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  • Mercedes-Benz C350e plug-in hybrid RM299k pricing to complement existing range – MBM vice president

    Mercedes-Benz C 350 e 2

    By now, many of you would have known that the BMW 330e iPerformance plug-in hybrid has officially been launched last Friday with a competitive price tag of RM248,800 on-the-road without insurance. Many have been wondering why its rival, the upcoming Mercedes-Benz C 350 e, has been given indicative pricing that is some RM50k higher – despite also being classified as an Energy Efficient Vehicle (EEV) – at RM299,000.

    Mercedes-Benz Malaysia (MBM) vice president for sales and marketing Mark Raine has been on the record to set things straight – speaking to paultan.org, he said that the higher pricing of the C 350 e was meant to complement the existing lineup.

    “At the moment we have got the C 180 at RM228k, the C 200 at RM248k for the Avantgarde and RM252k for the Exclusive, the C 250 AMG Line at RM287k and the C 300 at RM308k,” Raine said. “So the C 350 e is going to come at RM299k and we’re going to take the C 300 out of the portfolio.

    Clockwise from top left: C 180 Avantgarde, C 200 Avantgarde, C 250 AMG Line and C 300 AMG Line

    “We’ve carefully thought, should we leave the C 250 in our portfolio? Yes, we decided, because there are obvious reasons why customers would decide to go for the C 250 or the C 350 e.”

    Raine also said that while the C 350 e will be more expensive than the 330e, the company did not want to compete with the BMW price-wise, as it has a different strategy of promoting value for money. “In comparison to our direct competitor, the C 350 e is a bit more expensive,” he said.

    “That is right, but what we didn’t want to do with this vehicle was to bring a price leader to the market. We didn’t want to bring the vehicle with the most attractive price tag. Our mindset for this vehicle is that we want sell value. This vehicle has so many USPs and is so benchmarked in this segment,” Raine added, referring to the higher amount of equipment that the C 350 e will carry.

    BMW_330e_Ext-2

    The BMW 330e iPerformance will retail around RM50,000 less than the C 350 e

    Those include most of the kit seen on the C 300, including a full AMG exterior and interior styling package, 19-inch AMG multispoke alloy wheels, a panoramic sliding sunroof, the 590 W, 13-speaker Burmester surround sound system and Thermotronic three-zone automatic climate control. Additional features include Airmatic air suspension, a 360-degree camera system and a climate pre-conditioning system that will allow you to programme the climate control to turn on at a preset time.

    Propulsion will come from the ubiquitous 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine in a similar tune to the C 250, making 211 hp and 350 Nm of torque. Providing additional power is an 80 hp/340 Nm electric motor sandwiched between the engine and the 7G-Tronic Plus seven-speed automatic transmission, resulting in a total system output of 279 hp and 600 Nm.

    As a result, the C 350 e will go from 0-100 km/h in just 5.9 seconds, while combined fuel consumption is rated at 2.1 litres per 100 km on the European NEDC cycle. The car has an all-electric range of 31 km, with a maximum speed of 130 km/h in this mode. Carbon dioxide emissions sit at just 48 grammes per kilometre.

    The electric motor is juiced by a 6.2 kWh high-voltage water-cooled lithium-ion battery fitted at the rear of the car, resulting in a stepped boot floor and reduced luggage space from 475 litres to 335 litres. Charging time is around 1 hour 45 minutes through the wallbox or around two hours using a standard 230 V domestic socket. The charging port is located under the right tail light.

     
  • Kymco patents 650 cc middle-weight motorcycle design based on Kawasaki’s ER-6N naked sportsbike

    2016 Kymco 650 (3)

    A patent filing from Taiwanese scooter manufacturer Kymco shows a 650 cc, two-cylinder naked sports bike that is strikingly similar to Kawasaki’s ER-6n. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as Kawasaki and Kymco have a long-standing manufacturing relationship.

    The 2016 Kawasaki J300 scooter is based on Kymco’s Downtown 300i scooter, and Kymco also manufactures ATVs for Kawasaki. Should this middle-weight naked sports bike make it into production, it will be Kymco’s first “big” motorcycle.

    Apparent changes from the ER-6n include upside down forks, and the substitution of a trellis frame for Kawasaki’s tubular perimeter unit. The 2016 Kawasaki ER-6n carries a 649 cc DOHC parallel-twin with four-valves per cylinder that pumps out 72.1 PS at 8,500 rpm and 64 Nm torque at 7,000 rpm.

    Fuelling is by EFI with dual-throttle valves, and power goes through a six-speed gearbox. The ER-6n weighs a claimed 204 kg, with dual-hydraulic brake discs in front and a single disc at the rear.

    Seat height on the Kawasaki ER-6n is a very reasonable 805 mm, and we have no reason to believe Kymco’s version might be that far different. In Malaysia, the Kawasaki ER-6n retails for RM34,509 including GST, while the fully-faired ER-6f – which uses the same running gear and engine – goes for approximately RM37,389, including GST. Two colour choices are available, black and red.


    GALLERY: 2016 Kawasaki ER-6n

     
  • Toyota aims to sell 30k fuel cell cars per year by 2020

    2016 Toyota Mirai Japan 4

    This is a car that doesn’t need fuel and releases nothing but water from its tailpipe, but it’s no mere flight of fancy. Toyota started production of the Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle (FCV) in March 2015, and the zero-emissions machine is now sold across the world.

    Toyota has big plans for the Mirai and clearly sees hydrogen fuel cell vehicles as “the future of driving,” even as its market leading hybrids hold the fossil fuel fort today. The big T seems to be skipping conventional electric vehicles, even as rivals – most notably Renault-Nissan – put their eggs in the EV basket.

    The carmaker’s focus on the environment is a main theme of the ongoing 2016 Toyota Technology Media Event in Japan, and the Mirai, as Toyota’s most advanced production car, is a star exhibit. The FCV, which has a 650 km range in Japan’s JC08 cycle with one tank of hydrogen (or 502 km in the more realistic US EPA cycle), is currently on sale/lease in Japan, the US and Europe, where it’s available in the UK, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Norway and the Netherlands.

    2016 Toyota Mirai Japan 5

    Toyota officials at the tech event told paultan.org that they sold 700 units of the Mirai worldwide last year, and that this year’s target is 2,000 units. The target will then climb to 3,000 in 2017. From there, the Japanese giant must be expecting a substantial rise in interest in FCVs, as the plan is to sell 30,000 units of FCVs globally per year by 2020. That’s just four years from now.

    What will be the great catalyst? Prices will tumble over time, like how it did for hybrids. There could also be a smaller (and therefore cheaper) version of the Mirai in the vein of the highly-successful Prius c/Aqua, and/or the growth of hydrogen station infrastructure as the tech gains critical mass. Currently, there are only 90 locations to fill up an FCV in Japan (it takes just three minutes to refuel a Mirai), but this number is set to grow.

    While electric car range anxiety does not affect FCVs (the Mirai’s range betters many regular ICE cars), refuelling is a hurdle. Toyota, Honda and Nissan are currently working together to develop hydrogen station infrastructure domestically.

    Click to enlarge

    In addition to partially covering the operating costs of hydrogen stations, Japan’s big three have also agreed to help infrastructure companies deliver the best possible customer service and create a convenient refueling network for owners of FCVs. The initiative is supported by the Japanese government, which has set 40k FCV sales by 2020 as a target.

    Will the target by both Toyota and Japan be met? No one will be betting big against Toyota, the company that has sold over nine million units of the Prius in less than two decades. The trailblazing Mirai could very well be the Prius of tomorrow.

    GALLERY: Toyota Mirai at the Fuji Speedway Short Course

     
  • Mitsubishi found by Japanese government to have overstated fuel economy data on eight more models

    mitsubishi-pajero-facelift-malaysia-cropped-18

    Mitsubishi’s fuel economy scandal is set to worsen after the Japanese government found that eight more Mitsubishi models did not deliver the fuel economy performance advertised by the carmaker, according to a report by the Nikkei Asian Review.

    Japan’s transport ministry will soon announce this revelation soon, and will order the carmaker to submit the correct fuel consumption figures for the affected vehicles, which have yet to be revealed. In any case, the company will likely pull the eight models from the market as it revises the data in its catalogues, a move that is expected to take around two to three weeks.

    Owners of the eight affected models could also receive cash compensation depending on the degree of difference between the government findings and the advertised figures. Back in April this year, Mitsubishi allocated 50 billion yen (around RM1.9 billion) to compensate buyers of four Mitsubishi mini-car models for a similar issue.

    The scandal has resulted in the company losing its two top executives, including its president Tetsuro Aikawa, and has turned to Nissan to bail it out. In late May, Nissan acquired a 34% equity stake in Mitsubishi.

     
  • VIP number plates up for tender until September 30

    image1

    We’ve previously reported on the Pahang Tourism and Cultural Council’s application to auction the special vehicle registration series VIP 1 to VIP 9999 being approved by the transport ministry.

    Now, tenders for the the number plate series – which have generated significant interest, with cosmetics entrepreneur Datuk Seri Hasmiza Othman, better known as Datuk Vida being among those interested in a plate – have officially been opened.

    Unlike the “F” and “V” number plates, the auctions of which were handled by the Road Transport Department (JPJ), bidding for the “VIP” plates – which commemorate Visit Pahang Year 2017 – has been entrusted to the organisation itself via a company called Digital Tourism. Bids can be placed at a counter in Anggerik Mall in Shah Alam, open from 9 am to 6 pm, and applications close on September 30.

    rr vip plate

    Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Aziz Kaprawi told The Sun that the VIP plate series is similar in nature to other such vanity vehicle registration plates such as Patriot, G1M (Gagasan 1Malaysia), 1M4U (1Malaysia For Youth), Perfect and the recent NAAM (New Affirmative Action Movement), with proceeds going to NGOs.

    “This is similar to G1M, with sales proceeds from the number plates used to support the Kelab Explorasi 7 Benua Malaysia expeditions to Mount Everest, and 1M4U for the 1Malaysia for Youth movement,” he explained.

    So far, the “PATRIOT 1” number plate is the most expensive to be sold in Malaysia, fetching RM1.308 million to an undisclosed bidder. The costliest standard series number plate so far is the recently issued “F1”, which went to Sultan Ibrahim Ismail of Johor for RM836,660, topping the RM748,000 he paid for “W1N.”

     
  • Gambang toll plaza – temporary lane closure on Sept 6

    gambang tol closure

    ANIH Berhad, the concessionaire for the Kuala Lumpur-Karak Highway (KLK) and East Coast Expressway Phase 1 (LPT 1), has announced that the furthermost lane at the Gambang toll plaza (in the direction heading towards Gambang) will be temporarily closed for two days in order for surface repair work to be carried out.

    The lane, which is meant for heavy vehicles, will be closed from 8 am on September 6. The remaining four toll lanes at the plaze in the direction towards Gambang, as well as the three lanes in the direction of the LPT, will not be affected.

    During the period, highway users – especially drivers of heavy vehicles – have been asked to comply with traffic directions at the toll plaza to ensure a smooth flow of traffic as well as the safety of other road users. For updates, LPT users can follow the highway’s Facebook page or Twitter feed (@LPTTrafik).

     
  • Rapid KL announces extended bus and rail operating hours in conjunction with Merdeka Day celebrations

    In conjunction with the Merdeka Day celebrations, Rapid KL has announced that the operating hours of its rail and bus services will be extended on August 30. The move is aimed at providing convenience to those who want to travel into the city to usher in Malaysia’s 59th year of independence at Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur.

    Rail services, which include the LRT and Monorail, will operate from August 30 until 1am on August 31. Rapid KL also stated that from 8pm on August 30 to 1am on August 31, it will increase the frequency of trains on the Monorail and both LRT lines.

    However, keep in mind that only select stations will operate until 1am. These include the Masjid Jamek and Hang Tuah stations on the Sri Petaling Line, KLCC and Masjid Jamek stations on the Kelana Jaya Line, as well as the Bukit Bintang and Hang Tuah stations on the Monorail. Other stations will close following the usual timings.

    Rapid KL’s bus services will also extend operations from the Pasar Seni bus hub, with the last bus departing 15 minutes after the last train has departed. The affected bus routes are as follows:

    Rapid KL Merdeka 2016 3

    In view of the closure of several major roads in the city, Rapid KL is advising those who want to celebrate the National Day celebrations at Dataran Merdeka on August 31, to use the LRT and Monorail services.

     
  • Paris will be completely free of traffic on September 25

    Paris Car Free Day Sept 25

    Imagine a city without cars. Well, that’s precisely what will happen in Paris on September 25, 2016, from 11am to 6pm, as the City of Light will be completely free of traffic on that day. Aptly named “La Journee Sans Voiture,” which means “a day without cars,” the event is meant to highlight the issue of pollution within the city.

    Compared to the 2015 event, where only 11 of the city’s 20 arrondissements (districts) were closed, this year will see no one be allowed to drive a motorised vehicle through Paris. This includes electric cars, plus two and three-wheeled vehicles that are self-propelled. Emergency services such as ambulances and police vehicles however, are exempted for obvious reasons.

    The move will allow Parisians and visitors alike to experience the city without car pollution, noise and customary traffic jams. City Hall announced that, “after the success of the Car Free Day last year, (officials) are renewing the event, expanding the scope to multiply by five the controlled sector in central Paris.”

    Paris Car Free Day Sept 25 1

    “By repeating the occasion, the city government expects to increase citizens’ awareness of the need to limit the use of cars and to show other big cities that they can and must develop concrete measures to fight against traffic-related air pollution,” it continued. The car-free dayd is the initiative of the independent NGO Paris Sans Voiture, Collectif Citoyen.

    Other more “practical” measures to combat pollution in the city include banning vehicles made before 1997, heavy polluting vehicles such as buses, coaches and heavy transport registered before 2001 from its streets, as well as motorcycles made before 1999, from plying city roads from Monday to Friday.

    Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? Do you think such an event will be welcomed here in Malaysia?

     
  • Mazda to increase engine production capacity at Thailand powertrain plant; 100,000 units by 1H2018

    Mazda MPMT powertrain plant

    Mazda has announced that it will invest 22.1 billion yen (about RM876 million) to increase the annual production capacity of its engine assembly plant at Mazda Powertrain Manufacturing Thailand (MPMT) in Chomburi, Thailand, to 100,000 units in the first half of 2018.

    According to Mazda, the annual production capacity of MPMT’s engine assembly plant, which began full-scale production in October 2015, is 30,000 units annually. The plant currently manufactures the 1.5 litre SkyActiv-D diesel and 1.3 litre SkyActiv-G petrol engines, both of which are shipped to Auto Alliance (Thailand) for use in the Mazda 2.

    Additionally, the company also revealed that it plans to construct a new engine machining factory with production capacity similar to that of the engine assembly plant. This will allow for a more comprehensive production in Thailand that includes vehicle bodies, engines and transmissions.

    2016 Mazda CX-5 2.0L 2WD High Spec facelift 1

    The 2.0 litre SkyActiv-G will be added to the list of engines the plant will produce, allowing for export of engines to vehicle production sites in the ASEAN countries of Malaysia and Vietnam to begin. In Malaysia, both the Mazda 3 and CX-5 are currently CKD models, and will likely be fitted with the Thai-made 2.0 litre SkyActiv-G petrol engines in the future.

    “Enhancing Mazda’s comprehensive production system in Thailand is a key initiative in our effort to strengthen global production,” said Masatoshi Maruyama, Mazda’s managing executive officer in charge of Global Production.

    “By increasing production capacity and starting up the new engine machining factory as scheduled with quality assured, Mazda intends to further develop MPMT as its first overseas hub for engine export, thereby improving our global production efficiency and contributing to the development of Thailand’s automotive industry,” he added.

     
  • Perodua Bezza – 10,000 delivered, 25,000 bookings

    Perodua Bezza 10,000 10

    Perodua has handed over the 10,000th unit of its car of the moment, the Perodua Bezza. The lucky owner, Zetty Aswani Fazwin Mahrol Fazwin, collected her keys from Perodua Sentral today, marking a significant milestone for the national carmaker.

    “We thank Puan Zetty for choosing Perodua as your brand of choice and Bezza as your car of choice,” said Perodua Sales Sdn Bhd (PSSB) managing director Zahari Husin. “We are currently working to ensure timely delivery of all our models to our valued customers.”

    The company also revealed that it has accrued over 25,000 orders of its first ever sedan model since bookings were opened on July 16. Out of the 10,000 units that have been delivered, 44% were of the range-topping 1.3L Advance model, while the 1.3L Premium X model with the automatic transmission made up 43% of sales. Only 3% were made up of the manual Premium X variant.

    The 1.0L Standard model, surprisingly, hasn’t been so well received – just 9% of sales were made up of the automatic variant, while the manual made up a minuscule 1%. Perodua president and CEO Datuk Aminar Rashid Salleh acknowledged that sales of the base model was not hitting targets, but added that with the waiting list for the 1.3 litre variants stretching up to 30 days, prospective buyers may make the switch.

    Perodua Bezza 10,000 2

    “For the month of July, we delivered over 2,600 Bezza in the 10-day period it was launched,” said Zahari. “So far in August, we have delivered 7,400 units and we will maximise delivery for the convenience of our customers.” The new car already makes up a not-insignificant proportion of Perodua’s sales, which hit 112,500 units in the first seven months of the year – 35.4% of the total industry volume (TIV) of 317,900 units.

    The Bezza is offered to Malaysians in a total of five variants, with prices (including insurance) starting at the RM37,300 mark, and going all the way up to RM50,800. Two engines are available here – 1.0 litre VVT-i and 1.3 litre Dual VVT-i – mated to either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic.

    For those who want to know more about the Bezza, do check out our comprehensive launch report and review of Perodua’s first-ever sedan model. Alternatively, we’ve also prepared a walk-around video tour of the range-topping 1.3 Advance model here.

     
 

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