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  • 2016 Proton Saga – watch the launch live tomorrow from 2:45pm onwards, exclusively on paultan.org

    Another month, another Proton launch. You’ve studied the specifications and read our first impressions report. Now, you can watch the 2016 Proton Saga’s official launch ceremony tomorrow live, streamed exclusively on paultan.org. Join us here from 2:45pm onwards as we bring to you live feed from the launch event and walk you through the new model.

    This is the sequel to the Proton Saga BLM from 2008, and it comes into a new world where the Perodua Bezza has proven to be popular with Malaysians looking for an entry-level sedan. Three-box saloons have been Proton’s exclusive territory till Perodua came up with its first ever sedan earlier this year, so the new Saga has to deliver for its maker.

    Same platform as before, but there’s a redesigned body and improved chassis. The Saga is solely powered by a 1.3 litre VVT engine with 94 hp at 5,750 rpm and 120 Nm at 4,000 rpm. Transmission options include a five-speed manual (Standard only) and a revised CVT automatic (Standard, Executive, Premium). The interior has also been redesigned.

    Tentative pricing is from from RM37k and RM46k. The top spec Saga gets features such as ESC with hill hold, 15-inch alloys, reverse camera integrated into the rear-view mirror and a double-DIN head unit with steering controls. Front and rear parking sensors are standard across the board, but ABS/EBD/Brake Assist are only available from the Executive onwards. ASEAN NCAP has given the new Saga a four-star rating.

    If you haven’t already done so, check out the 2016 Proton Saga specs and our first impressions report. See you tomorrow!

     
  • Rolls-Royce delivers 30 red Phantoms to Macau hotel

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    All 30 Rolls-Royce Phantoms commissioned by luxury entrepreneur Stephen Hung for The 13 hotel in Macau have now been shipped from Goodwood, England. This follows the handover of the first batch of the bespoke Phantoms at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. This 30-unit order represents the largest single commission in Rolls-Royce history.

    Crafted in close collaboration with Hung, the fleet comprises 30 Extended Wheelbase Phantoms in the livery of The 13 hotel, two of which are in ‘Gold’.

    The livery applied to each of The 13’s Phantoms comprises a specially formulated ‘Stephen Red’ exterior paint developed to the exacting requirements of Hung, complemented by a hand-painted gold twin coach line that culminates in a specially designed The 13 motif. The limo’s 21-inch wheels are also finished in ‘Stephen Red’. Eye-catching, to say the least.

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    Included in the fleet are two ‘Gold’ Phantoms, which will be reserved for use by select guests, each featuring a gold Spirit of Ecstasy, gold Pantheon grille, gold interior accents and diamond encrusted Rolls-Royce badge. Additionally, the ‘Stephen Red’ paint that is used for the ‘Gold’ Phantoms is infused with fine particles of pure gold. Excess? You bet.

    The stunning exterior theme of the fleet is echoed in an exquisitely crafted interior. A specially developed wood staining technique evokes the same ‘Stephen Red’ colour scheme, whilst a chequered pattern integrated to the rear seats echo the marble entrance hall motif of The 13. The clock was designed in collaboration with master jeweller Graff.

    The hotel will open its doors in early 2017.

     
  • VIDEO: Nissan develops ProPILOT autonomous chair to spare people from the hassle of standing in line

    In a bid to spare people from the hassle of standing in line, Nissan has revealed the newly-developed ProPILOT Chair. Named after the company’s flagship autonomous driving technology available on the new Serena, the carmaker’s latest creation should appeal to those who have had to queue for hours outside a crowded restaurant.

    The ProPILOT Chair detects and automatically follows the chair ahead of it, maintaining a fixed distance and travelling along a set path. This functionality is similar to that offered on the Serena, which is capable of maintaining a safe distance behind the car ahead, and ensuring that the vehicle remains in the centre of the lane.

    Therefore, the technology helps to eliminate the tedium and physical strain of being in a queue. Nissan will ensure that the ProPILOT Chair undergoes plenty of real-world testing, and the best way to do that is for restaurants to submit their applications to use the chairs by tweeting their name and webpage along with the hashtags #NissanProPilotChair #Wanted. For all other Twitter users, the recommended hashtag is #NissanProPilotChair.

    According to the Japanese carmaker, the ProPILOT seats will appear at selected restaurants in 2017. For those who want to try out the chairs now, five units will be featured at a gallery exhibit at Nissan’s Global Headquarters in Yokohama from September 29 through October 2.

    Nissan has previously revealed the Intelligent Parking Chair, which takes advantage of its Intelligent Parking Assist technology, freeing workers from the troublesome task of arranging chairs after a meeting or at the end of a work day. If the high-tech ProPILOT chairs do make it to Malaysia, what locations/restaurants do you think they should be placed at? Let us know in the comments section below.

     
  • Isuzu D-Max V-Cross updated in Thailand – new six-speed automatic, enhanced styling, more safety

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    The Isuzu D-Max V-Cross has been updated in Thailand, with the pick-up seeing improvements to its looks, equipment list and powertrain. The range-topping double-cab version of the D-Max competes against the likes of the Chevrolet Colorado High Country and Ford Ranger Wild Trak there.

    Under the hood, the V-Cross retains the 3.0 litre 4JJ1-TCX four-cylinder turbodiesel, which develops 177 PS at 3,600 rpm and 380 Nm at 1,800 to 2,800 rpm. Unlike the facelifted D-Max 1.9 Ddi, the larger mill here doesn’t get a six-speed manual, but retains its five-speed ‘box. However, it does get a new six-speed automatic, as well as an efficiency-related idling start/stop system.

    On the exterior, the D-Max gets redesigned projector LED headlamps with LED DRLs similar to those found on its 1.9 Ddi brethren. Other new items include additional garnish elements on the bonnet and wheel arches, as well as a front bumper guard, cargo bed-liner and 18-inch six-spoke wheels.

    As for the interior, the pick-up now comes with two-tone leather upholstery, new plastic trim, cruise control, two USB charging ports and a Kenwood entertainment system with navigation and the Isuzu Connect World app integrated into it.

    Also new for V-Cross variants fitted with the five-speed manual is the Genius Sport Shift feature, which is part of the car’s multi-info display. The feature is already available on the D-Max 1.9 Ddi, indicating to the driver the pick-up’s currently selected gear, and when to change up.

    On top-spec variants, the safety kit is bolstered by the addition of hill-hold assist on top of ESC and traction control (not available on lower variants), along with standard items such as dual front SRS airbags and ABS with EBD and BA.

     
  • BMW joins FIA World Endurance Championship, will race at Le Mans 24 Hours – LMGTE class from 2018

    2016 Le Mans 24 Hours 81

    That’s right, we will soon see BMW racing in the Le Mans 24 Hours! Munich has announced that it will be joining the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) from 2018, and the legendary race in France is of course the crown jewel of the WEC. BMW has not been seen at Le Mans since 2011, when it competed in the GTE class.

    As part of its global motorsport strategy, BMW will enter the LMGTE category of the WEC, the series said. This means that BMW won’t be going against Porsche, Audi and Toyota in the premier LMP1 category; but will be competing against Aston Martin, Ferrari, Ford, Corvette and Porsche in the category where the race cars look like road-going supercars.

    “Starting with the 2018 season, we want to further expand our activities in GT racing and compete in the FIA WEC. This obviously also includes our return to Le Mans, which we are particularly looking forward to. The way the WEC has developed so well makes us confident that there is a big future for GT racing,” said BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt.

    Further details about the programme will be announced at a future date, the company said. There’s no race like the 24 Heures du Mans, and this year’s edition left this writer and thousands others at Circuit de la Sarthe, plus millions watching on TV, shellshocked and breathless. Full account here.

     
  • Hyundai labour union stages first nationwide strike in 12 years, puts company earnings, sales targets at risk

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    Hyundai’s labour union held its first full-day, nationwide strike in 12 years, according to Reuters. Yesterday’s walkout occurred across all of the chaebol‘s South Korean plants, its biggest manufacturing base that produced nearly 40% of the cars it sold globally last year.

    Led by union chief Park You-ki, the strike, which followed a series of partial ones that have taken place since July, cost the carmaker the production of some 114,000 vehicles worth 2.5 trillion won (RM9.3 billion). This makes it Hyundai’s biggest output loss caused by a strike, in terms of value of the vehicles.

    The news agency said that the outage is big enough to put earnings and sales targets of the world’s fifth biggest carmaker at risk. “This year’s strike is lasting longer than expected. The third-quarter earnings should disappoint,” said Samsung Securities automotive analyst Eim Eun-young, who also cited weak domestic demand as a potential culprit.

    Hyundai released a statement saying that it was “obviously disappointed” with any production stoppage, and that it was continuing to work with the union to resolve the dispute. Union workers comprehensively voted down a tentative wage package offered last month, which was less generous than last year’s. Strikes have occurred in all but four years of the union’s 29-year history.

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    The woes have even reached the government, with trade minister Joo Hyung-hwan urging the union to resolve its issues, saying the strike would “throw cold water on the exports recovery.” He added that India has overtaken the country as the fifth largest car-making country from January to July this year, and said that rigid industrial relations and higher wages would cause the domestic industry’s competitiveness to worsen.

    Hyundai’s profits dropped for the tenth consecutive quarter in April to June, caused by a downturn in emerging markets and a failure to tap into rising demand for SUVs. Industry analysts predicts weaker-than-expected profits in the third quarter as well, no thanks to the aforementioned strike and slowing domestic demand after a reduction in excise tax expired in June.

    Global sales of the Hyundai Motor Group – which comprises of Hyundai and Kia – were expected to drop 0.6% to around 7.96 million units this year, below its 8.13 million unit target, said NH Investment & Securities analyst Cho Soo-hong.

     
  • 2017 Nissan GT-R Track Edition – race-tuned Bilsteins

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    Nissan has revealed a new variant of its performance icon, the GT-R. The Nissan GT-R Track Edition, based on the 2017 model year GT-R, sits above the Premium, Prestige and Black Edition in the model range, but below the flagship GT-R Nismo.

    As its name implies, the Track Edition been engineered for thrill-seeking track enthusiasts by the dedicated team at Nismo, with a higher level of performance than the standard GT-R.

    Performance modifications to further improve the R35’s dynamics include bespoke Bilstein Damptronic suspension. A race-tuned set-up, this is designed to optimise straight-line and cornering stability. A new lightweight anti-roll bar has also been added to increase body stiffness and reduce weight.

    Nismo Racing Black forged 20-inch aluminium wheels and tyres are part of the Track Edition package, in addition to a wider front bumper. However, the exact spec varies by market.

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    For example, Track Edition cars in Germany come with carbon-backed Recaro seats as standard, with a carbon rear spoiler available as an option. In the UK, the black/red Recaro seats from the GT-R Black Edition are fitted, while the carbon spoiler is standard. A CF boot lid and the carbon-backed seats are optional. What’s standard everywhere is a carbon Track Edition badge attached to the dashboard.

    The Track Edition is no stripped-out race special, and includes the standard car’s new eight-inch NissanConnect touchscreen infotainment system and 11-speaker Bose audio, among other things.

    No change in power, which means 570 PS and 637 Nm of torque from a 3.8 litre twin-turbo V6 engine hand-assembled from start to finish by a single takumi craftsman. The VR38DETT transfers drive to all four wheels via a six-speed dual clutch transmission. Deliveries will start from early November.

    GALLERY: 2017 Nissan GT-R

     
  • Kia Picanto undergoes ANCAP audit test – five-star safety rating retained; higher risk of injury to the driver

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    Following the zero-star safety rating obtained by the airbag-less Kia Morning (aka Picanto) in the New Car Assessment Program for Southeast Asian Countries (ASEAN NCAP), the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has released the results of an audit test conducted on the Kia Picanto sold in the country.

    Unlike the Picanto destined for emerging markets, the Australian-spec model comes decked out with standard safety kit like six airbags, ESC, ABS and traction control, just to name a few. These features are also available on the Malaysian-spec Picanto, which scored four stars in ASEAN NCAP.

    The audit test only covered the frontal offset test, where the Picanto score 12.95 (out of 16), a reduction from the original 15.12 scored by the vehicle tested by Euro NCAP in 2011. Despite this, the Picanto still managed to to retain its five-star ANCAP safety rating obtained in May. It should be noted that the score is almost identical to the Malaysian-market model’s ASEAN NCAP score of 12.67.

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    However, the audit test revealed that there was a higher risk of serious injury to the driver, with driver chest and lower leg protection now rated “Marginal,” indicating a moderate risk of serious injury.

    “The trigger for this audit test was the considerable variation in structural performance seen on the Indonesian-sold Picanto, We wanted to confirm the validity of our existing rating for the safety of Australian and New Zealand consumers with the key driver being to provide assurance they can rely on ANCAP information when buying a new car,” said James Goodwin, CEO of ANCAP.

    “The score obtained in the audit test is still within the 5 star range but it is important that consumers are made aware of these findings so they can make an informed decision in this highly competitive market segment,” he added.


     
  • SPAD – 33,652 cases recorded since inception in 2011

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    Since its inception in 2011 until August this year, the Land Public Transport (SPAD) has recorded a total of 33,652 cases involving various types of vehicles, according to a report by The Star.

    From the figure, lorry drivers recorded the highest number of offences, SPAD’s enforcement division senior general manager, Datuk Paduka Che Hasni Che Ahmad revealed. The most common offences include those involving security (5,000 cases), overloading (2,807 cases) and bald tyres.

    After lorry drivers, taxis recorded the second highest number of offences with 10,547 cases. “Many taxi drivers are penalised for operating without a permit and for not using the meter,” he said, adding that big cities such as Kuala Lumpur had the highest concentration of recorded cases.

    Che Hasni also stated that 98% of investigation papers have been completed while the rest are still in process. “Of the 60% of cases completed, some have been imposed with fines and some have been charged in court,” he said.

     
  • Ducati reopens renovated museum in Borgo Panigale

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    In conjunction with its 90th anniversary celebrations this year, Ducati opened its new museum in Borgo Panigale, Bologna, Italy over the weekend. In the presence of Claudio Domenicali, chief executive officer of Ducati, the event was graced by Italian premier Matteo Renzi.

    Also at the opening ceremony were president of the Emilia-Romagna region, Stefano Bonaccini, and the mayor of Bologna, Virginio Merola. The new Ducati museum has 44 motorcycles from the company’s history on display – 26 race bikes and 18 road bikes – each machine signifying a milestone in Ducati’s design, engineering or racing sucess.

    Pride of place is given to the Ducati 916, the one machine that symbolises Ducati’s renaissance in the modern sportbiking era. Alongside the 916 is displayed design work and styling exercises by Massimo Tamburini, who was responsible for some of today’s most iconic motorcycle designs.

    “The restructuring of our museum is a very important and significant event for our company and for all the Ducatisti fans who follow and appreciate our brand and our bikes across the globe. We wanted to renovate this museum as a tangible sign of the vitality and strength of a company that is celebrating its 90th anniversary and looking to the future,” said Domenicali.


     
 

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