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  • GIIAS 2017: Jakarta’s ceweks are sweeter than es teler

    It’s hard work, but someone’s got to do it. Photographer Sherman Sim and myself can say that with a straight face, although there’s high chance you won’t believe us after this post, which signs off our 2017 Gaikindo Indonesia International Auto Show (GIIAS) live coverage in regular fashion.

    We both came home with sharp shoulder pain – his was from lugging heavy camera equipment, mine was from being in a desk typing position all day – but this was a good haul with plenty of fresh and interesting/relevant displays at ICE BSD. We are of course talking about the cars.

    As is tradition, Daihatsu brought out some concept cars for an Indonesian motor show, but things were slightly different this time around. The compact car specialist and major player in ASEAN’s biggest market usually shows off tiny hatchbacks and MPVs, but the DN F-Sedan is a gorgeous four-door coupe of a sedan, perhaps in preparation for a day when taxes for sedans are reduced to MPV levels.

    Less surprising was the DN Multisix, a large MPV that could preview something more posh than the Toyota Avanza/Daihatsu Sigra. Both sedan and MPV concepts share a family look and the designs are much cleaner than previous efforts, from what I can remember of ADM’s concept catalogue. Another tradition is JDM showcars, and we had dressed up versions of the Daihatsu Canbus and Thor this year.

    The Mitsubishi Xpander was the most popular car with the paying public, hands down. MMC’s entry into the core Low MPV segment (Avanza, Honda Mobilio, Suzuki Ertiga) boasts bold, SUV-style design, and this seven-seater will also be exported to ASEAN next year, including Malaysia.

    Honda launched the new FK8 Civic Type R for the local market, and Honda Malaysia joined the party by bringing a group of journalists to witness the event – our test drive in Germany, plus this, would surely mean that the FWD King of the Ring is coming soon to our shores. Toyota launched the Voxy MPV and Fortuner TRD Sportivo domestically, and showed off a wild Sienta Ezzy design experiment. The second-generation Mazda CX-5 was also launched at GIIAS, ahead of Malaysia.

    We also showed you some fun Suzuki Ignis concepts (so much cooler than the newly-launched Suzuki Baleno), the Datsun Go Live concept and the Mercedes-Benz E350e plug-in hybrid that will be launching soon in Malaysia. The hardcore Mercedes-AMG GT R was also in town.

    Lexus showcased its new flamboyant flagship, the fifth-gen Lexus LS in 500h form. Instead of being a dull alternative to the German establishment, the new LS is for those who want to make a statement. Its impressive tech fights the extravagant interior for headline billing, but for us, the latter wins thanks to door panels that look like dragon wings.

    On the other end of the scale is the Wuling Confero, the first fruit of SAIC-GM’s Indonesian factory. The 7/8 seater is a Low MPV, but with pricing close to LCGC levels. Nothing new from Nissan, which brought a JDM Note e-Power range expander hybrid as tech showcase.

    That’s the recap of the reason we were at GIIAS 2017. Do catch up and browse the hundreds of high-res images of the cars. But because petrol prices are up again this week, you might first want to be soothed by the sweet smiles of Jakarta’s cewek cantik. You’re welcome.

     
  • BARU: Artikel terkini dalam Bahasa Malaysia

  • 2017 MV Agusta motorcycles get Euro 4 compliance

    With Euro 4 emissions control being compulsory for motorcycles in 2017, Italian motorcycle maker MV Agusta, sometimes in the news for the wrong reasons, has said its inline three-cylinder models – the full-fairing F3 675 and F3 800 sports bikes, as well as the Dragster RR naked sports, are now compliant. Euro 4 standards require a reduction of exhaust gas and noise emissions by 50% and 48%, respectively, over Euro 3.

    While a reduction in power is usually expected from meeting new emissions standards, MV Agusta claims the F3 675 still manages to meet the previous claimed power figures of 128 hp at 14,500 rpm and 71 Nm of torque at 10,600 rpm. Meanwhile, the F3 800 is said to pump out 148 hp at 13,000 rpm, with a peak torque of 88 Nm at 10,600 rpm.

    Other upgrades to the F3-series machines include a revised Motor & Vehicle Integrated Control System (MVICS) with enhancements to engine management algorithms and ride-by-wire efficiency. This means the relationship between throttle twist and power delivery on the F3 bikes is more efficient and direct.

    Also in compliance with Euro 4 is the Dragster RR, which puts out 140 hp at 13,100 rpm and a maximum torque of 86 Nm at 10,100 rpm. Innovations introduced for the MV Agusta F3 range are shared with the Dragster RR, with new fuel mapping specific to this model, and eight-level traction control, along with an upgraded EAS 2.0 electronic shifter.

    In Malaysia, the 2017 MV Agusta F3 675 and F3 800 models are not available at the moment. However, the MV Agusta Brutale 800 Dragster RR is on sale at a price of RM112,771, including GST, but excluding road tax, insurance and registration.

     
  • August 2017 week three fuel prices – petrol up again

    It’s time once again for another mid-week fuel price announcement, and after several weeks of unfavourable updates, it’s a mix of good and bad news this time around.

    From tomorrow, August 17, RON 95 petrol will be priced at RM2.15 per litre (up three sen from RM2.12 per litre last week), while RON 97 petrol is priced at RM2.43 per litre (up four sen from RM2.39 per last week).

    As for Euro 2M diesel, it retails at the pump for RM2.04 per litre (down two sen from RM2.06 per litre last week) this week, while Euro 5 diesel will go for RM2.14 per litre (down two sen from RM2.16 per litre last week). These prices take effect from 12.01am until August 23, when the next round of fuel prices will be announced.

     
  • Moto Guzzi Flagship Centre opens in Petaling Jaya

    With the return of italian motorcycle brand Moto Guzzi to Malaysian shores, and the recent launch of the V7 and V9 series of transverse V-twins, Moto Guzzi has launched its flagship centre in Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Located in The Gasket Alley in the heart of Petaling Jaya, this centre provides sales and service to Guzzi customers.

    The service centre is staffed with mechanics trained by Moto Guzzi, and headed by Azman Jaafar, while Mark Ng leads the sales team. Aside from the flagship centre in Petaling Jaya, Moto Guzzi also has a dealer in Penang, Sheng Fatt Motor, with plans for two more dealers to be appointed next year in other locations.

    “With the reintroduction of Moto Guzzi to Malaysia, we intend to bring in a new core of riders who appreciate the classic design of Moto Guzzi,” said Simone Niccolai, managing director of Asia Pacific 2 Wheeler, Piaggio Asia Pacific. “We also believe that the location of the Moto Guzzi flagship centre in The Gasket Alley will provide riders with a different experience, a one-stop centre for everything motorcycle,” he added.

     
  • Toyota and Lexus to showcase next-gen automated driving features at 2020 Tokyo Olympics – report

    As a top global sponsor of the Olympics, Toyota is set to showcase its next-generation automated driving features – set to appear in Toyota and Lexus models starting next year – at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, along with other prototypes of technology coming in the next decade, according to Automotive News.

    “We want to show a high-spec technology as a showcase,” said executive general manager for autonomous driving Ken Koibuchi. The company intends to put automated city driving on the road by the early 2020s, with priority being placed on safety first, then convenience.

    The announcement follows the footsteps of Nissan, which claimed last year that its cars would be capable of automated driving through city intersections by 2020. Honda also stated in June that it targets Level 4 autonomous driving in city streets by 2025.

    Toyota’s use of the term “automated” – as recommended by the United States’ National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – rather than “autonomous” to describe its technology is intended to avoid instilling the driver with a false sense of security, said Koibuchi.

    The official terminology of Toyota’s vision of automated driving, Mobility Teammate Concept, hints at a partnership between car and driver, with the latter dictating when they will hand off control.

    Koibuchi said that before true autonomous driving can be achieved, there is still plenty of technical hurdles that need to be overcome, such as the introduction of lidar sensors. Falling costs of these scanners will mean that they will be incorporated into production Toyotas in the “near future,” he added.

    Another problem is the lack of high-definition mapping – even though the Japanese government has embarked on a widespread effort to map the country’s road network, only a portion of its highways are finished. Koibuchi said that most of Japan’s highways will be mapped in time for the 2020 Olympics, so the goal of delivering highway autonomous driving should be achievable by then.

    However, Koibuchi added that providing a same level of mapping on Japan’s sprawling city streets won’t be so easy. “Surface roads are a huge task,” he said.

     
  • RFID gateless gantry toll system for electronic toll collection to be implemented from January 2018

    Two years ago, it was reported that there were plans to implement a gateless gantry toll system for electronic toll collection (ETC) starting from 2018, and this was set to be based along Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) lines.

    At that point, the RFID-based system was briefly sighted undergoing trials, in May 2015 on a PLUS SmartTag lane at the Batu Tiga toll plaza, and it was also reported that the system had quietly been undergoing testing at the Ampang-Kuala Lumpur Elevated Highway (AKLEH), Elite Expressway and New Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE) over an extended period.

    A multi-lane free-flow RFID gateless gantry was then spotted at Technology Park Malaysia (TPM) later that year, presumably also running field trials.

    Now, the digital payment system is finally set for deployment, starting from next year. According to a Sin Chew Daily report, the RFID-based ETC system began a pilot test programme yesterday, ahead of public operations commencing on January 28, 2018.

    The pilot programme will involve only selected vehicles – presently, police vehicles are trialling the system, which will share a SmartTag-based lane at eight toll plazas in the Klang Valley, but the report adds that fire department vehicles and ambulances will soon have access.

    Malaysian Highway Authority (MHA) director-general Datuk Ismail Md Salleh said that the RFID tag will be more advanced than the existing ETC system, and that it will work just like a Touch ‘n Go card, where the charge is debited from the motorist’s pre-load just like Touch ‘n Go.

    He added that the system – similar in scope to Singapore’s Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) – will be ready for public use by motorists on January 28 next year, though implementation will be carried out in stages. It is expected that RFID tag will eventually take over from Touch ‘n Go for toll collection in the future, though that will likely take some time.

    Radio frequency identification works in a manner similar to barcode scanning. The tag is ‘read’ by an overhead scanner through electromagnetic waves with a frequency of between 850 and 950 MHz, and scanning can reach ranges of over 27 metres, with a 10 millisecond response time. Operation-wise, RFID tag will be superior in both amplitude and consistency compared to the current system.

    It wasn’t reported which tech partners will be providing the RFID system for series use. The system on the 2015 test gantry at TPM listed Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Quatriz, so it could well be these companies. In October 2013, MHI announced that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Touch’n Go and Quatriz System to develop intelligent transportation systems (ITS) in the country.

     
  • Chery to launch new nameplate for Europe – new compact SUV to be its first model, debuts in Frankfurt

    Chinese carmaker Chery will begin selling passenger vehicles in Europe within the next few years, but it won’t be doing so under the ‘Chery’ nameplate. Instead, it will introduce a new brand for that purpose, with a compact SUV being the first of model to be introduced under it.

    The vehicle will be revealed in pre-production form for the first time during the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show in September, with the company releasing a few teaser images to build some hype.

    In the images, we see an SUV with a bold face that appears to be inspired by Mercedes-Benz’s diamond grille, although this one blends into the lower apron. There are also LED headlights that are linked by light guides, large corner intakes and a lower bumper guard.

    Things are a little less dramatic when it viewing the SUV from the side, with the main point of interest being the sculpted rear wheelarches, highlighted by distinct lines. We also get to see some slender taillights and a set of pretty conventional-looking wheels.

    According to Chery, the new SUV is “designed for young, urban, progressive-minded customers,” which likely involves stuffing as much tech into their vehicles as possible. A glimpse of the SUV’s dashboard appears to reinforce that thinking, as we see multiple connectivity options for the infotainment system, and some pretty modern switchgear.

    The new brand will sell a range of hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and battery electric vehicles, so expect the SUV to be fitted with any one of those powertrains. “In just a few years we intend to start selling a family of vehicles in European markets across multiple segments, with power supplied by a range of electrified powertrains,” explains Anning Chen, CEO of Chery.

    “All Chery vehicles sold in Europe will feature class-leading connectivity, be fun to drive, offer flexible and spacious interiors and will provide comprehensive personalisation, all of which are aligned with our high standards of product quality and aftersales support,” he added.

    In preparation for the new brand’s introduction, Chery is evaluating the sales opportunity in key markets, with plans to set up a European sales operation in cooperation with import and distribution partners. New design and R&D facilities will also be established in Europe to accelerate Chery’s plan for global expansion.

     
  • Geely’s Q1 profit more than doubles with Volvo input

    Chinese carmaker Geely has reported solid sales and profit for the first half of 2017. Q1 2017 profit more than doubled, the sharpest jump in eight years, thanks to well-received China domestic models designed with its Swedish unit Volvo, Reuters reports.

    The Hangzhou-based carmaker, which also has a stake in Malaysian carmaker Proton, shifted a good number of the GC9 sedan and Boyue SUV in China, where auto sales growth has of late softened.

    “So far in 2017, the group’s performance has exceeded management’s original expectations despite a generally weaker market in China during the same period,” the company said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

    Net profit stood at 4.34 billion yuan (RM2.79 billion), 128% higher than the 1.91 billion yuan the company made in the same period last year and beating estimates. This was underpinned by sales that jumped 89%

    Sales jumped 89% in the first seven months of the year, which led to Geely raising its full year sales target by 10% to 1.1 million units in 2017. That’s a huge jump from the 766,000 vehicles Geely sold in 2016.

    The main driver is domestic sales. The business environment in key export markets such as Eastern Europe and the Middle East remained weak, Geely says, and it expects no change for the rest of 2017.

    In the future, Geely will deploy the new Lynk & Co brand in developed markets such as Western Europe and the US. Earlier this month, Geely completed the formation of two new joint ventures with Volvo to co-operate on automotive technologies, purchasing and the future development of the Lynk & Co brand.

    “These joint ventures will create significant value for our automotive brands. We aim to deliver global economies of scale by facilitating closer cooperation between our brands on shared vehicle architectures, powertrain development and electrification, while offering synergies that will enable Lynk & Co to achieve its full potential,” Geely chairman Li Shufu said at the JV’s signing ceremony in Hangzhou.

    The hot-selling Boyue (it was launched in March 2016, but demand still outstrips supply today) will be the base of Proton’s first ever SUV that will debut next year. We’ve driven the Boyue, and you can read our first impressions report.

    GALLERY: Geely Boyue

     
  • Vehicles parked near KL2017 roads to be towed: police

    Vehicles parked near roads involved in the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games (KL2017) will be towed away by the police, according to a Bernama report. This move is to avoid incidences of massive congestion at 20 event venues throughout the SEA Games, and will have the assistance of Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), said Kuala Lumpur police chief Datuk Amar Singh.

    “Road users are advised not to use their private vehicles to go to the venues of the 29th SEA Games and should instead use public transport to avoid traffic congestion,” he said. The penalty for offending will be a RM300 compound, in addition to a RM50 daily parking fee and a RM100 towing charge. If said vehicles aren’t claimed by their owners, the vehicles will be auctioned off, Amar added.

    Said towed vehicles will be towed away to the nearest police station before they are taken to the Sungai Besi Traffic Investigation and Enforcement Department (JSPT) for further action. Meanwhile, 1,098 JSPT staff will monitor and control traffic flow by making deviations or road closures along the affected routes.

    The road closure will only be conducted at KL Sports City from the Sukom interchange towards Jalan Merah Cagar beginning Aug 14, from 6am until the event finishes, and no road closure will be permanent at the other venues, he said. Congestion is also expected on routes heading toward event venues and athlete accommodation.

    JSPT personnel will be deployed along routes to the SEA Games athletes’ accommodation, which include Jalan Ampang, Jalan Tun Razak, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Jalan Imbi, Jalan Raja Chulan, Jalan Pinang, Lebuhraya Maju Expressway (MEX), KL-Seremban Highway and the Federal Highway.

    The KL2017 edition of the SEA Games concludes on August 30.

     
  • SPIED: Next-gen Audi Q3 spotted in prototype form

    Development of the second-generation Audi Q3 is well underway, with a prototype being sighted undergoing testing by our spy photographers. The Q3 will join Audi’s other second-generation SUVs like the Q5 and Q7, as well as the Q2 and upcoming Q8.

    Design wise, the new Q3 appears to follow the evolutionary route similar to more recent Audi models like the latest Q5. A wider, eight-corner Singleframe grille, sharper headlights and redesigned bumper are among the revisions at the front.

    Moving towards the rear, the side mirror are now mounted on the doors instead, and there’s a more prominent shoulder line down the sides of the SUV. The tailgate is also new here, with half of the more angular, two-piece taillights being placed within its area.

    The new Q3 will likely utilise the well-known MQB platform, which is also used on other Volkswagen Group products like the Volkswagen Tiguan, Skoda Kodiaq and Seat Ateca. With its new underpinnings, the Q3 should be lighter and stiffer than before, as well as offer better interior space.

    Electrification is also another benefit to be gained from the platform, with reports indicating an all-electric (e-tron) and plug-in hybrid version of the Q3 could be in the works, with the former’s powertrain being lifted from the latest e-Golf.

    On the internal combustion engine side, the Q3 should be offered with a range of petrol and diesel engines, mated to either a manual or dual-clutch automatic transmission. As with the outgoing model, a high-performance RS Q3 will come later on, powered by five-cylinder TFSI engine.

    Other enhancements associated with the new Q3 will be Audi’s Virtual Cockpit display, the latest version of the MMI infotainment system, inductive smartphone charging and a full suite of connectivity functions.

    GALLERY: First-generation Audi Q3 facelift in Malaysia

     
 

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Last Updated 17 Aug 2017


 

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