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  • Toyota comes out top as most valuable automotive brand in Interbrand’s 2019 Best Global Brands list

    The Interbrand 2019 Best Global Brands list is now out, so it’s time once again to see how automotive brands fared when it comes to brand value. This year, 15 brands manage to make it to the top 100 list, which is one less than in 2018, with Subaru dropping off the chart.

    Once again, it is Toyota that takes the top spot among automotive brands for another year with a brand value estimated to be around US$56.246 billion, while it is seventh overall behind brands like Samsung, Coca Cola, Microsoft, Amazon, Google and Apple.

    The Japanese carmaker isn’t the only that managed to retain its position from 2018, as Mercedes-Benz kept its spot as well – second among automotive brands and eighth overall – with a brand value of US$50.832 billion.

    Click to enlarge

    Meanwhile, BMW (US$41.440 billion) climbed up two spots become the third most valuable automotive brand (and 11th overall) in 2019. It is followed by Honda (US$24.422 billion) in fourth place (21st overall), Ford (US$14.325 billion) in fifth place (35th overall) and Hyundai (US$14.156 billion) in sixth place (36th overall).

    Further down the list, Volkswagen (US$12.921 billion) improved upon last year’s result to take the seventh spot (40th overall), with other companies under the Volkswagen Group – namely Audi (US$12.689 billion; 42th overall) and Porsche (US$11.652 billion; 50th overall) – displacing Nissan (US$11.502 billion), which settled for the tenth spot (52nd overall) instead.

    Next up, Ferrari’s fast-growing brand value shined again this year, as the Italian carmaker’s brand value of US$6.458 billion brought it up to the 11th spot (77th overall), pushing remaining brands like Kia (US$6.428 billion) and Land Rover (US$5.855 billion) down to 12th (78th overall) and 13th (85th overall) respectively. The last two remaining brands are MINI (US$5.532 billion) in 13th place (90th overall) and Harley-Davidson (US$4.793 billion) in last place (99th overall).

    Interbrand 2019 Best Global Brands (automotive only)

    To be included in Interbrand’s Best Global Brands, a company must meet several terms, where at least 30% of its revenue must come from outside of the its home region. Furthermore, the brand must have a significant presence in Asia, Europe, and North America as well as broad geographic coverage in emerging markets.

    There must also be adequate publicly available data on the brand’s financial performance, and any economic profit must be expected to be positive over the longer term, delivering a return above the brand’s cost of capital. Lastly, the brand must have a public profile and awareness across the major economies of the world.

  • Toyota GR Supra 3000GT Concept teased for SEMA

    For this year’s SEMA Show, Toyota is looking to once again capitalise on your nostalgia by presenting a new concept based on the latest A90 GR Supra. Called the Supra 3000GT, the show car will be prepared by Toyota Racing Development (better known as TRD), and If you hadn’t guessed by now, is heavily inspired by the Supra TRD 3000GT of the fourth-generation A80.

    Fans of the Gran Turismo racing games are probably familiar with the racing-inspired Supra, which featured a number of styling and performance enhancements. As far as we can see, the former is clearly applicable to the concept, as the video shows us some of the changes that will be present.

    These include a vented a bonnet in the same look as the original and a massive rear wing over at the back, with both being prominent features that are quite popular among those looking to modify an A80. Watch the first entry in the Fast and Furious movie franchise, and you’ll spot the hood design on Brian O’Conner’s orange Supra.

    The list of modifications is expected to be much larger, and should include some powertrain tweaks (if any), but we’ll only know more when TRD reveals all at the event. Additionally, it isn’t known if the company plans to put these parts into production like it did when it showed off the Supra TRD Performance Line Concept, which was eventually offered as GR Parts in Japan.

  • Mazda MX-30 – crossover EV leaked before debut?

    Mazda has already announced that it will unveil its first electric vehicle at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show, and while a shadowy teaser is all we were provided with previously, Japanese magazine Web Cartop may have already revealed the SUV on its cover.

    Reportedly called the MX-30 (Concept), the image shows a crossover with a silhouette not unlike what was shown in the company’s teaser, with shared design highlights like a long bonnet and a coupe-like roofline.

    Other cues seen include a recessed grille that creates a chasm on the front end, with the headlamps tucked within, which will no doubt attract differing opinions. Meanwhile, the lower apron sports a thick bar to divide the intake into two, with slim fog lamps occupying the corners.

    Down the sides, we find black body cladding and more interestingly, a door layout that harks back to the RX-8, with rear suicide doors that can only be opened when the front doors are ajar. There’s also a two-tone paintjob applied here, with the base of the C-pillar featuring a off-coloured trim piece to amplify the effect – the charging door is on the right just below this.

    No interior photos as of yet, but Mazda says that the EV’s cabin will use plenty of sustainable or recycled materials, and should be a pleasant place to be in, as the company has a rather good track record of providing interiors that have an upmarket feel to them.

    Development of the Mazda EV was done under the e-TPV project, which saw prototypes that used a CX-30 body shell. The test mules were powered by a 35.5 kWh battery, which provided current to an electric motor that served up 140 hp (105 kW) and 264 Nm of torque to the front wheels. Whether this is the same powertrain that will be used in the MX-30, we’ll have to wait for Mazda to reveal all.

    GALLERY: Mazda e-TPV electric prototype

  • PACE 2019 – Bufori to display exquisite, hand-built cars; 4-door Geneva & carbon-kevlar CS on show!

    The Premium Auto Car Expo (PACE) – co-sponsored by Michelin and TyrePlus – is back for 2019, and will take place from November 2-3, 2019 at the Setia City Convention Centre. There will be many participating premium car brands, among which is Bufori, a boutique luxury automaker headquartered here in Kepong, Kuala Lumpur!

    The brand was originally founded in 1986 in Sydney, but has moved its operations to Malaysia since the early 1990s. All the cars are completely developed, engineered, and hand-built in-house, and they are all built and certified to European standards.

    Bufori will be displaying four cars at PACE 2019, three of which are fully working prototypes of the carbon-kevlar bodied CS. This coupe is offered with two engines, starting with the 3.6 litre supercharged V6 petrol which makes an estimated 500 hp, as well as a 6.4 litre supercharged V8 petrol that produces around 750 hp and 1,000 Nm of torque. Both variants get an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission.

    The fourth car on display is the flagship Geneva, which is Bufori’s first and only four-door model. It has been in production since 2014 and features a fully customisable rear lounge, which includes the finest Italian full-grain hides. You can even have a fridge, coffee machine, lamb’s wool carpet, massage system, or cigar humidor, if you’re so inclined. Powertrain options include the 3.6 litre V6 or 6.4 litre V8 engines, both of which are naturally aspirated, and prices start from RM1.6 million.

    Now, at PACE, you’ll be able to drive and purchase your dream car, be it new, pre-owned, or hand-built – we’ve got you covered. There will be irresistible year-end promos from all participating premium car brands, and you will also get the opportunity to mingle with us, the writers!

    Let’s go over the promotions. The first 150 new car customers will receive a combined RM2,450 voucher*, which includes a RM770 3M tinting voucher, a RM680 premium Babel Fit gym membership voucher, a RM500 Reebonz shopping voucher and a RM500 Kuzig Glanz car detailing voucher. We’re also giving away a combined RM1,270 voucher for the first 50 pre-owned car orders, which includes a RM770 3M tinting voucher and RM500 Kuzig Glanz car detailing voucher.

    That’s not all, as there will also be a lucky draw for those with confirmed purchases (i.e. approved loans), with 10 units of the new Samsung Galaxy Note 10 worth RM3,699* up for grabs, as well as a grand prize of a free holiday for two worth RM25,000*!

    Co-sponsor Michelin is one of the global leaders in tyre development, passionately innovating to make mobility safer, more efficient and more environmentally friendly. It offers a wide variety of quality tyres, ranging from the eco-friendly Energy XM2+ and highly efficient Primacy 4, to the ultra high performance family of Pilot Sport 4, Pilot Sport 4 SUV and Pilot Sport 4 S.

    TyrePlus Malaysia currently operates 60 outlets across the country, and TyrePlus has been in operation in over 22 countries for over ten years. Their professional tyre and car services offer quality work including routine oil changes, battery changes, brake system inspections, brake replacements, and vehicle servicing – that all add up to a well-running, long-lasting vehicle.

    The inaugural PACE last year proved to be a resounding success, with 214 cars worth over RM50 million sold over two days – 180 brand new units and 34 from the pre-owned selection. One lucky buyer was also named the grand prize winner of the lucky draw, taking home a free holiday worth RM25,000.

    Click here for more details on PACE, and we’ll be announcing more promotions from participating brands closer to the event, so stay tuned. We’re only a few weeks from PACE, and we can’t wait to see you there!

    *For Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia, valid for all models except the Volkswagen Polo, Volkswagen Vento and Volkswagen Jetta models. For Renault, valid for the Renault Koleos and Renault Megane RS only. For Subaru, valid for all models except the Subaru XV. For Mazda, valid for all models except the Mazda 2, Mazda 3 1.5, Mazda CX-3, Mazda CX-5 2.0 Mid 2WD and Mazda BT-50. Not valid for Harley-Davidson bikes.

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  • QUICK LOOK: 2019 Mercedes-Benz A250e PHEV

    Mercedes-Benz recently expanded its plug-in hybrid offerings to the compact class range, with the A-Class and B-Class both being electrified, thus carrying the EQ brand. Currently, there is the A 250 e Hatchback, A 250 e Sedan, and B 250 e.

    All three models are powered primarily by the M282 1.33 litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that makes 160 PS at 5,500 rpm and 250 Nm of torque at 1,620 rpm. The engine is married to a 75 kW electric motor (102 PS, 300 Nm) that is integrated into the eight-speed 8F-DCT dual-clutch transmission, resulting in a total system output of 218 PS and 450 Nm.

    Those figures are certainly healthy – the A 250 e Hatchback sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.6 seconds and has a top speed of 235 km/h. The A 250 e Sedan, on the other hand, requires 6.7 seconds in the century sprint, but has a higher top speed of 240 km/h. The B 250 e is a tenth of a second slower at 6.8 seconds in the 0-100 km/h sprint, and maxes out at 235 km/h.

    The big news is the pure electric driving range. There is a 15.6 kWh water-cooled lithium-ion battery pack installed under the rear seats (eats up a bit of boot space, weighs 150 kg), offering between 70 km to 77 km of pure electric range (based on NEDC cycle). That’s pretty impressive for compact cars, and the top speed in pure electric mode is 140 km/h. Who’s excited for this?

  • Subaru Levorg Prototype leaked before Tokyo debut

    Last month, Subaru released a short teaser of the upcoming Levorg Prototype, which is set to appear at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show. We won’t need to wait till then to see the wagon in full, as an image of the model has appeared on an issue of Japanese magazine Web Cartop.

    While it may have “Prototype” in its name, the show car looks very much ready for production, and we should expect the styling to be more or less final at this point. If what you’re looking at has an odd sense of familiarity to it, that is because the Levorg Prototype clearly resembles the Viziv Tourer Concept from last year.

    The new look is clearly a lot more angular, and there are plenty of cues that gives the wagon a greater visual presence when compared to the current model. There’s a pointier front end here that is emphasised by a larger, hexagonal-shaped grille, which features a chrome strip that spans its width.

    This leads to creases that cut into the kinked headlamps, while further down, there are protruding corner “inlets” that also accommodate the fog lamps. Subaru also made it a point to accentuate the lower intake as well, adding on a subtle lip at its base for good measure. As before, the bonnet scoop is retained, albeit more angular in look to match up to the rest of the design.

    From this three-quarter view, we also spot squared-off wheel arches that replace the rounded ones found on the current model. The doors also have a more prominent crease at their base, while the character line further up is more flowy in appearance. As seen in the previous teaser, the Levorg Prototype sports haunches that are a lot more pronounced compared to before.

    While there’s no shot of the vehicle from the rear, we know from Subaru’s teaser that the taillights are now slimmer and continue to adopt a C-shaped aesthetic, with what appears to be chrome strip linking the clusters.

    GALLERY: First-gen Subaru Levorg 1.6 GT-S (Malaysia-spec)

  • QUICK LOOK: BMW Concept 4 – controversial design?

    Few things in the automotive world can compare to the shock and awe of seeing the BWM Concept 4 in photos, much less in real life. The sleek car provides us a glimpse into the Bavarian giant’s styling direction for future coupes, but it seems the bigger the ambition, the larger the grille becomes.

    But take your eyes off the gaping kidney grille and you’ll find yourself looking at a rather sexy coupe, with slim headlights that do little to draw your attention away from the heavily sculpted body. Strong lines, a tapered roofline and a sharp integrated spoiler are the dominant features here, but gone is the Hofmeister kink, at least for the Concept 4.

    For the time being, BMW has yet to unveil the new-generation 4 Series, but what do you think of the Concept 4’s looks? Do you agree with BMW Group Design’s senior vice president, Adrian van Hooydonk, when he said the car “combines perfect proportions with a clear and precise design?” Let us know, below.

    GALLERY: BMW Concept 4 in Frankfurt

  • 2020 Honda Jazz leaked ahead of Tokyo Motor Show

    The fourth-generation Honda Jazz (or Fit as it is known in Japan) will only make its global debut at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show, but leaked images of the hatchback have now made the way to the internet, as posted by Japanese website Creative Trend.

    Seen here in a local magazine, the images confirm what we already know – that is the Jazz will have a softer, more-rounded look to it, while having the same general proportions as before. At the front, the “cuter” face features larger, less geometric headlamps that include square projectors and U-shaped LED daytime running lights within the clusters. Honda’s Solid Wing Face front grille is still present here, albeit with a much simpler design and a slimmer front intake.

    According to the source, there will be four trim levels available – Basic, Ness, Luxe and Crosstar – with the first three sharing the same A-wing-style front bumper design. The Crosstar is for those who prefer the crossover look, and it gets its own bumper that sports larger corner inlets, a front lip and a louvred black grille; other trim-specific cues include body cladding, silver roof rails and a two-tone paint job.

    Viewed from the side, the Jazz’s gentler shape becomes more apparent, as the kink previously seen on the rearmost quarter side windows has been omitted in favour of thicker C-pillars. You’ll also notice a simpler character line that runs from the top of the front wheel arches, through the door handles and leading to the rear taillights. Further down, the upswept crease of old has been replace with a concaved section that stretches across the doors instead.

    Around the back, the vertical taillight setup of the third-generation car also gets thrown out the window, and in its place are horizontal two-piece items. There’s also a new crease line that cuts across the tailgate and into the bumper as well as a new tailgate design. The latter now has an “arch” that frames the license plate, with the Honda logo placed at the top section that “bridges” the clusters.

    Zooming in and squinting our eyes as much as we can, the Jazz’s interior also undergoes the same simplification process as the exterior. The top dash is now featureless, losing the humped cowl seen on the outgoing model due to the slimmer seven-inch digital instrument cluster display, and the top-mounted air vents have been repositioned to the sides of the infotainment system, which can go up to nine inches in size.

    We also notice the middle section of the dash is no longer layered, and comes fitted with trims of different colours (depending on trim level), while the two-spoke steering wheel appears to be lifted from the Honda e. It also looks like the B-segment hatchback now uses an electronic parking brake rather than a traditional handbrake, with the switchgear controlling this placed aft of the gear selector.

    The source also points out that all the trim levels seen are applicable to Jazz models equipped with a smaller version of the Intelligent Multi-mode Drive (i-MMD) hybrid powertrain dubbed e:HEV – 1.5 litre four-cylinder petrol engine and two electric motors – that is completely different from the Sport Hybrid i-DCD system used for the third-generation model. We’ll get complete information about the latest Jazz when it is officially revealed in Japan, but in the meantime, what do you think of hatchback?

    GALLERY: Fourth-generation Honda Jazz spyshots

    GALLERY: Third-generation Honda Jazz 1.5L V (Malaysia-spec)

  • FIRST DRIVE: 2019 Mazda CX-5 2.5L Turbo – RM178k

    Mazda Malaysia has finally introduced the much anticipated CX-5 Turbo as part of a model refresher for the year, and all five variants of the C-segment SUV are locally assembled at the Inokom plant in Kulim, Kedah. What’s new, you ask?

    Well, the CX-5 Turbo is powered by a 2.5 litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, making 228 hp at 5,000 rpm and 420 Nm at 2,000 rpm. It’s paired with a six-speed SkyActiv-Drive automatic transmission with i-Activ all-wheel drive system as standard, but oddly doesn’t come with paddle shifters. This range-topping model replaces the 2.2D AWD unit that was previously offered.

    Now, for equipment, all variants get automatic LED headlights with LED daytime running lights and LED fog lamps, but the top two models get Adaptive LED Headlights. Not much has changed in the cabin, but there’s an updated instrument cluster with a seven-inch digital display, revised climate control layout, and 360-degree around view camera. Still no Bose sound system here, unfortunately.

    Safety is pretty standard across the board, with six airbags, Dynamic Stability Control, Traction Control System, Emergency Brake Assist, Emergency Stop Signal, Hill Launch Assist and Isofix child seat anchors. There’s also Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Smart City Brake Support Forward from the 2.0 GLS onwards, though the 2.5 GLS 2WD gains Driver Attention Alert and Smart City Brake Support Reverse, which is Mazda speak for autonomous emergency braking.

    GALLERY: 2019 Mazda CX-5 2.5 Turbo GLS AWD in Soul Red Crystal

  • Land Rover to launch fully electric Range Rover by 2021 – its most road-focused SUV can still go off-road

    Land Rover is preparing to introduce a full electric Range Rover model that’s positioned between the Evoque and Velar in terms of size, but the new SUV, which is tipped to be the most road-focused model the company has ever created, will offer more cabin space than the Velar thanks to its electric architecture.

    According to Autocar, the electric SUV may be designed for the road, but it will still boast more off-road capabilities that its rivals. Design-wise, the roofline will be lowered to give it the familiar Range Rover profile, and its rivals include the electric Porsche Macan, as well as the upcoming Audi e-tron Sportback.

    Land Rover continues to remain tight-lipped on this project, but company boss Ralf Speth is keen on achieving the goal of achieving net zero emissions. Speth also hinted to reporters that there would be new models in the line-up. “We will launch things to expand the product portfolio. We won’t stand still. So you can expect these [new models] as you can also expect updates of our existing cars,” he said.

    As for the underpinnings, nothing is certain as yet, but JLR is already actively working with BMW to co-develop next-generation electric drive systems together, so expect some of that technology to be featured in the new car. A skateboard platform has been mooted, featuring two motors to provide all-wheel drive, as per Range Rover tradition.

    Meanwhile, the move to introduce a full electric Range Rover is part of the company’s key strategy to strengthen its electrification focus. The apparent launch date is in late 2021, and Land Rover hopes that the new SUV’s introduction will boost its brand appeal in vital markets such as China, where the demand for large premium crossovers and electric cars are high.

    In a presentation to investors earlier this year, JLR bosses said they planned to introduce 14 new or refreshed models in the 2020 financial year, and this includes electrified variants of existing models. A total of 16 more models will follow from 2021 onwards.

    As of 2020, every new JLR model will be offered with an electrified variant, with either a plug-in hybrid or full electric option. This will also trickle down through the Land Rover line-up, including the Discovery and Defender. Additional mild-hybrid and PHEV versions of the Range Rover and Discovery models are due in the next financial year. While a plug-in hybrid version of the Defender is in the works, there are no plans for a full electric version.

    GALLERY: 2020 Land Rover Defender


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Last Updated 12 Oct 2019


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