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  • 2019 Chevrolet Silverado previewed ahead of debut

    The all-new, fourth-generation Chevrolet Silverado has been previewed for the first time at the Texas Motor Speedway, ahead of its Detroit debut next month. It is by far GM’s best-selling model and is “poised to change, really change, the face of trucks again,” says Alan Batey, president of GM’s North America operations.

    According to Automotive News, Batey says the new Silverado, which appears here in the new rugged Trailboss trim, will offer a wider variation of engine and transmission combinations. No details have been put forth thus far, but it’s worth noting that the previous-generation model comes with five petrol engines (one V6 and four V8s) and one diesel engine (the sole 6.6L Duramax V8). A choice of six-speed auto or eight-speed auto transmissions can be had, depending on the model.

    The report also states that the Silverado will be fitted with additional technology and convenience features as well, but again, nothing has been specified. One thing is clear though, General Motors (GM) says that the new Silverado will have a “significant reduction in total weight.” The outgoing model currently weighs between 2,130 kg for the Single Cab to 2,404 kg for the Crew Cab body style.

    Interestingly, the report also states that GM may eventually introduce a pick-up bed that’s made of carbon-fibre. Its body will incorporate use of a “stronger, roll-formed steel alloy for the bed and floor, contributing to a cargo box that is both lighter and even more functional than ever before.”

    As for this Silverado Trailboss, it wears some off-road items from the Z71 package, including a suspension lift system which raises ride height by up to 50.8 mm. Chevrolet says this has been fully tested and validated, and it even comes with manufacturer’s warranty, so customers need not resort to aftermarket solutions.

    GM’s chief engineer, Eric Stanczak says some of the improvements that will go into its next-generation pick-up trucks are based on owners’ recommendations and feedback. “We spend a ton of time listening to our customers, doing market research and taking that feedback and rolling it into the vehicle,” he explains to the publication prior to the unveiling.

    “If we are limited in terms of what we can update on the current architecture, we’re almost always putting those new features the customer’s asked for, or that new capability, or that improvement, into the next-generation,” he adds.

    The new Silverado and its GMC Sierra counterpart represent the biggest product program ever undertaken by GM, analysts say. Nearly USD $3 billion (RM12.25 billion) is being spent to upgrade factories in Michigan, Indiana and Mexico to build the next-generation duo.

  • BARU: Artikel terkini dalam Bahasa Malaysia

  • November 2017 Malaysia vehicle sales up 4.6% from Oct, 0.2% up year-on-year; YTD is 1.3% up from 2016

    The Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) has released sales data for November 2017, and it’s been a good month for the automotive industry in general, building on the strong performance seen in October.

    In total, as many as 49,184 vehicles were sold last month, marking a 4.6% or 2,143 unit increase from the 47,041 units pushed out in October; compared to November 2016, however, that figure is just 0.2% or 89 units up. Even so, a total of 521,907 new vehicles found homes in the first 11 months of the year, a jump of 1.3% or 6,655 units compared to the 515,252 units shifted during the same period last year.

    This increase has been attributed by MAA to year-end festive sales promotions, and has no doubt been buoyed by the launch of the new Perodua Myvi last month. The continuation of these deals, coupled with aggressive promotional campaigns by car companies, is expected to lead to an even stronger sales performance in December, according to MAA.

  • New workshops in industrial areas only – KL Minister

    Licenses for new workshop premises within Kuala Lumpur will only be issued to those operating within industrial areas, deputy federal territories minister Datuk Dr Loga Bala Mohan said in a Bernama report.

    “DBKL always monitors and takes action against car workshops which operate illegally, create nuisance to the public and cause pollution,” he said, adding that all applications will be screened by the Premise Licensing Committee which is made up of Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), Royal Malaysia Police, Companies Commission of Malaysia and the Fire and Rescue Department.

    There are 830 licenced car workshops in the city and this is still a small number in comparison with the number of registered vehicles in Kuala Lumpur, the deputy minister said.

  • 2018 Toyota Vellfire facelift official brochure leaked

    Here are official images of the yet to be launched Toyota Vellfire facelift, via leaked brochures. The current third-generation Alphard and second-generation Vellfire first surfaced in January 2015, so next month will mark three years of the luxury MPV being on the market – a perfect time for a facelift.

    The leaked brochures show two faces of the Vellfire, the sportier looking sister of the Alphard. The first is the regular Vellfire face, which is officially sold in Malaysia by UMW Toyota Motor (UMWT). The model’s signature split headlamps remain, but the grille in the middle has changed, mainly in the arrangement of the chrome slats and a slightly higher location for the logo.

    The lower half of the tall front now comes with a large bar of chrome linking the lower tier lamps. This contributes to a larger and bolder single grille than before. The fog lamps are now LEDs (along with the rest of the lighting, from the looks of it) and the housings are sharp triangles to make it a square face.

    The other face is of the Vellfire ZG, which is significantly bolder and more aggressive compared to the standard face. The bottom half of the fascia makes all the difference here, with a big upturned mouth sandwiched by giant side “air intakes” with horizontal slats in them (reminds me of the Mirai). The whole thing is outlined with thick chrome. You’ll see this thing coming, that’s for sure.

    The refreshed Vellfire also stands out from the outgoing car at the back, where the LED tail lamp signatures are now triple rings, bisected by a full-width chrome bar. The current car’s chrome garnish is shorter, and the LEDs are stripes. Vertical reflectors can be seen on the bumper, another change.

    The Alphard is also getting its own facelift, and the MPV twins will debut together shortly. Malaysia is now an established export market for selected JDM Toyotas, and we should be getting the refreshed luxury MPVs officially by UMWT in the near future.

    GALLERY: Pre-facelift Toyota Vellfire 2.5, Malaysian spec

  • DRIVEN: Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Sport Turismo – 462 PS 2.9L bi-turbo V6 plug-in hybrid, in M’sia 2018

    In the 1970s, Porsche for the first time attempted to build a luxury grand tourer; one that would sit at the very top of the company’s product line-up. A halo model of sorts. It had to be a luxury GT that’s easy to drive for long haul journeys, yet have enough power, poise and handling to be driven like a sports car.

    The result was a rather odd-looking 2+2 grand tourer coupe called the Porsche 928. Much like the Panamera today, the engine (water-cooled V8s, displacing between 4.5 to 5.4 litres) was mounted in front, with drive sent to the rear wheels, although all-wheel drive variations were later introduced. With an overall length of 4.5 metres, it was the longest car to bear the iconic crest of Stuttgart during its time. Sales proved to be encouraging, but not at the rate Porsche expected.

    Axed after an 18-year production run, the company once again undertook other endeavours to expand its portfolio, so came the Boxster in 1996, and Cayenne in 2002. Then in 2009, the first-generation Panamera was introduced, this time as a proper four-door saloon (or hatch, depending on how you see it) equipped with the latest toys, gadgets and technologies Porsche could offer. It was in spirit, a nod to the 928, albeit grown in every imaginable way.

    1992 Porsche 928 GTS

    Today, the Panamera lives life in second-generation guise, and much to everyone’s surprise, the Sport Turismo took the world by storm, five years after the concept was previewed in 2012 at the Paris motor show. Remember all the hullabaloo over how terribly whale-like its predecessor looked? Me neither.

    Objectively, the Panamera Sport Turismo is a real beauty both in pictures and in the metal, with many singing praises of its shooting brake styling that’s still inevitably and distinctly Porsche. Fans have been quick to set up camps, some preferring the Sport Turismo, some the saloon. I belong in neither, fancying both just as much, but when forced at gunpoint the needle will likely point in the direction of the former.

    The new design brings some practical benefits to the vehicle as well. The dimensions and wheelbase (5,049 mm long, 1,937 mm wide and 2,950 mm wheelbase) mirror its saloon brethren, but everything aft of the B-pillars is new. The raised roofline (up by five mm) grants rear occupants better headroom, and the steeply-raked D-pillars that blend into the taut shoulders lend a prominent visual unlike most shooting brakes today. And that silhouette? Yum.

    Read the full review here.

  • Biggest East Malaysia Honda 3S Centre opens in Miri

    The biggest Honda 3S centre in East Malaysia is now open in Miri, Sarawak. Operated by SYK RW Motor, it’s the seventh Honda dealership in the state. Three are in Kuching, two are in Miri, and Bintulu and Sibu have one outlet each.

    Honda Malaysia (HM) says that the opening of this 3S centre is timely, as the brand is growing in East Malaysia. From January to November 2017, EM sales stood at over 6,600 units, or about 7% of HM’s total sales of more than 98,200 units. Sarawak contributed more than 4,000 units or 60% of the sales in EM, and the BR-V is the most popular model there.

    “With the escalating customer base, there is an urgent need for HM to expand our dealership in order to serve these growing customers better by providing further convenience for them, including easy accessibility to Honda 3S centres. We would also like to reach more customers from different areas especially those residing in satellite towns and districts to enable them to experience the Joy of Buying,” said Toichi Ishiyama, HM’s MD and CEO.

    SYK RW Motor has 40 years of experience in the automotive industry, and has invested RM7 million into the 48,000 sq.ft facility. With 12 service bays including seven fast service ones, it can handle up to 40 cars a day.

    Besides the usual lounge, free WiFi, kids corner, surau and F&B; SYK RW Motor provides free car wash and insurance/road tax renewal services. It is located at Lot 1772, Block 10, Jalan Cahaya, Miri Concession Land District. To make an appointment, call 085-430 666.

  • Samson Motors Switchblade – first deliveries of flying car with 200 km/h on-ground speed set for end-2018

    Flying cars look like becoming the next fashion. It seems to be heading down that path, what with more joining the bandwagon. Airbus and Uber have signalled their intent to explore the route, and carmakers have also begun looking at this new form of hybridisation – earlier in the year, Toyota placed an investment in Cartivator and Geely acquired start-up company Terrafugia.

    There are also individual manufacturers, notably Slovakian company AeroMobil – its flying car design shown earlier this year will do 160 km/h with a range of around 700 km on the ground, or 750 km in the air with a maximum speed of 360 km/h. Now, here’s another, from an American concern called Samson Motors.

    Its offering is called the Switchblade, and it’s a two-seater, three-wheeled machine powered by a 190 hp 1.6 litre V4 engine. In flight mode, this drives a propeller at the rear, with extendable wings and tail performance specs deployed and stored in pocketknife fashion (hence the name).

    In a flight configuration, the Switchblade measures in at 6.3 metres long and 8.2 metres wide, while retracting the tail and folding in the wings for on-ground operation brings the vehicle’s footprint down to 5.1 metres long and 1.8 metres wide. On the road, a five-speed transmission is utilised to drive the wheels.

    Performance figures include a maximum airspeed of 305 km/h and a 724 km operating range, with a maximum ground speed of more than 200 km/h and a 0-100 km/h time of around 6.5 seconds. Mod cons include air-conditioning, adjustable leather seats and even a premium sound system, while safety kit includes road-going roll-over protection and a vehicle parachute, in case something unthinkable happens in the air.

    According to Robb Report, the Samson Switchblade is set to make its first public flight next year, and Samson Motors says it plans to begin first deliveries to customers by end-2018. The Switchblade is expected to retail for US$120,000 (RM490,000), but there’s a caveat (aside from having to have a private pilot’s licence, that is) – buyers will have to assemble it themselves. For an extra US$20,000 (RM81,700), Samson’s building assist programme eases that effort.

  • Proton dealers visit Geely dealership, research centre

    Next year, Proton is introducing a range of new models based on those of its new parent company Geely, and the national carmaker has recently urged its dealers and service centre operators to upgrade their facilities in preparation of this influx of new cars. To show them a possible way forward, the company invited its top dealers to China to study the operations of a Geely dealership in Shanghai.

    The trip involved 28 of Proton’s top sales and service centre owners, who were impressed with the success of Geely in its home country. Director of the LHM One Stop 4S outlet in Nilai, Ryan Lai, said that he was in awe with the level of customer service provided.

    “The service [centre] has a waiting lounge that does not look out of place in a five-star hotel! Usually, the atmosphere can only be experienced by European premium car owners but Geely is offering it to their customers,” he said.

    They were also given the opportunity to drive the Geely Boyue, which will be the basis of Proton’s first proper SUV that will be introduced at the end of next year. “I was sceptical at first but from the moment I sat inside the Boyue, I knew this is the right vehicle for Proton’s new image,” Lai said.

    “It has the right look and size and the interior quality really got me excited. The dashboard, door trim, leather seat and the equipment in the Boyue reminded me of my brother’s premium German SUV back in Malaysia. It was really that good,” he said, adding that the turbo engine and automatic gearbox was “very smooth.”

    Susan Leong from Hoi Keen Service in Kuantan said, “It has a luxurious interior and felt very premium for its segment.” Meanwhile, Datuk Shamshudin, who owns a 4S centre on Jalan Meru in Pantai Bahru, expressed his confidence in Proton and Geely, saying, “The synergy is there and the Boyue will definitely make a big impact in Malaysia.”

    The operators were also taken to the Geely Research Institute in Hangzhou Bay, to check out Geely’s current technology and future designs. During their time there, Shamsudin, Lai and Leong announced that their companies would be investing millions into expanding their Proton outlets.

    “This trip has really opened up our eyes to what Proton will achieve in the near future,” said Lai. “We will be investing in Proton brand because we have seen what the future is for Proton. It is bright.”

  • Top Secret’s 943 hp V12 Toyota Supra to go on auction

    Here’s one for the collection. The famous gold-painted Toyota Supra owned by Top Secret’s – a Japanese aftermarket tuning company – very own boss, Kazuhiko “Smokey” Nagata is set to hit the auction blocks next January at the Tokyo Auto Salon.

    This one’s no regular Supra. First of all, it wears a wide bodykit (manufactured by Top Secret, of course) which adds about 100 mm (and some say, 100 hp too) in width over the stock A80 Mk4 Supra, apparently reducing drag on the coupé at high speeds.

    Nagata’s insatiable need for speed led him to swap out the richly-acclaimed 2JZ-GTE straight-six stock motor for a V12 block sourced from a Toyota Century of its time. Then, he strapped on two turbochargers and a nitrous oxide system to produce a whopping 943 hp, all of which is sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission.

    But what does one do with so much power? Well, as a purported member of the Mid Night Club (an infamous street racing car club in Japan), Nagata notoriously piloted his golden Supra to hit 317 km/h (claimed) on the A1 M motorway in the UK. At four in the morning, in the rain.

    Arrested and banned from driving in the UK thereafter, the Top Secret Supra became the unofficial record holder for the fastest speed ever reached by a car on a public highway in Britain. Then in 2008, Nagata hit a top speed of 357.9 km/h at the Nardo high-speed circular test track in southern Italy.

    Should anyone be interested, the Supra-car (get it?) auction will take place at the 2018 Tokyo Auto Salon, which is set to happen from 12 to 14 January. It’ll surely be attracting keen buyers/bidders from all over the world, so better get that bank draft ready, folks.

  • Next-gen Subaru WRX due in 2020 – electrification can’t be avoided, but driving pleasure not forgotten

    Nothing can escape electrification these days, and that includes the Subaru WRX. Autocar reports that the next-generation WRX, which is due in 2020, will have electric boost and much of the Viziv Performance Concept’s looks. It will also be a “driver’s car”.

    Subaru design chief Mamoru Ishii told the UK car mag that the Viziv Performance Concept from the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show has received good feedback, suggesting he has confidence in leaving much of the showcar’s aggressive looks unchanged for the production next-gen WRX.

    “Such a car brings lots of expectation, from within the company and from our customers. What we know is that our customers’ lifestyles are changing and we have to respond to that. The question was whether we have done that in a correct way with this concept,” Ishii said.

    “For instance, we know that autonomous and connective technology are coming, and for many customers that is great, but we don’t think that is what all of our customers want. For some, driving pleasure is still very important and that is what we are exploring,” he added.

    Ishii explained that he would like to see Viziv Performance design themes such as the taut body shape offset by cues such as the (angular) wheel arches and bonnet scoop – elements that he considers part of Subaru’s DNA – make it to production. “We have built up this tradition with the Legacy, Impreza and WRX. We want it to look fast even when it is parked,” he said.

    Subaru’s boxer engine and symmetrical all-wheel drive are twin trademarks, but only AWD is non-negotiable. “Four-wheel drive is critical to the power and performance levels our customers expect, but on the engine we have more freedom,” he said. The Subaru Global Platform that underpins the current Impreza and XV was designed to accommodate hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric powertrains as well as regular petrol boxers.

    GALLERY: Subaru Viziv Performance Concept


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Last Updated 14 Dec 2017


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