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  • Proton-Geely FSP bidding process, criteria in detail

    Now that the Geely-Proton deal has been revealed, DRB-Hicom took some time after the signing ceremony to explain the bidding process involved in the selection of foreign strategic partner (FSP) for the national carmaker.

    According to the corporation, plans for a FSP were part of its proposal to acquire Proton in 2011 (formal bid in 2012), in line with its transformation plan for the brand. In fact, news on the matter have been in existence as far back as 2012, followed later on by Proton’s announcement to work with Suzuki and Honda on specific projects (not permanent partners).

    Even though DRB-Hicom was looking for a FSP for the national carmaker, it reiterated that it would continue to hold a substantial stake in the company. It then held an open bidding tender for Proton, and between May-June 2016, 23 automotive groups submitted their interest, with 15 candidates later being invited to submit a request for proposal (RFP) between July-August 2016.

    That number was further reduced from eight to five candidates after studying the respective RFP submissions, which was followed by site visits between the parties to better evaluate the in-house technology available. It’s at this point that DRB-Hicom analysed the candidates’ suitability (or fit) for the Proton, based on three criteria – strategic, operational and cultural.

    The first, strategic, focuses on the technologies or tangible benefits the carmaker can gain from a partnership, be it platforms or powertrains. The second (operations), focuses on management and corporate structure, while the third (cultural) deals with sharing a similar vision and mission, aspirations as well as chemistry (as you would need to do before marriage).

    It is also at this stage that DRB-Hicom required the candidates to commit to four go/no-go conditions. This includes a willingness for the parties involved to share their technologies with Proton, ensuring brand continuity, capacity to inject capital and providing opportunities for Proton to be a global exporting hub.

    After this particularly demanding vetting stage, the five were shortlisted to just three candidates, at which point due diligence was performed to further evaluate the effectiveness of each remaining candidate to meet Proton’s aspirations. All this culminates in the final selection of Zhejiang Geely as the FSP, which was announced on May 24, 2017, with a definitive agreement to be signed later in July.

  • BARU: Artikel terkini dalam Bahasa Malaysia

  • Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 4Matic facelift makes its Malaysian debut – 375 hp and 475 Nm, RM408,888

    Mercedes-Benz Malaysia has introduced the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 4Matic facelift, the range-topping X156 making its local debut alongside the GLA 200 and GLA 250 facelift variants earlier today. The facelifts replace the three identical variants of the original GLA that were introduced here in November 2014.

    Changes to the refreshed vehicle, which was introduced in Detroit back in January, include a reworked front end, with new bits consisting of a restyled apron, new air intake grilles and a front splitter insert finished in silver chrome.

    At the back, there’s a new diffuser insert for the rear apron as well as a new roof spoiler lip, and the styling revisions for the car doesn’t just smoother the physical appearance but help improve the aerodynamics as well, lowering the GLA’s wind resistance and improving its driving stability.

    The car now also comes equipped with LED High Performance headlamps as standard, and the Malaysians-spec GLA 45 comes fitted with an AMG aerodynamics package and an AMG Night package. Aluminium roof rails in high gloss black are also to be found, as are 20-inch AMG multi-spoke alloy wheels.

    Inside, updates for the facelift include a dashboard top covered with Artico man-made leather as standard, new trim and a new screen design for the instrument cluster. Other new bits are the inclusion of Apply CarPlay and Android Auto support, a reverse camera, a 360-degree surround-view camera system and an eight-inch free-standing display screen.

    The Malaysian GLA 45 is fitted out with an AMG Exclusive interior package and AMG Performance front seats, with the leather upholstery finished in black with red contrast stitching. The car also features red designo seat belts and a black roof liner.

    Elsewhere, plenty of AMG cues, from the floor mats and carbon-fibre trim to an AMG Performance steering wheel in nappa leather and door sill panels with illuminated AMG lettering.

    Standard fit items on the local variant include COMAND Online and a Harman Kardon Logic 7 surround sound system, Keyless-GO, an Easy Pack tailgate, a Tirefit system, Thermotronic automatic climate control and a panoramic sliding sunroof.

    The facelift brings about the updated output revision introduced in 2015, which is already present in Malaysia on the facelifted Mercedes-AMG A 45 and CLA 45. The M133 engine now offers 375 hp (or 381 PS) and 475 Nm, which is 20 hp and 25 Nm up from the local pre-facelift.

    Paired with an AMG Speedshift DCT seven-speed sports transmission, with all-wheel drive AMG performance 4Matic transferring the drive power to all wheels, performance figures include a 0-100 km/h time of 4.4 seconds and a 250 km/h electronically-limited top speed.

    Kit on the local car includes an AMG Performance exhaust system and an AMG Ride Control sports suspension, the latter featuring two-stage adaptive adjustable dampers, as well as an additional Race transmission mode.

    The facelifted Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 4Matic is priced at RM408,888, on-the-road without insurance. Read our international drive report on the GLA 45 4Matic facelift.

  • X156 Mercedes-Benz GLA facelift launched in Malaysia – GLA 200 for RM240k, GLA 250 4Matic at RM270k

    Mercedes-Benz Malaysia has launched the Mercedes-Benz GLA facelift in the country. As before, two non-AMG variants of the premium compact SUV are available here, a GLA 200 and a GLA 250 4 MATIC. The cars were introduced today along with the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 version, making the current line-up identical to that for the pre-facelift when it was introduced in Malaysia in November 2014.

    External revisions include a new front bumper, which with the exception of the AMG Line ditches the faux side intake cutouts and introduces fog lamps into the equation. There’s also a new grille design, which features rectangular elements within the slats, as well as a new, redesigned lower section.

    Like that seen on the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45, the standard GLA comes equipped with LED High Performance headlamps as standard – these replace the bi-xenon units found previously, and the Malaysian cars come equipped with Adaptive Highbeam Assist.

    At the back, the car features new graphics for the tail lamps and a reworked rear bumper design, complete with a reworked diffuser.Standard fit across both models are an Easy Pack tailgate, a Thermotronic climate control system, Keyless-Go starting function, Attention Assist and cruise control.

    General interior updates to the GLA include new dials and needles in the instrument cluster, a chrome finish for the electric seat controls and centre console stowage compartment surround as well as new seat upholstery and trim.

    Other new items to the GLA are the inclusion of Apply CarPlay and Android Auto support, a reverse camera, a 360-degree surround-view camera system and an eight-inch free-standing display screen.

    Both the GLA 200 and GLA 250 variants come with a Night package, aluminium roof rails in high gloss black and 19-inch wheels. In the case of the GLA 200, the units are five-spoke light-alloy wheels done in matte black with a high-sheen finish, while the GLA 250 rides on AMG five-spoke units. Run-flats feature on both GLA variants.

    For interior trim, the GLA 200 is dressed in an Urban Line package, and the kit features Artico man-made leather/ Maringa fabric in black upholstery and iight aluminium trim with longitudinal grain.

    The GLA 250, meanwhile, has an AMG Line package, with Artico man-made leather and Dinamica microfibre black upholstery. The variant also comes with AMG floor mats and illuminated AMG door sill panels with illuminated AMG lettering.

    Both GLA versions also come with a multi-function three-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel and a Night package as well as an Audio 20 with Garmin Map Pilot, though the GLA 250 has an off-road display function, which isn’t found on the GLA 200.

    Mechanically, the GLA facelift continues on with the same powertrains and output as seen previously. The GLA 200 continues on with the 1.6 litre M270 DE 16 AL 1.6 in its 154 hp and 200 Nm output tune, while the GLA 250 retains the services of the 2.0 litre M270 DE 20 AL, offering the familiar 208 hp and 350 Nm output. Both are paired with a seven-speed 7G-DCT dual-clutch automatic transmission.

    Dynamic Select offers a number of drive modes – Comfort, Sport, Eco, Individual and, in the case of the GLA 250 4Matic, Off-Road, which adds DSR (downhill speed regulation) and an off-road transmission mode into the equation.

    The Malaysian-spec GLA 200 and GLA 250 are equipped with an off-road comfort suspension, a package that presents the car with a 30 mm higher stance and improves the vehicle’s axle articulation and off-road capability. The suspension was seen on the pre-facelift GLA 200, but is new to the current GLA 250, which previously rode on a lowered sports suspension.

    A new colour, Canyon Beige, has been introduced for the car. As for pricing, the Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 Urban Line goes for RM239,888, while the GLA 250 4Matic AMG Line is priced at RM269,888, both on-the-road without insurance.

    GALLERY: Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 facelift, Urban Line

    GALLERY: Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 4Matic facelift, AMG Line

  • BMW 8 Series concept images leaked ahead of debut

    Coupe lovers (or car lovers in general – show me someone in the right mind who doesn’t love two-door cars) who have been salivating at the thought of a new BMW 8 Series now have a proper body to lust after. These are leaked images of what is supposed to be the BMW 8 Series concept that will be unveiled tomorrow (May 26) at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este show.

    BMW officially teased the 8 Series concept earlier this month with an outline of the upcoming coupe’s profile. Featuring a low nose, a low-slung roofline, rear fender bulges and an upswept rear deck, it couldn’t possibly be more sleek. And so it proves with these images.

    Gorgeous, isn’t it? The oversized nostrils paired with slit eyes might need some getting used to for some, but that’s a very big dive by the bonnet to make a super low nose. There’s a hint of Aston Martin in the shape, but there can be no better comparison than AM’s coupes. The fascia and the unique rear end – which features an arching boot lid, L-shaped tail lamp signatures, large vents and bunched up twin pipes – makes sure that the 8 Series won’t be confused for any other.

    As with the new 5 and 7 Series, the 8 Series will be based on the modular Cluster Architecture (CLAR), which uses lightweight materials such as aluminium, magnesium and – in the case of the 7 Series – carbon fibre in order to reduce weight. Expect the 8 Series’ engine lineup to match the 7 Series’, with straight-six, V8 and V12 turbocharged mills.

    There will also be a high-performance M8, powered by the same engine as the forthcoming F90 M5 – a 4.4 litre twin-turbo V8 producing upwards of 600 hp, sent to all four wheels via an advanced version of BMW’s xDrive system. The transmission is expected to be an eight-speed automatic rather than an M DCT (dual-clutch transmission), which would not be able to handle the torque and isn’t set up for all-wheel drive.

    But you can forget all that for now and just look at what BMW chairman Harald Krüger has called a “genuine dream car”. Anyone missing the now dead 6 Series? Guessed so.

    GALLERY: BMW 8 Series spyshots

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    Own a new Mercedes-Benz today from your nearest Cycle & Carriage dealership and enjoy a money-can’t-buy experience – an all-expense paid trip* to the world famous AMG plant in Affalterbach and the iconic Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany.

    The Exclusive Mercedes-Benz Grand Tour offer is valid from May 2 to June 30, 2017, so if you’ve been eyeing a new Mercedes-Benz, Cycle & Carriage is the place to go.

    For more details, check out the official Cycle & Carriage Facebook page, visit the campaign microsite here or contact your preferred Cycle & Carriage Autohaus:

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  • Proton to receive RM1.1 billion as R&D reimbursement

    During a Q&A session after the signing of the Geely-Proton deal, second finance minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani has said the government will reimburse Proton RM1.1 billion for the amount it has spent on research and development (R&D) to produce new cars.

    The amount will be given after the definitive agreement has been finalised, which is set to happen before the end of July. Johari also noted that Proton had spent RM3.5 billion in the past on R&D, and quashed rumours that Proton will be receiving a further RM1.7 billion.

    As for the previous RM1.5 billion soft loan, it was revealed that Geely will repay the amount in full. The loan was approved by the Malaysian government back in April 2016, with Proton agreeing to several terms, including identifying a foreign strategic partner.

    In a previous report back in July 2014, then Proton chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had requested the government to reimburse some of the money the company invested on R&D projects. Proton’s then chief technical officer (now Proton Edar CEO) Abdul Rashid Musa revealed later in October 2015 that the company has invested over RM18 billion in R&D since the firm’s establishment in 1983.

  • Proton SUV gets rendered based on Geely Boyue


    It was recently revealed that Proton would be given access to the Geely Boyue SUV platform, as part of its deal with the Chinese automaker. This will see the development of Proton’s first-ever SUV, although exact details about such a plan are scarce for now.

    The main thing most people would be interested to know is just what the Proton SUV will look like, and to reduce the strain on your imagination, we’ve rendered exactly that.

    As you can tell, the rendered vehicle still retains the Boyue’s original profile, but with a heavily altered front fascia. A tweaked version of the Perdana’s grille replaces the previous Geely one, while the lower apron accommodates a larger intake and new fog lamp enclosures. A set of 17-inch seven-spoke alloy wheels from the Suprima S have also been added as part of the transformation.

    Moving on to the rear, the changes are subtle when compared to the front, with a revised skid plate that appears less rugged than on the Boyue. Elsewhere, the taillights have been redesigned, no longer forming the Boyue’s C-shaped lighting motif. A Proton badge in place of Geely’s is the only other revision here.

    It wasn’t stated at the time just how much of the Boyue design will be adopted by the Proton SUV, but these renders certainly points to something promising, right? Share your thoughts with us.

    GALLERY: Geely Boyue

  • Duke Highway Phase 2 – Tun Razak Link now open

    The Duta-Ulu Klang Expressway (Duke) Phase 2 is now open to traffic. The RM1.18 billion Duke Phase 2 project consists of the seven km Sri Damansara Link and the nine km Tun Razak Link – the latter is the one that welcomed motorists for the first time on Tuesday night.

    The Tun Razak Link connects Jalan Tun Razak near Hospital Kuala Lumpur to the Sentul Pasar Interchange at Jalan Gombak. Works minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof said the new link will help ease congestion at Bulatan Pahang.

    “This is good news for Klang Valley residents because the link not only reduces congestion, but makes it easy to reach Hospital Kuala Lumpur. When the entire Duke Phase 2 is completed, the rate of congestion will be reduced by around 40%,” he told Bernama at the opening ceremony of the Tun Razak Link.

    Ekovest MD Datuk Seri Lim Keng Cheng told the national news agency that traffic at Duke would easily double from an existing average of 135,000 vehicles per day once the Duke Phase 2 project is fully completed by end-August. It’s now 97% completed and currently seven months ahead of schedule.

    The existing Duke 1 is a 19 km highway along the East-West route of northern KL, connecting the NKVE in west KL to the KL-Karak Highway in the north and the MRR2 in the east.

  • Harley-Davidson to build Thailand assembly plant

    As part of its plan to increase global sales growth, Harley-Davidson (H-D) is building an assembly plant in Thailand. Expected to come online in 2018, the H-D plant will assemble CKD motorcycles using components shipped from H-D’s US factories or suppliers.

    The plant is expected to serve demand for H-D motorcycles in China and South-East Asia, with a goal of having international sales being half of H-D’s annual sales by 2027. “Asia Pacific is a growth market for Harley-Davidson because of its expanding economy, growing middle class, positive consumer spending trends and increasing market demand for larger motorcycle sales,” a H-D spokesperson said in New York Times report.

    H-D currently has international assembly plants in India and Brazil, along with its factories in Wisconsin, Missouri and Pennsylvania, US. This move by H-D is expected to lower the price of its products in regional markets, where high import tariffs are imposed for motorcycles.

    In Thailand, an import tariff of 60% is imposed by the government, while India has a 100% tariff for imported motorcycles. “By building this assembly plant, we will be closer to these consumers and can be more responsive and competitive in this very important region to enable overall company growth,” the spokesperson said.

    The demand for large displacement motorcycles in the US, where H-D dominates the market, has been softening, primarily due to an aging rider demographic. H-D is currently concentrating efforts on its Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) and Street-series motorcycles, the latest of which is the 2017 Harley-Davidson Street Rod 750, in a bid to draw in a younger, sportier, riding crowd.

  • Proton-Geely FSP: what Proton offers & what it needs

    During the signing ceremony of the Geely-Proton deal, the national carmaker also took the time to list out what it can offer in the agreement.

    With its long-established presence in Malaysia, Proton has an immediate market share in the affordable passenger car segment. The new Saga is a good example of this, and with new products (like an SUV) in the pipeline, this market share could see further improvement.

    Geely will also be able to benefit from Proton’s in-house R&D division, which has the capability and technology to develop new models from the ground-up. Proton’s previous ownership of Lotus also brings with it knowledge on lightweight technology and engineering.

    An expanded model line-up will also provide the company with an opportunity to expand its production capacity. With enough scale, Geely can capitalise on Proton’s production capabilites to make Malaysia a competitive base for ASEAN, with the option of accessing Middle East and North Africa (MENA) markets.

    On the other hand, Proton is seeking to increase its production capacity in line resulting from an immediate volume enhancement, with this partnership. This can come by leveraging on Geely’s network, allowing it penetrate new markets.

    As mentioned earlier, new products will be key to these efforts, and Geely’s technological knowledge should help in this aspect. Backed by its foreign strategic partner’s experience in distribution and aftersales, Proton will want consumers to restore their confidence in the brand.


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Last Updated 25 May 2017


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