Latest Stories

  • GALLERY: Honda 1 Million Edition models – City, Jazz, Civic, Accord, BR-V, CR-V, HR-V one-offs in detail

    Honda Malaysia is counting down to its one millionth vehicle produced locally since its establishment in 2001, celebrating the milestone with its 1 Million Dreams Campaign, which gives Malaysians a chance to drive home one of seven special edition models for free.

    The one-off models that are being given away in the ongoing campaign are specially designed with unique exterior and interior touches. On the outside, they are all dressed in white with a black roof, accented with red highlights on the front fascia, gloss black door mirrors and black wheels. Each vehicle also wears a “1 Million Dreams” signature emblem on their front fenders.

    Inside, the cars will feature “1 Million Dreams” embossed leather front headrests as well as a leather steering wheel with red stitching and 12 o’clock marker, and each will also come with a special edition leather key pouch.

    There are quite a few avenues to win one of these models. Booking and registering a new Honda during the 1 Million Dreams March Special gives you the best opportunity to win one of three special edition models, with three and four entries respectively. The entries increase fivefold to 15 and 20 respectively for users of the HondaTouch app.

    You can also gain entries by downloading the app and signing up, playing the 1 Million Dreams Quiz game on the official website, test driving a Honda and servicing your Honda at authorised dealers. Those entries can be submitted via either the dealers or the website.

    Beyond that, Honda has also partnered up with Cuckoo, Shopee and Watsons to offer their customers a chance to win one of the special edition models. Customers who purchase selected Beyond Standard Cuckoo products or the new A-Series mattress will be in the running to get the City 1 Million Edition, while those who play the Shopee Lucky Prize game on the Shopee app will stand a chance to win a HR-V 1 Million Edition.

    Elsewhere, Watsons members who spend a minimum of RM50 in a single receipt will also be entered to win the BR-V 1 Million Edition. The seventh vehicle has been reserved for frontliners – they will have a specially-allocated unit for them to win, as recognition of their efforts during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The campaign will also see one million Shopee coins being given out to 150 weekly winners, and throughout the entire campaign, there will be prizes worth five million Shopee coins to be won.

    Honda Malaysia will announce the lucky winners of the 1 Million Edition cars at a grand finale event in late March. For more information on the 1 Million Dreams Campaign, customers can log on to the official website or visit any of the 102 Honda authorised dealerships nationwide. You can also call Honda Malaysia’s toll-free number at 1-800-88-2020.

    GALLERY: Honda City 1 Million Edition

    GALLERY: Honda Jazz 1 Million Edition

    GALLERY: Honda Civic 1 Million Edition

    GALLERY: Honda Accord 1 Million Edition

    GALLERY: Honda CR-V 1 Million Edition

    GALLERY: Honda HR-V 1 Million Edition

    GALLERY: Honda BR-V 1 Million Edition

     
  • Volkswagen Project Trinity electric sedan – Level 4 autonomy, greater range, faster charging, due 2026

    In case you haven’t heard, Volkswagen is going all in on electric vehicles – it has a pair of dedicated ID. EVs on sale and will flesh out the lineup into a full range of hatchbacks, sedans, wagons, SUVs and even a van. But the company is already looking ahead at the next generation and has begun teasing a new sedan tentatively called Project Trinity, promising a huge leap forward from its current offerings.

    Wolfsburg says the car will set new standards in “range, charging speed and digitalisation”, including the ability to drive with near-full autonomy. But don’t hold your breath for the car to arrive in showrooms soon – it’s only set to enter production a full five years from now, in 2026.

    What’s more, the Trinity will only feature Level 2+ semi-autonomous driving capability at launch, although it will have the technology required for Level 4 autonomous driving. We’re assuming that the company will enable the functionality once it is certified by local authorities.

    “We are using our economies of scale to make autonomous driving available to many people and to build a learning neural network. In this way, we are creating the conditions for the continuous exchange of data from our vehicle fleet – for example, on the traffic situation, on obstacles or on accidents,” said Volkswagen brand CEO Ralf Brandstätter.

    Volkswagen ID. Vizzion concept

    The technology, he added, will save time and reduce stress by driving users to their vacation or their home after work, letting them arrive relaxed. “Trinity therefore becomes a kind of ‘time machine’ for our customers.”

    According to VW, the car will also save time when it comes to charging – a new vehicle architecture will ensure that the Trinity’s battery will be able to be juiced up “as fast as refuelling.” Brandstätter said that the car is “a sort of crystallisation point for our Accelerate strategy, a lighthouse project, our software dream car.”

    The Trinity name stands for the three crucial components of the project – a new electronics platform and software, a simplified supply structure and a fully-networked intelligent production process at the Wolfsburg plant. “We will completely rethink the way we build cars and introduce revolutionary approaches. Digitalisation, automation and lightweight construction play an important role here,” Brandstätter said.

    Apparently, the company’s future models will be available with fewer variants and largely standardised hardware. They will have virtually every piece of kit fitted, with customers able to activate those functions on demand via the car’s digital ecosystem, reducing production complexity. This mirrors the approach taken by BMW, which allows customers to unlock various features through the ConnectedDrive Store.

    Volkswagen ID. Vizzion concept

    In effect, VW is turning its cars into software-based products, enabling it to generate revenue through data-based methods. The company will lower prices for its vehicles and offer attractive usage packages; in return, it will generate additional income through the car’s usage, either via charging and energy services, for software functions or for autonomous driving features.

    “In the future, the individual configuration of the vehicle will no longer be determined by the hardware at the time of purchase. Instead, customers will be able to add functions on demand at any time via the digital ecosystem in the car,” Brandstätter said.

    The Project Trinity will be preceded by another sedan, a production version of the ID. Vizzion concept from 2018. That car is expected to arrive sometime next year and will spawn a wagon version based on the ID. Space Vizzion concept. Like the rest of the ID. range, it will be based on the modular MEB platform.

     

  • SPYSHOTS: Next Citroen C5 becomes a crossover

    The Citroen C5 will take the form of a fastback crossover, as depicted in these images by our spy photographer sources, leaving behind the three-box sedan shape from the last decade.

    Here, the lifted form of the next-generation C5 will be underpinned by the Groupe PSA EMP2 platform that also forms the basis of the Peugeot 508. Specific details are thin on the ground for now, though the sharing of the EMP2 platform means that the forthcoming C5 will enable the use of plug-in hybrid variants.

    The most powerful currently on sale from the automaker group currently powers the 508 PSE with 360 hp and 520 Nm of torque from a 200 PS/300 Nm 1.6 litre direct-injection turbo petrol engine, mated with a front and a rear electric motor making 110 hp/320 Nm and 113 hp/166 Nm, respectively.

    In 2018, Citroen said that it would ‘revitalise’ the saloon styling of next-generation C5. These spy images revealed the overall silhouette of the forthcoming model, though the finer details could possibly come from the CXperience concept.

    While interior details have yet to be revealed, we could have an educated guess as to what it might not have. The design study was to show that the automaker could execute a large vehicle design without traditional cues such as leather, wood and chrome, said Citroen product director, Xavier Peugeot at the time.

    Though camouflage foil still covers most of the car, the body panels and lights on the forthcoming C5 appear largely to be in production form, and thus our spy photographer sources estimate that the fastback crossover successor to the outgoing sedan may debut towards the end of April.

     
  • Porsche agrees to increase stake in Rimac to 24%

    Porsche has announced that it will increase its stake in Rimac to 24%, with the capital increase valued at around 70 million euros (RM341 million). This is the third cash injection into the Croatian company following an initial acquisition of a 10% stake in 2018, which was later increased to 15.5% in 2019.

    “Rimac is excellently positioned in prototype solutions and small series,” said Lutz Meschke, deputy chairman of the executive board and member of the executive board for finance and IT at Porsche AG.

    “Mate Rimac and his team are important partners, especially when it comes to supporting us in the development of components. Rimac is well on its way to becoming a tier one supplier for Porsche and other manufacturers in the high-tech segment. Porsche has already placed its first orders with Rimac for the development of highly innovative series components,” he added.

    “Porsche has been a big supporter of our company since 2018, and it has always been a privilege to have one of the world’s most iconic sports car brands be a part of Rimac,” commented company founder Mate Rimac.

    “We’re proud to work together on exciting new electrified products. With many car manufacturers across the world being Rimac customers, it is important, both for Rimac and Porsche, that we remain an entirely independent business. The partnership with Porsche helps the company develop and grow which is beneficial for all of our customers,” he continued.

    The Croatian carmaker is in the midst of readying the C_Two, which is the follow-up to the Concept One, with deliveries set to begin this year after being delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Since Porsche’s first investment in 2018, the company’s workforce has doubled to nearly 1,000 people. Besides Porsche, the company also works with a number of other car brands, including Hyundai, Kia, Aston Martin, Automobili Pininfarina, Koenigsegg and many more.

     
  • India looking to lure Tesla to set up assembly base with cheaper production costs compared to China

    India’s transport minister Nitin Gadkari has said that the country is willing to provide incentives to ensure Tesla’s cost of production is less than in China, if the carmaker commits to building its EVs in the second most populous country in the world.

    “Rather than assembling [the cars] in India they should make the entire product in the country by hiring local vendors. Then we can give higher concessions,” Gadkari said in an interview with Reuters.

    “The government will make sure the production cost for Tesla will be the lowest when compared with the world, even China, when they start manufacturing their cars in India. We will assure that,” he added.

    The bold offer comes several weeks after Tesla registered a company in India earlier this year, with the company expected to begin sales by mid-2021. The Model 3 will reportedly be the brand’s first offering in the country, which will arrive as a fully-imported model. Gadkari has previously said that Tesla will only consider local assembly and manufacturing based on buyers’ response to its cars.

    India is aiming to curb pollution in its major cities as well as to boost local manufacturing of EVs, batteries and other components. By having Tesla (and other potential carmakers onboard), the huge market could see an increase in EV uptake in the country and become a major export hub, especially with about 80% of components for lithium-ion batteries being made locally now.

    However, there are some issues that India must first deal with to convince Tesla to make its car there, as the country’s EV market is immensely small, with just 5,000 out of 2.4 million cars sold last year being fully electric. The high pricing of EVs and poor charging infrastructure are said to be the reasons for the low demand.

    By comparison, Tesla already has a production plant in Shanghai, China (Gigafactory 3), and the country recorded 1.25 million new energy vehicles – including EVs – sold in 2020 out of total sales of 20 million, accounting for more than a third of Tesla’s global sales.

    China also has a comprehensive EV policy that mandates companies to invest in the sector, while India is still working on finalising the details of a production-linked incentive scheme for automotive and component makers, as well as for setting up advanced battery manufacturing units.

    A recent tightening of emission regulations last year for carmakers is a step forward for India, and the country is looking to enforce stricter fuel efficiency rules from April 2022, which could compel brands to add electric or hybrid vehicles to their line-ups.

     
  • Volkswagen ID.4 GTX to arrive in first half of 2021; Golf, Tiguan, Passat, T-Roc model ranges to continue

    In January, Volkswagen has announced that it will be unveiling the ID.4 GTX this year, though now we have a more definite timeline for its arrival; the higher performance variant of its fully electric SUV will be making its debut in the first half of this year, the German automaker said in a statement.

    This is part of its Accelerate strategy that aims to grow its battery-electric vehicle sales to become 70% of all vehicle sales in Europe or double its previous target of 35% by 2030, while it also aims to grow EV sales to comprise 50% of all vehicle sales in the United States and China markets in the same timeframe.

    To achieve this, the German automaker plans to roll out ‘at least’ one new battery-electric vehicle every year, and this year will in fact have two models lined up; the second will be the sleeker-roofed Volkswagen ID.5, which is planned for a debut in the second half of this year.

    Specifications of the ID.4 GTX were not revealed, though Volkswagen did confirm that the EV SUV will be all-wheel-drive, suggesting that the GTX variant will bring the dual-motor powertrain that has been rumoured earlier. This will supplement the standard, 204 PS/310 Nm single-motor setup in the ID.4 with a 102 PS/140 Nm motor on the front axle for a total system output of 306 PS.

    These will be joined by the ID.6X/Crozz for the Chinese market, and this is due to be launched in the Northern Hemisphere autumn of this year. Meanwhile, plans for a fully electric model to be positioned below the ID.3 have been postponed by two years, and this will only arrive no sooner than 2025, says Volkswagen.

    The base single-motor powertrain in the ID.4 is adopted from the ID.3 hatchback, with the sharing of parts enabled by the use of the electric drive matrix (MEB) architecture that will underpin the German automaker’s ground-up battery electric vehicles.

    Volkswagen Project Trinity design preview

    Development of internal combustion models will continue, says Volkswagen, adding that all core model lines including the Golf, Tiguan, Passat, Tayron and T-Roc will be followed up with a successor each.

    “We will still need combustion engines for a while, but they should be as efficient as possible, which is why the next generation of our core products – all of which are world models – will also be fitted with the latest generation of plug-in hybrid technology, with an electric range of up to 100 km,” said CEO Ralf Brandstätter.

    Volkswagen also released the first design preview for Project Trinity, a fastback-shaped fully electric sedan that will set new standards for battery range, charging times and digitisation, in addition to preparation for Level 4 autonomous driving, said the automaker.

    Project Trinity will herald a range of future products that will be produced with ‘considerably fewer variants’, says Volkswagen, with its hardware largely standardised as the automaker goes in the direction of developing the automobile as a software-based product, it said.

     
  • Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia launches online showroom

    Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia (MMM) has launched its online showroom, which offers customers the ability to research or purchase a Mitsubishi vehicle via the digital route. The Mitsubishi online showroom follows the same fundamental processes of a traditional car-buying experience, but alters some of these steps into a virtual experience, saving you the hassle of going to a physical outlet.

    Viewing a vehicle can be done in a virtual showroom, which offers a 360-degree view of a car’s exterior and interior and also allows viewers to zoom in and out and navigate in every direction. Each of the Mitsubishi vehicles on display has a clickable interactive button to instantly show more information about the car and its key features. Besides a 360-degree view, the online showroom also features a gallery, which showcases more images of a vehicle at various angles.

    Once you’ve decided on a model, the next step is to test drive it, and this can be carried out from the comfort of your own home, via the Test Drive 2U online service. Introduced in May last year, the test drive will see an authorised dealer bringing the selected Mitsubishi vehicle to your preferred location. A test drive booking can be made by following a few simple steps in the online showroom page.

    Customers who wish to book a Mitsubishi car but don’t want to do so in a physical showroom can opt to make their purchase online. This can be accomplished by submitting a booking request form on the online showroom’s website, following which a MMM authorised dealer will contact the customer to assist with the process, from loan to insurance applications.

    The company is also collaborating with MyTukar to offer special trade-in promotions for Mitsubishi customers who trade in their car via the Mitsubishi online showroom, with the initiation done by submitting a trade-in assist form online. There, customers will have the option to request for a car inspection, handover, transfer of ownership and the collection of the sold car to be done at his/her convenience and at a preferred location.

    “In the past year, we’ve seen an unpredictable level of change, because of the new normal and the need to maintain social distancing. The launch of Mitsubishi online showroom is a strong example of MMM’s commitment to deliver a more human-centric experience by encompassing a holistic approach across three key organizational pillars: people, process and technology,” said MMM CEO Tomoyuki Shinnishi.

    “We have always believed in creating a walk-through experience, and this online showroom is an extension from getting to know the product, test-driving it at your convenience, and communicating with the dealer to finalise the purchase journey. We want to offer our customers a safe purchase of their Mitsubishi model without the need of leaving their homes,” he added.

    The company has also introduced the Mitsubishi Connect mobile application as a continuation of its after-sales service through a digital platform. The mobile app allows Mitsubishi owners the convenience of scheduling a service appointment with their preferred MMM service centres, keep track of vehicle maintenance history and get reminders for their next car service in an easy and hassle-free manner. Find out more about the Mitsubishi online showroom here.

     
  • Proton “started preparing” for electrification – Azlan

    The Proton Emas concept, a range-extended electric hatch shown in 2010

    With emissions regulations becoming stricter and stricter by the day, carmakers are turning to electrification as a stepping stone to the future. This topic was raised last week during a video interview with Proton’s chief designer Azlan Othman, who gave some insights into some of the preparations the company was making on the design side.

    Asked if Proton has started looking into electrifying its vehicles as part of its future business strategy, Azlan said, “We have to – everyone’s looking into it, we can’t get left behind. But to say it is a major focus, probably not at the moment.”

    He also touched on the different design considerations for an electric vehicle. “It represents a lot of challenges for us because of the constraints. A good example is the front face. A lot of people say you can block everything [off] because you don’t need a radiator or engine cooling anymore. But then what happens to the face of the vehicle? Everything you’ve worked for in creating a DNA, what about that?”

    Proton is learning from its partner Geely, Azlan said – the Chinese carmaker already has a range of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full electric vehicles on sale. “In a lot of ways, for us, it’s quite a foreign area. I’m sure Guy [Burgoyne, Geely Design Shanghai vice president, who was also present during the call] has a lot more experience than Proton Design in this area, and that’s where we’re learning from them as well.”

    Geely has a wealth of electrification technology that Proton may have access to

    The company has long experimented with electric vehicles, with Azlan giving the example of the Emas concept shown at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show. That car, in case you didn’t remember, was a range-extended electric hatch designed in partnership with Italdesign Giugiaro, with many of its styling cues ending up on the Iriz.

    “[That car] taught us a lot of things in terms of managing packaging and design,” said Azlan. “But so much has changed in 11 years, so we need to learn the latest developments with regards to electrification and hybridisation and see where we can fit that into our new designs. That’s the biggest challenge.”

    While it’s unclear what kind of electrification technologies Proton is pursuing, it likely has access to Geely’s hybrid and full electric powertrains. Not only does the X50‘s sibling, the Binyue, have a plug-in hybrid variant, but the company also sells several pure electric vehicles – both through its own brand and its Geometry spin-off.

     
  • Aston Martin Vantage and DBX revealed as official Formula 1 safety and medical cars for 2021 season

    Mercedes-Benz vehicles have been used as safety and medical cars for the FIA Formula 1 World Championship since 1996, but that all changes for the 2021 season. In a break from tradition, Aston Martin will be supplying these vehicles this year, although the German carmaker is still somewhat involved and will supply cars painted red for certain races.

    The British carmaker recently announced that the Vantage will serve as F1’s safety car, while its first-ever SUV – the DBX – will be the medical car. Both vehicles have been modified for their respective roles and are finished in Racing Green, the same colour used for the Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team car, with Green Lime accents.

    For the Vantage, it’s AMG-sourced M177 4.0 litre twin-turbo V8 has been tuned to deliver 535 PS, which is 25 PS more than stock, to ensure that the coupe is capable of maintaining a certain pace on track. This is important as the tyre temperatures on F1 cars can drop when running at sub-optimal speeds.

    Torque remains unchanged at 685 Nm, but it can now be sustained for longer thanks to additional work on the transmission, which the company says allows the driver to have a “better sense of directness, precision, and control through upshifts and downshifts.”

    Other changes involve aerodynamics, with the Vaned grille being coupled to a new front splitter to generate 155.6 kg of downforce at 200 km/h, or 60 kg more than a standard Vantage at the same speed. Modifications to the suspension, steering and dampers have also been done, with further detailed underbody bracing modifications to increase front structural stiffness.

    Lower profile Pirelli tyres are also used to complement the comprehensive aero kit, and the safety car’s carbon-ceramic brakes receive additional brake ducts hidden within the grille to aid in their cooling. A rear wing and light bar have also been added on, along with FIA identifiers and an illuminated “Safety Car” plate, the latter for better visibility in all weather conditions.

    Inside, the standard seats have been swapped out for FIA-approved racing seats and six-point safety harnesses, while two screens on the dashboard provide relevant information to passengers. The centre console has also been revised to accommodate a panel of switches for various functions, including for the cameras to provide live TV footage. The safety car will be piloted by FIA-appointed driver, Bernd Mayländer, joined by former racing driver, Richard Darker.

    As for the DBX, it’s pretty much unchanged mechanically, with its M177 unit producing 550 PS and 700 Nm to ensure any emergencies can be responded to promptly. The SUV carries a large medical bag, a defibrillator, two fire extinguishers and a burn kit, with the interior sporting bucket seats, each equipped with a six-point safety harness.

    These provide seating for the driver, Alan van der Merwe and Ian Roberts – the FIA Formula 1 medical response coordinator – as well as a local doctor, leaving one spare, in case an incident requires a racing driver to be driven back to the pit lane.

    Like the safety car, the DBX also gets two dash-mounted screens to provide live race footage, plus an additional screen to read live biometric data delivered via technology in the drivers’ gloves, which in the event of an accident, provides critical information on their condition.

    Both are also come with a “Marshalling System” and a rear-view camera, the former allowing both the driver and co-driver to see which colour flag is being shown on the track, by the illumination of the same coloured LED light.

    The Aston Martin safety and medical cars will make their first appearance at the three-day pre-season test at Bahrain this weekend, and then again at the same venue two weeks later for the opening round of the 2021 season.

     
  • 10,166 summons issued in Modified Exhaust operation

    A total of 10,166 summons was issued by Malaysian police in the Modified Exhaust (Noise) Special Operation conducted nationwide. In the operation which began March 1, a total of 26,239 vehicles were checked by police, in cooperation with JPJ and Department of Environment, as of March 6, with 10,166 summons issued for various offences.

    Of the 26,239 vehicles inspected, 12,709 motorcycles, 8,678 cars and 4,582 other types were stopped and checked. The breakdown of summons issued include 1,423 for modified exhausts which was further broken down to 1,060 motorcycles, 294 cars and 69 other vehicles, as reported by Harian Metro.

    “Aside from that, 474 motorcycles, seven cars and two other vehicles were seized for offences in the operation conducted at 540 locations across Malaysia,” quoting a statement issued Traffic Investigation and Enforcement Department (JSPT) Bukit Aman. The operation targeting owners and riders of motorcycles with modified and loud exhausts is conducted under Article 103, Motor Vehicles Regulations (Construction and Use) 1959.

    “Any individual modifying the exhaust is committing an offence and can be fined RM2,000 or six months jail if convicted,” as detailed in the statement. Additionally, power to seize any offending vehicle is given to police under Section 64 of the Road Transport Act 1987.

    The operation, scheduled to run until March 14, focuses on vehicles in public places, city streets, housing estates and accident black spots. Citing a positive response from the public, the statement said there is a likelihood the operation against noisy exhausts will be extended.

     
 

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Last Updated 04 Mar 2021