (-3.0%), along with Volvo (-10.1%), but there was a lot of cheer for Lexus, which saw sales climb by 110%, as well as Audi, which registered a 33.3% sales increase last month. Porsche also had a good February, with registrations climbing by 28.1%.

    Click on the chart below to view a larger version.

  • BARU: Artikel terkini dalam Bahasa Malaysia

  • Ford UK takes orders for Fiesta Active – from RM98k

    The seventh-generation Ford Fiesta made its world debut back in November 2016, and one of the most interesting variants besides the row-your-own ST is the higher-riding Fiesta Active. Ford UK has finally started taking orders for it, and prices start from 17,790 British pounds (RM98k).

    Three variants – Active 1, Active B&O Play and Active X – of the Fiesta Active form the model line-up, each sporting a rugged styling kit with Active badging and styling cues, rough-road suspension with increased ride height, roof rails, front fog lights and 17-inch five-spoke alloy wheels.

    On the outside, the Fiesta Active B&O Play differentiates itself with sportier black highlights on the roof, roof rails and side mirrors caps. All variants can be had in a range of striking colours, but the optional two-part panoramic sliding roof is only available for the Active 1 and Active X.

    Inside, the Active B&O Play gets a yellow themed cabin with additional features such as cruise control, rain sensing wipers, auto-dimming rear view mirror, a centre console with armrest and illuminated cup holders. Also on are items like the 4.2-inch display in the instrument cluster with traffic sign recognition and 10-speaker B&O Play premium audio system with 360-degree sound.

    Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system (with eight-inch touchscreen display) with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support is standard for all models, but only the top-of-the-line Active X variant gets GPS navigation system with DAB radio. It also gains the KeyFree system with keyless entry/start and a rear-view camera with rear parking sensors.

    Customers can choose between a three-cylinder direct injection 1.0 litre EcoBoost engine with four different outputs – 85 PS, 100 PS, 125 PS and 140 PS (CO2 emissions from 105 g/km), and the motor is paired with a new six-speed manual gearbox. A 1.5 litre TDCi turbodiesel is also offered, outputting 85 PS or 120 PS. Engine start-stop tech and Active Grille Shutter are standard.

    There are three selectable drive modes: Eco, Normal and Slippery, while rough-terrain capabilities are enhanced by the adoption of Ford’s Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) with Hill Start Assist. For manual versions, the car comes with a new Eco button which adjusts engine and throttle mappings to help drivers save even more fuel.

    Lastly, safety. All models feature six airbags with front and rear seatbelt pre-tensioners as standard. Also on is the usual suite of safety – ABS with EBD, ESC and more. Again, the Fiesta Active 1 is priced from 17,790 pounds (RM98k), B&O Play from 19,190 pounds (RM106k) and Active X from 20,290 pounds (RM112k).

  • VIDEO: All-new 2019 Volkswagen Touareg teased again

    The next-generation Volkswagen Touareg has been teased in video again, this time shorn of its remaining camouflage from its last on-screen outing. More visuals have been released in footage ahead of its global launch this week, and the undisguised form confirms that the large SUV wears a design language alike that on its Tiguan and Atlas stablemates.

    The VW Group’s MLB Evo underpinnings will form the basis of the new Touareg, as it does on the like of the Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne, Lamborghini Urus and Bentley Bentayga. The provision for a 48 V electrical architecture enables the use of technology such as rear-wheel steering and the latest in air suspension, though exact details will be known in due course.

    Said technology will help the Touareg attain Volkswagen’s goal of pushing the large SUV further upmarket, where the aforementioned features will also be joined by the Innovision Cockpit, a new type of infotainment system. Upon launch, the next-generation Volkswagen Touareg can be expected to debut with a selection of petrol and diesel powertrains, while a plug-in hybrid version has also been tipped to join the model range.

    The PHEV in question is likely to feature a powerplant related to the one in the T-Prime Concept GTE show car , which is the pairing of a 2.0 litre TSI engine with 248 hp/370 Nm with a 134 hp/350 Nm electric motor, built into an eight-speed transmission with integrated LSD; total system output from the concept was 375 hp and 700 Nm, with 50 km of all-electric range.

    GALLERY: 2019 Volkswagen Touareg teaser

  • VIDEO: New 8.0″ Discover Media on 2018 VW Tiguan

    Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia has quietly rolled out an update for the Tiguan Comfortline, Tiguan Highline and Passat Highline, with all three models receiving a brand new infotainment system taken from the company’s MIB infotainment family.

    This video details the new eight-inch Discover Media which equips the Tiguan Highline and Passat Highline. The Tiguan Comfortline, on the other hand, gets a Composition Media system that also measures eight-inch in size. The difference between the two is that Composition Media doesn’t come with integrated GPS navigation and a reverse camera, both of which are standard with the Discover Media.

    As you can tell, the submenu buttons on each side of the display are gone (giving it a bezel-less look) and are replaced by touch-sensitive panels. It’s quick and mighty responsive as well, with great clarity and legibility in all lighting conditions. App-Connect, which grants Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink functionalities, is now standard for both the Discover Media and Composition Media units (previously a RM1,099 option for the Highline).

    This upgrade comes at no cost, so the Tiguan 1.4 TSI Highline still retails for RM169,578, and the Tiguan 1.4 TSI Comfortline is priced at RM149,578. Watch the video to see exactly how it works, and share with us your thoughts in the comments section below. For a more detailed look at the Tiguan’s equipment and specifications, head over to

  • Audi Q8 to officially debut in Shanghai in June – next-gen Q3 and A1, plug-in hybrid A8 and Q5 on the way

    Audi recently concluded its annual press conference in Ingolstadt just a few days ago, where it laid out some of its plans for 2018 and beyond. According to Rupert Stadler, chairman of the board of management of Audi, the carmaker will “continue the biggest model initiative in its history in 2018,” which was kickstarted by the debut of the all-new A8 and A7 Sportback.

    This year already saw the reveal of the latest A6, which features the brand’s 48 V mild hybrid technology like its other four-door siblings. Later in the year, the A6 Sedan will be joined by Avant and allroad quattro version later in the year. In other sedan-related news, the A8 line-up will be expanded to include e-tron plug-in hybrid and W12-powered variants.

    Next up is the Q8, a model that was first previewed by the similarly-named concept near the start of 2017 (and the Q8 sport concept later one). The big SUV has already been sighted in prototype form on numerous occasions, and will celebrate its global premiere in Shanghai in June this year.

    The second-generation Q3 was also mentioned, which will replace the current model that first entered production in 2011. The carmaker says the compact SUV is one of its growth drivers especially in markets like China and America, and expects the new one to replicate the success.

    Other models in the pipeline, which may or may not be launched in 2018, include the SQ2, a high-performance version of the Q2. For the Chinese market, the Q2 and Q5 will both be offered as long-wheelbase versions. It’s clear Audi is going big with SUVs, as it wants every other Audi delivered to a customer to be an SUV by 2025.

    To attract younger customers, there will be a new generation for the A1, the brand’s supermini model that first broke cover in 2010. As with other upcoming Audi models, there have been numerous sightings of the new A1, which is said to ride on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform (shared with the Seat Ibiza and Volkswagen Polo).

    Electrification will also be a major focus for Audi, and aside from the above-mentioned A8 e-tron, the carmaker will also introduce the plug-in hybrid Q5 e-tron. Lest we forget, Audi’s first production car with fully electric drive, previewed by e-tron SUV prototypes, will debut later in August. “The first five electric cars from our brand will include two sports utility vehicles and two sports activity vehicles,” said Peter Mertens, member of the board of management of Audi AG.

  • 2018 Maserati Ghibli facelift debuts in Malaysia – in standard, GranSport and GranLusso, from RM619k

    Naza Italia has officially introduced the 2018 Maserati Ghibli and Ghibli S in Malaysia, and the facelifted M157 – which made its debut last year – goes on sale here in a number of variant forms. The update brings along two new trims, GranLusso and GranSport, on top of the standard versions of the saloon.

    The facelift adds on a revamped front end which now features a larger grille, its ‘sharknose’ profile inspired by the Alfieri concept and facelifted GranTurismo. The base Ghibli and Ghibli GranLusso share the same external design features, while the Ghibli GranSport features differently styled front/rear bumpers. Elsewhere, the lower air intake has also been redesigned, and features chrome inserts on the GranLusso model.

    While the headlights have maintained the same contour, new adaptive full LED headlights find their way on to the GranLusso and GranSport variants (the standard car is equipped with bi-xenon units). Along the sides, the side skirts are now body-coloured, and new badging on the front fenders indicates the variant designation, while at the back, there’s a sharper-looking body-coloured diffuser.

    External styling elements on the GranLusso include chrome inserts on the front bumper, a GranLusso badge at the base of the front wing, body-colour side skirts, silver brake calipers and 20-inch Urano Diamond alloy wheels.

    Inside, an Ermenegildo Zegna Silk interior – in combination with Ebano wood trim – introduces patented mulberry silk inserts on the seats, doors panels, roof lining and ceiling light fixture. Other features include an ebony wood-finished leather steering wheel, comfort seats with extensive 12-way power adjustment as standard as well as power-adjustable foot pedals and new soft-close doors, among other things.

    As for the GranSport, exterior bits include black piano inserts on its dedicated front bumper, a GranSport badge on the front wing, blue inserts on all Trident and Saetta logos, red brake calipers and 21-inch Titano Anthracite alloy wheels. Inside, tte variant gets sport 12-way powered, full leather seats and a sport steering wheel, with paddle shifts and Inox sport foot pedals fitted as standard.

    Both the standard Ghibli and Ghibli GranSport can be further customised with an exterior carbon package, which adds on a healthy dollop of carbon-fibre trim. On the base car, CF bits feature on the external door mirrors, B- and C-pillar covers and door handles, while the GranSport adds on to this with additional front splitter and rear spoiler CF elements.

    No change in output in the standard Ghibli – the 3.0 litre twin-turbo V6 engine, paired with a ZF HP70 eight-speed automatic transmission, continues on with the hiked 350 PS at 5,500 rpm and 500 Nm at 4,500 rpm introduced in 2016 as part of the car’s 2017 model year update. Performance figures include a 0-100 km/h time of 5.5 seconds and a 267 km/h top speed.

    The Ghibli S, however, gets a power bump with the refresh. Output numbers are now 430 PS at 5,750 rpm and 580 Nm from 2,250 to 4,000 rpm, 20 Hp and 30 Nm more than the 2017 car. The increased power output shaves off a whisker in the Ghibli S’ 0-100 km/h time, now 4.9 seconds compared to the previous 5.0 seconds, and top speed has also gone up a shade to 286 km/h from the 285 km/h before.

    Finally, pricing. That for the Ghibli starts from RM618,800 (inclusive of taxes and duties) for the standard model, while the Ghibli GranLusso and GranSport go for RM668,800.

    As for the Ghibli S, pricing starts at RM718,800 for the base model, while that for the GranLusso and GranSport versions of the Ghibli S begin from RM768,800.

    All the Maserati Ghibli models come with a five-year, unlimited mileage standard warranty coverage along with a free five-year/100,000 km maintenance programme (inclusive of a three-year/60,000 km Maserati Premium Service Plus package).

    GALLERY: 2018 Maserati Ghibli GranLusso

    GALLERY: 2018 Maserati Ghibli GranSport

  • Toyota reveals world’s first flexible-fuel hybrid vehicle

    Toyota is presenting a prototype of the world’s first hybrid flexible-fuel vehicle (hybrid FFV) in Sao Paulo, Brazil, which it hopes will become commercially available in the future. The prototype uses a Prius as a base model, and will undergo plenty of real-world road testing in Brazil to evaluate the system’s reliability, durability and powertrain performance.

    According to Toyota, a hybrid FFV has the potential to reduce total CO2 emissions by leveraging on the benefits of its hybrid system (high energy efficiency and low emission levels) and the CO2 reabsorption capacity of ethanol, a plant-derived 100% renewable fuel. Being a flexible-fuel system, the powertrain can also use regular petrol should ethanol not be available.

    Initial studies indicate a hybrid FFV offers better environmental performance compared to a standard FFV. This is according to CO2 emissions starting with the extraction of the raw material, through its distribution at the fuel pumps to the ignition in the combustion process of the car. These results are further improved when using only sugarcane-based ethanol (E100 fuel).

    Development of the hybrid FFV is one of several efforts by Toyota to achieve its “Environmental Challenge 2050,” where it is looking to reduce vehicle CO2 emissions by 90% in comparison with 2010 levels, by 2050. Another objective of the Environmental Challenge is to completely eliminate CO2 emissions from the vehicle lifecycle, including materials, parts and manufacturing.

    “I am very proud of our Toyota do Brasil engineers that worked closely with our engineers in Japan to develop the world’s cleanest hybrid vehicle that uses ethanol for our Brazilian customers. The invention demonstrates our journey in providing a new mobility society,” said Steve St. Angelo, senior managing officer of Toyota Motor serving as CEO of Toyota Latin America Region and Caribbean, as well as chairman of Toyota do Brasil.

  • Mercedes-Benz to invest 100m euros in Thailand – ASEAN’s first PHEV battery plant, factory expansion

    Mercedes-Benz, together with local partner Thonburi Automotive Assembly Plant (TAAP), will invest over 100 million euros (RM483 million) in production operations in Thailand until 2020. The investment will go into the extension of an existing car plant in Samut Prakan and a new hybrid battery assembly plant in the area. The investment will create over 300 additional jobs.

    The 48,000 square metre hybrid battery factory will be the first of its kind in Thailand and the sixth facility for Daimler across the globe. There are three of such battery plants in Germany and one each in the US and China. It will also be the first hybrid battery production site in ASEAN.

    “The electric initiative in the flexible and efficient global production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars is progressing well and with ultimate speed. As part of our strategy, we are now preparing for the future of electromobility in Thailand together with our partner TAAP,” said Markus Schafer, member of the divisional board of management, Mercedes-Benz Cars production and supply chain.

    “With our highly standardised and scalable battery production concept we are able to start operations in any region at short notice and at the right size,” he added.

    Local production of the lithium-ion batteries will start by 2019. “All locally-assembled batteries will serve Mercedes-Benz’s PHEVs in the local market and we can beef up our capacity once local demand expands,” said Andreas Lettner, CEO of Mercedes-Benz Manufacturing Thailand.

    TAAP, which started assembling Mercedes-Benz since the W123, currently rolls out the C, E, S, GLE, GLA, CLA, GLC, GLC Coupe and C-Class Coupe models; and part of the investment will result in a “substantial increase in the production portfolio, adding new models.”

    Last year, the premium brand achieved double-digit growth and its highest ever sales in Thailand, with 14,484 units sold. Thai-assembled PHEVs – the C 350e, E 350e, S 500e and GLE 500e SUV – accounted for 40% of total sales.

    In January, president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Thailand Michael Grewe announced that the company had applied for Thailand Board of Investment (BoI) privileges for both PHEV and full EV categories. Fellow German premium brand BMW, which also assembles and sells PHEVs in Thailand, has similar plans to localise hybrid battery production. BMW’s battery plant is also scheduled to come online next year.

    Thailand has of late put in efforts to attract carmakers to build green cars such as hybrids, PHEVs and EVs in the country. Last year, the BoI approved promotional privileges for carmakers. Market leader Toyota was the first to apply for and receive the BoI privileges under the hybrid category, and it will be the first to roll out a new model under the scheme with the Toyota C-HR Hybrid this month.

  • Bentley Bentayga gains biometric security stowage

    You’re an individual with a high net worth and you drive a Bentley Bentayga. Naturally, you have quite a number of valuables (wallet, watch, etc.) with you on your daily commute, but what if you need to leave those items while at the beach, on the ski slope or when handing over your car to a valet?

    Well, Bentley has introduced a new solution courtesy of its bespoke division, Mulliner, which aims to provide a greater peace of mind for customers. For its first-ever SUV, the carmaker is offering a biometric security stowage unit that employs fingerprint sensor technology.

    Located in the centre console is a high pressure die-cast aluminium stowage unit, which is both discreet and unobtrusive. Those familiar with biometric identification in smartphones should be pretty familiar with how the secure stowage unit functions. Owners will be able to store multiple fingerprints, allowing them to control who has access to their valuables.

    To expand its functionality, the stowage unit also comes with two USB ports and an auxiliary socket for connecting and charging mobile devices both inside and outside of the unit, enabling occupants to access the Bentayga’s infotainment system, including Apple CarPlay.

  • Mitsubishi Colt may be revived – Renault engine/tech?

    It appears that Mitsubishi is seriously considering making a small supermini within the next five years, a move that could see the revival of the iconic Colt moniker. According to Autocar, the company’s European sales and marketing boss Guillaume Cartier said the brand “is working on” such a car, but a decision is not yet finalised.

    “It’s a question of what is needed,” adding that a model must sell at least 100,000 units globally for the project to be justified. The basis for this consideration comes from Mitsubishi’s recent alliance with Renault-Nissan, said Cartier.

    Like any giant automotive conglomerates, the sharing of technologies and platforms help save manufacturers a lot of money. Now that Mitsubishi is part of the world’s largest auto group, it will have access to a more diverse range of architecture, such as the CMF-B platform. In other words, there would be many economics of scale to justify the model.

    The new fifth-generation Clio is set to debut later this year, and it will ride on an improved modular CMF-B platform. If all goes well, Mitsubishi’s new supermini will also be built on the same platform, which also means it could potentially be fitted with Renault’s 0.9 litre or 1.3 litre turbo engines.

    When talking about potential names for the car, Cartier told the British publication that there were three iconic names for Mitsubishi – Pajero, Lancer and Colt, and added that the Colt would definitely be a consideration for this car. “When we have this association [of an iconic name], we must make sure the car’s personality suits it,” said Cartier.

    Speaking at the Geneva motor show, Cartier confirmed that there would be no all-new models from Mitsubishi before 2020. Instead, the company believes its existing line-up of the ASX, Eclipse Cross, Outlander, Pajero and Triton pick-up truck offer a good breadth of options for car buyers.

    Now, besides the Colt, Mitsubishi also hinted that the Lancer could be replaced in the future. The next-generation Nissan NP300 Navara and Mitsubishi Triton, due around 2021, could also be jointly-developed. Will this make Mitsubishi great again? What do you think?


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Last Updated 15 Mar 2018


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