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  • Malaysians need to start putting their children in child car seats when travelling in their cars


    While browsing my social media news feeds during the Raya break, I saw a rather sad news piece posted by someone I know about a five month old baby who died in a car accident in Dungun because the baby was flung out of the car as there was no proper restraining done. The baby was being held by the grandmother in the rear seat of the car, instead of sitting in a baby chair.

    There are no such thing as child seat laws in Malaysia. Even the requirement to use rear seat belts was only introduced in 2009, and adoption as well as enforcement remain poor. Forget airbags – the primary safety feature in the case of a car accident is the seatbelt. Airbags are only meant to be a supplementary restraint system, hence the acronym SRS. But a seatbelt is meant to safely hold an adult body in place – it will not work for the small body of an infant, toddler or a small child.

    It’s been proven time and time again – the statistics show that a child who is in a vehicle that gets into an accident will face the possibility of significantly more injuries or even fatality than a child who is in a child seat. A recent crash test conducted by MIROS shows an adult passenger will not have the required strength to prevent an infant or a child from being thrown forward during a collision at any speed applied.

    Yes, no matter how strong you think you are, your arms are not as good as proper belts. According to AAM, an unsecured infant weighing 7 kg a crash speed of just 50km/h will be thrown forward at a force that’s equivalent to an adult falling from a five-(5) storey building!

    However, obviously there are many who simply still do not use chlid seats. Why do parents and guardians continue to let their loved ones travel in an unsafe manner?

    There are a few reasons for this. Here are some of the usual suspects.

    1. Child seats are too expensive

    With the rising cost of living these days, some parents choose to forgo child seats. However, should we really compromise on a child’s safety?

    Child seats can be had for as low as RM150 these days. I even saw one going for RM97 after discount recently. That’s cheaper than most people spend on cigarettes in a single month. For these more affordable “Made in Malaysia” child seats, just make sure they are SIRIM approved.

    An alternative would be to look on local classifieds websites or even parenting forums or Facebook groups to buy good condition used ones. You also need to check if the child seat has been in an accident before as the structure might be damaged. And give it a good wash, of course.

    2. Child seats take up too much space (i.e. my car is too small)

    Unfortunately this is a real problem for many and it is a problem that runs much too deep to be able to fix easily. Unlike a lot of the other reasons here that are ‘first world problems’, this one is not. In a nutshell, a safe mode of transportation is basically still out of each for many.

    A child seat will take up an entire adult’s seating space, and a lot of people can only afford a car that can seat five max. In fact, getting roofed transport like an old Kelisa or Kenari instead of going around on a motorcycle is already a big upgrade. Our public transport system is not really up to the mark yet, so you have to bring your kids around with a car – if you’re lucky enough to have a car in the first place. Otherwise it’s a balancing act on the motorcycle for you.

    Interestingly, the government actually wants people to have more kids. Women, Family and Community Development Minister, Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim told the press recently that the government was studying proposals to give incentives for Malaysians to have more kids in order to address a rapid decline in births.

    The 2012 number is 2.1 children per woman compared to 3 per woman in 2000, and Rohani says this will cause problems with a shortage of workforce in Malaysia in 20 to 30 years. But how are we going to fit all these kids into the small 5 seater sedans or hatchbacks that a lot of people are limited to in terms of affordability?

    A search for 7 seater cars on reveals that the cheapest 7 seater in the country is the Perodua Alza 1.5 Standard MT, which costs RM50,837.50. But the cheapest 5 seater is the Perodua Viva 660 BX MT, at an incredibly low price of RM21,144.80. That’s a massive, massive price difference!

    3. I don’t need it, I drive really carefully when my child is in the car

    Anyone who really believes this needs a reality check because no matter how carefully you drive, you are sharing the road with plenty of other motorists and not everyone is as careful and conservative as you.

    Imagine you’re driving with your family on a rainy day, the roads are wet, and a car spins out right in front of you. Everything happens so fast that you’re unable to react and you cannot avoid slamming into him. I bet at that moment you’ll wish you’d have put your child in a child seat.

    4. My child does not want to sit in a child seat

    This would not even be an issue if the government makes child seats a legal requirement. As a result, many parents who don’t face any of the problems above still choose to carry their child in their arms.

    I believe that this is just a matter of the child getting used to sitting in a car seat from the very beginning. My son is 20 months old now and he has always been in a car seat. He graduated from a rear facing Maxi Cosi Pebble to a rear facing Britax Max-Fix before he turned one year old and still sits in his car seat until today.

    What we do is try to cap car journeys to 45 minutes max, and if he really gets agitated we’ll stop somewhere for a break. We’ve done KL to Penang and KL to Singapore journeys with him completely sitting still in the car seat.

    5. Who needs child seats? I got child bed!


    There are also parents who want the best for their child and misguidedly decide that a child seat is too restrictive and uncomfortable for the child. The comfort of their child is the number one priority for them. As a result, ridiculous things like this “car bed” sell like hot cakes on online shops.

    I don’t want to even begin to imagine what would happen to a child lying down on this type of “car bed” in an accident. The shocking thing is that it seems to getting massive amount of shares, likes and ‘interested’ comments this item is getting on social media, this means there are a lot of people interested in buying it.

    6. My wife’s arms are as good as the belts in a car seat

    Like we said earlier, tests show that an adult passenger will not have the required strength to prevent an infant or a child from being thrown forward during a collision at any speed applied.

    It’s simple physics. Trying to hold a small baby in a car crash at 50km/h would be like trying to lift 8 bags of cement at the same time. It’s simply not possible.

    7. My child is big enough not to sit in a car seat

    Like we said earlier, seat belts in cars are designed for adult bodies. Even if it appears that your child can wear a seatbelt properly, the seat belt could be sitting on areas like their tummy or neck, which are not the strongest parts of their bodies, instead of where seat belts are supposed to lie – their hips, chest and shoulder.

    In the UK, there are legal requirements in place where a child has to first use a Group 0+ seat (up to 13kg), then move to a Group 1 seat (9-18kg), and then use a booster seat up to 12 years old or taller than 135cm. We do not have such laws but this would be a good guideline. If you want to save money, you can go for ‘convertible’ seats that combine both Group 0+ and Group 1 sizes in one seat.

    This is of course just the minimum. Since everyone’s body is different, if adult seat belts don’t seem to rest on the right places on your child even after the thresholds, continue to use your booster seat.

    Do I need ISOFIX?

    No you don’t need ISOFIX. You can use a child seat that is secured by a seat belt too. But a child seat is only safe if it is secured properly, otherwise it will just become a projectile in a car crash.

    AA surveys show that child seats that are fitted with the adult seatbelts are typically 70% to 80% misfitted with around 30% being seriously misfitted.

    ISOFIX’s purpose is to fix this problem. It minimises installation errors, but if your car does not have ISOFIX points, you just need to make sure you learn how to secure your child seat properly.

    For your next car, use’s advanced search feature to look for cars with ISOFIX points.

    This is what a child goes through in an accident

    I think watching what happens in these videos would say it best. Once you’ve decide to put your child in a car seat where he or she belongs, you might want to read up on front facing versus rear facing child seats – these videos will help show you the difference. A child should be kept in a rear-facing child seat for as long as possible before graduating to a front-facing one.

    I hope that this article helps raise some awareness on the importance of child seats in Malaysia. If you know someone who has a child and doesn’t use child seats, please share this with them.

  • Lotus to lay off 325 employees in restructuring

    elise s 06

    Lotus could lay off a total of 325 people as part of a restructuring program, a number which represents just over a quarter of the 1,215 employees worldwide. The restructuring program is part of efforts to build a “strong, sustainable future”, according to a press statement sent out yesterday.

    “Regrettably, it is likely that compulsory job losses will be needed to ensure that the company has the right number of people with the right skills. Lotus intends to redeploy staff wherever possible and will look for ways to retain specific skills and knowledge within the business, despite the proposed cuts. It also proposes to recruit into key roles, to help achieve the best possible structure and skill base,” it added.

    “We understand the concerns that this proposal will create. We deeply regret the potential impact any reshaping of the business may have on our employees and their families. We have worked very hard to avoid the need to make the proposal, but do believe that it is now essential. It is in no way a reflection on our employees who have shown nothing but dedication to us and have worked tirelessly to support Lotus. Once the reshaping has been undertaken, and with its strong and experienced management team, Lotus should be a leaner, more competitive organization,” said Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales in the statement.

    Jean-Marc Gales_CEO of Group Lotus plc and Aslam Farikullah 01_05_14_20p (3)

    Gales was joined Lotus as CEO in May 2014 from his previous gig as CEO of the European Association of Automotive Suppliers (CLEPA) since 2012. Prior to CLEPA, he was made president of both Automobiles Peugeot and Automobiles Citroen in 2009. Gales also previously held senior posts at Daimler, General Motors, Fiat and Volkswagen.

    Lotus also hired former Kia Europe executive Jean-Charles Lievens to develop the automaker’s sales network in the southern European region, and former Millbrook Proving Ground CEO Miguel Fragoso as Engineering Director.

    Lotus Cars Malaysia recently revised prices for its whole line-up in Malaysia and as a result it registered its best ever monthly sales this month. The Elise S is now priced at RM280k, down from RM332k, while the Evora S’s price tag was dropped from RM567k to RM476k. Global sales are on the uptrend as well, with Lotus sales increasing 31% worldwide (505 units up from 386 units) for the first financial quarter of 2014.

    Lotus is also working on a sedan and an SUV to supplement their sports cars “Porsche style”.

  • DRIVEN: Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost – jack of all trades?

    Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost 27

    When the Ford Fiesta was launched in Malaysia in 2010, the local B-segment hatchback market was still relatively quiet. Back then, its only real rivals were the less well-equipped Mazda2 (the outgoing model) and previous-gen Suzuki Swift – the cheapest Honda Jazz and Volkswagen Polo were still north of RM100k and there were no tax-free hybrids to steal the little Ford’s lunch money. Smitten by the reasonable price, attractive Euro styling and sharp handling, buyers flocked to the Fiesta in droves.

    What a difference four years make. In the interim, the duty-exempt CBU B-segment hybrids have come and gone, the Honda Jazz and Volkswagen Polo are both now locally-assembled and priced squarely to compete with the Fiesta, and the Peugeot 208 and cheaper models such as the Mitsubishi Mirage have also joined the party.

    Hoping to battle the influx of new rivals, Ford has introduced an EcoBoost variant for the facelifted Fiesta, fitted with a tiny 1.0 litre three-cylinder engine. Despite the considerably smaller motor, the price has gone up by over RM9.3k over the 1.5 Sport, now sitting at RM93,888. Has the company gone too far down the downsizing route, or will the newfangled mill make the Fiesta appealing again?

    Read The Full Story ›

  • Malaysia to explain new Singapore toll fees – report


    Government officials from Malaysia will meet with those from Singapore to explain the reasons behind the implementation of toll charges at the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex, The Star has reported.

    According to minister in the Prime Minister’s department Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong, Malaysia’s transport and foreign ministries will meet Singaporean officials as soon as possible to convince the republic to reconsider its decision to hike toll fees on its side of the Causeway from October 1.

    “We have to meet them personally to rectify their perception that Malaysia introduced a new charge at the CIQ to pay the concessionaire and to upgrade the Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL) and it should not be an excuse for them (Singapore) to increase their toll charge,” The Star quoted him as saying.


    Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) recently announced that from October 1, Singapore’s toll charges for all vehicles, except motorcycles, leaving Singapore through the Causeway, will be increased to mirror the increase on the Malaysian side in July.

    The LTA said that it has been “a long-standing policy” for Singapore to match its toll charges at the Causeway and Second Link to those set by Malaysia. It also said Singapore will follow suit should Malaysia reduce or do away with the toll charges.

    Wee said Singapore’s hiking of toll fees at its checkpoint to match those of Malaysia’s is unjustified, and the meeting is aimed at clearing the air over the issue.

  • Lamborghini teases new mystery car for Paris


    Lamborghini is set to introduce a new model in October at the 2014 Paris motor show. Judging from the sole image, the car appears to break away from the styling themes of current Lamborghini models, featuring a sloping roofline and a more conventional profile.

    With the tagline, ‘Once perfection is achieved, you can just double it’ accompanying the teaser shot, do not be surprised if Lamborghini decides to shock everyone with a potential 2+2 model to sit alongside the more extreme Huracan and Aventador models.

    Whatever it is, Lamborghini remains tight-lipped about the car as a whole. Here’s a snippet of our past experience with the Aventador to whet your appetite for the impending reveal. The 2014 Paris motor show can’t come soon enough.

  • Volvo XC90 R-Design; cosmetic upgrades for new SUV

    The all-new Volvo XC90 R-Design

    Fresh from its recent global debut, the new Volvo XC90 has been showcased with the R-Design kit. To those who need a refresher course, R-Design is Volvo’s line of aesthetic upgrades – similar in concept to BMW’s M Sport line, Audi’s S Line and Mercedes-Benz’s AMG trimlines.

    Changes are only purely cosmetic, with no upgrades to the drivetrain whatsoever. At the front, there is a redesigned, deeper front bumper along with a different grille design. The roof rails, side mirrors and window surrounds are now trimmed in a matte-like silver treatment.

    The all-new Volvo XC90 R-Design

    The rear sports a mildly restyled rear bumper with integrated, rectangular twin exhaust pipes at each end. Wheel sizes are now 20-inch in diameter with two distinct five-spoke designs available to choose from.

    Inside, the car is now fitted with Contour sport seats while a smattering of R-Design badges serves as a constant reminder that this is no ordinary XC90. A perforated leather steering wheel and gearknob complete the interior upgrades.

    While the R-Design treatment itself doesn’t have quite a presence amongst local buyers, the XC90 itself has been well-received around the world and is slated to arrive on our shores in the near future.

  • Renault Fluence ZE planned for production in China


    Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn has told Reuters that the electric-powered Fluence (known as the Renault Fluence ZE) is being planned for production in China.

    The proposal is being discussed with Chinese authorities, and if the government gives the green light, Renault will build the car for a Chinese brand, he said, according to the news agency.

    He didn’t say what Chinese brand, but Renault has a joint-venture in China with Dongfeng Motor Corporation. Dongfeng-Renault finally received approval in December to locally assemble Renault cars in the People’s Republic, after a gruelling 10 years of operation.

    But the Renault Fluence ZE hasn’t exactly been flying off the shelves – according to JATO Dynamics, less than 60 units found European homes in the first half of 2014, Reuters reports.

    A few soldiers from the French carmaker’s all-electric ZE (Zero Emissions) army are here in Malaysia – Fluence ZE, Twizy and Zoe – none of which you can buy at the moment.

    Built in Turkey, the Fluence ZE arrived here quite some time ago to undergo trials, and while there has been little word of it since, its 2.0 litre petrol-powered sibling launched here in May.

  • Fiat signs MoU with Mitsubishi to develop pickup truck

    Rendering of Fiat pickup truck by Theophilus Chin

    We first reported the possiblity of this in June this year, but now it’s official – Fiat has announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Mitsubishi Motors Corporation on the possibility of developing and manufacturing a mid-sized pickup truck.

    The pickup truck will be supplied by Mitsubishi, and will be based on the next generation L200, which is known as the Triton in Malaysia. The vehicle will likely be sold by the Fiat Professional commercial vehicle arm. Fiat Professional is seen by analysts as a bright spot in Europe – it has returned 200-300 million euro in annual operational profits for the last 10 years, compared to the rest of Fiat which is in the red.

    This is not the first time Fiat has tried to roll out a mid-sized pickup truck. It was due to arrive in 2008 based on the Tata Xenon platform, but that did not work out.

    Then in 2010, there was word that it would be built on the Dodge/Ram Dakota (coincidentally Mitsubishi used this to build the Mitsubishi Raider), but that didn’t happen either, and that truck model was discontinued because trucks of that size is apparently too small for the US market.

  • Mercedes-Benz W205 C 63 AMG to get 510 hp, 700 Nm

    Mercedes-AMG have announced the first details of their next AMG car – the new C 63 AMG based on the W205 C-Class. According to AMG, the car will raise the bar in terms of performance and fuel consumption, and will be launched “shortly”.

    As expected, the 4.0 litre twin turbo V8 from the Mercedes-AMG GT will go into the new W205 AMG’s engine bay in even more powerful tune than what’s found in the GT – 510 hp and 700 Nm. As a comparison, the engine in the GT starts off with 456 hp and 600 Nm and tops out at 503 hp and 650 Nm for the GT S.

    The quoted figures are higher than its rivals – the M3/M4’s 431 hp and 550 Nm, and the Lexus RC F’s 470 hp and 530 Nm. Of course, the W204 C 63 AMG’s normally aspirated 6.2 litre V8 already beat those two cars in terms of power and torque (487 hp, 600 Nm) but the new W205 AMG increases the power gap and promises better fuel efficiency.


    Fuel economy is expected to be 8.2 litres per 100 km on the NEDC combined cycle, which beats the M3’s 8.3 litre NEDC rating by 0.1 litres. It’s a giant improvement from the outgoing normally aspirated engine’s 12 litres per 100 km rating. From a Malaysian perspective, a significantly lower displacement at 4.0 litres also promises lower road tax costs.

    “It goes without saying that the successor to the current C 63 AMG will again be powered by an eight-cylinder engine. We owe that to our loyal fans, plain and simple. The AMG V8 Biturbo engine mesmerises not only with maximum power and torque, but also with the absolute best fuel economy in the comparative segment,“ says Tobias Moers, CEO of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.

    Both sedan and wagon versions of the C 63 AMG will debut together. The W205 C-Class currently tops out as a 333 horsepower C 400, but we’ve also seen a C 450 AMG Sport on test.

  • Renault Megane RS 265 Sport: facelift debuts, RM200k

    Renault Megane RS265 FL 1

    TC Euro Cars has officially introduced the facelifted Renault Megane RS 265 Sport in Malaysia. The facelift first appeared last month in a RS 265 Cup version, showcased at the launch of the Malaysia Super GT race series. As the suffix suggests, this is the Sport variant, not the one that sits on the Cup chassis – word is that the RS 265 Cup version will arrive at a later point.

    The new look, which premiered in Frankfurt last year, sees the Megane now wearing the brand’s family face, in line with models such as the new Clio RS and facelifted Koleos.

    The front gets a more prominent Renault diamond logo placed on a gloss black background, set on to a new grille. The bumper is new too, as are the projector headlights, which feature gloss black “eyelids.” Also on, a F1 blade fitted on the bumper, in a nod to the company’s F1 heritage and success. Only a single exterior colour is listed for the Sport variant – Glacier White.

    The Megane RS 265 Sport comes dressed with a Red Pack, which provides accents in the said shade. Outside, the front lip, side mouldings and rear spoiler go the route, while inside, certain trim bits go the red route, as do the seat belts and stitching.

    No mechanical changes – the new car has the same running gear as seen in the pre-facelift, in this case a 2.0 litre four-cylinder turbo offering 265 hp and 360 Nm, paired with a six-speed manual. Performance figures include a 0-100 km/h time of 6.0 seconds and a 250 km/h top speed.

    Standard equipment includes Carbon Grey RS fabric front sports seats, Brembo four-pot front brake calipers, R.S. Monitor 1.0, auto headlights/wipers, auto air-conditioning and multi-mode drive select (Normal/Sport/ESP Off).

    In case you were wondering the difference between the Sport and Cup versions of the Megane RS, the Sport loses the sportier seats of the Cup, the limited slip differential and has a softer suspension setup.

    The RS 265 Sport sits on 18-inch Tibor dark anthracite wheels and Dunlop SP Sport Maxx 225/40 profile tyres (same size as the pre-FL Cup, but an inch smaller than that equipping the Trophy).

    It’s also a cheaper proposition than its Cup sibling – the Megane RS 265 Sport is priced at RM199,999, on-the-road without insurance, making it nearly RM36k cheaper than the pre-FL RS 265 Cup that was launched here in January last year.


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