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  • Proton was a success, not a failure – PM Tun Mahathir

    Prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has claimed that Proton was not a failure and had achieved much success while it was under good management, according to a report by Bernama.

    Speaking at a dialogue session in the United Kingdom recently, the premiere said the national carmaker had at one point accumulated RM4 billion in reserves, allowing it to build a plant in Tanjung Malim without any financial assistance from the government or banks.

    He added that Proton was a success until foreign cars were allowed to enter the country without (or with very little) restrictions but Malaysian-made cars were not allowed to be sold in some of these foreign countries due to the conditions imposed on imports.

    “It’s all about importing their cars not exporting our cars. And of course, if you don’t export your cars you don’t earn foreign exchange. If you keep buying foreign cars then you will lose a lot of money every year,” he noted.

    Focusing on the proposed third national car project, Mahathir stated the government did not have the money to fund the project and will have to request parties in the private sector to get it done. “Then you developed vendors, produce businesses producing parts as there are many (car) parts that will create jobs for the people and a lot of business for small businesses,” he added.

    The project has attracted its fair share of proponents as well as detractors, with the former claiming it will help encourage the growth of the country’s economy and engineering capability. It has been previously reported that should a third national car project take off, Japanese carmakers would be roped in to provide assistance.

     
  • Singapore competition watchdog slaps Grab, Uber with RM39 mil fine – merger “reduced competition”

    Singapore’s anti-trust watchdog, the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) has slapped ride-hailing firms Grab and Uber with a combined fine of US$9.5 million (RM39.3 million) over their merger deal, and ordered Uber to sell vehicles from its local leasing business to any rival that makes a reasonable offer.

    According to Reuters, the CCCS launched an investigation into the Uber-Grab merger just days after the deal was done. Earlier in March, Uber sold its Southeast Asian business to Grab. As part of the acquisition, Uber took a chunky 27.5% stake in the Singapore-based firm, and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi joined Grab’s board.

    The CCCS stated that the merger substantially reduced competition in the market, and subsequently fined Uber US$4.8 million (RM19.9 million) and Grab US$4.7 million (RM19.4 million) to deter future completed, irreversible mergers that harm competition. The regulator also ordered Grab to remove its exclusivity arrangements with drivers and taxi fleets.

    CCCS chief executive Toh Han Li said “mergers that substantially lessen competition are prohibited and CCCS has taken action against the Grab-Uber merger because it removed Grab’s closest rival, to the detriment of Singapore drivers and riders.” The CCCS has also finalised several measures to lessen the impact of the transaction on drivers and riders, and open up the market for new players.

    After the merger, CCCS said Grab fares rose between 10 to 15%, and the ride-hailing giant now holds a Singapore market share of around 80%. The regulator told Grab to maintain its pre-merger pricing algorithm and driver commission rates.

    It also ordered Uber to sell vehicles of its Singapore-based Lion City Rentals to any potential competitor who makes a reasonable offer based on fair-market value, and prohibited Uber from selling those vehicles to Grab without regulatory approval. Lion City’s fleet totalled 14,000 vehicles as of December 2017.

    Meanwhile, Uber is considering an appeal because it believes that the CCCS’ decision was based on an “inappropriately narrow definition of the market, and that it incorrectly describes the dynamic nature of the industry, among other concerns.”

    Grab added that the merger was within its legal rights and maintained it did not intentionally or negligently breach competition laws. Furthermore, Grab also said it had not raised fares since the deal, and demanded that all transport players, including taxi operators, should also be subjected to non-exclusivity conditions for its (Grab) drivers to have full maximum choice. Grab has agreed to abide by remedies set out by the CCCS.

    In Malaysia, the former government said the merger will not affect the local e-hailing scene, but added that it would take action if there are any wrongdoings, such as complaints on fare hikes. What do you think? Have you experienced a rise in Grab fares in the past few months? Sound off, below.

     
  • UA number plate series now available, open till Oct 1

    Here’s another special number plate series, UA. Tender for numbers UA 1 to UA 9999 are open till October 1, and results are scheduled to be released on October 8. UA number plates can only be registered at the main JPJ Wangsa Maju outlet.

    The management secretariat does not state what UA stands for, or what organisation the tender proceeds will go to. However, bank drafts are supposed to be addressed to “IM4U Plat”, which means that it might be from the same people behind the IM4U special series, one of the early ones that hit the streets back in 2013. IM4U stands for 1Malaysia For Youth.

    Wait, aren’t special number plates from private organisations no longer allowed by the new government? In May, transport minister Anthony Loke said that the practice will end, as “this is government revenue and we intend to collect all of it.” He explained that the NGOs that issue the plates pay JPJ RM1 million for the rights, which is way lower than what they collect from sales, which is estimated at RM20 million.

    In June, Loke said that special series plates that were previously approved will still be able to be sold over the next year. There will be no extension and renewal of the one-year grace period to sell and register these numbers, he said.

    The last special plate introduced by private organisations was YA, but there have been a host of special plates in recent times. These include UUU, UP, G1G-G999G, X, XX, YY, UU, GTR, GG, SAM, K1M, T1M, A1M, US, SMS, NBOS, NAAM, VIP, G, GT, U, Y, PERFECT, PATRIOT and FB by JPJ itself.

    The government has wasted no time in getting in the game itself, and its recently launched “Malaysia” series set a new record for the highest sum paid for a specific vehicle registration plate, with RM1,111,111 being paid for “Malaysia 1”. The bid by Aldi International broke the previous record held by “V1”, which was purchased for RM989,000 in 2016. The exercise raked in RM13.1 million for the government.

     
  • Peugeot 308 facelift Malaysian launch soon – RM130k

    The facelifted Peugeot 308 was revealed in its entirety back in 2017, and it appears the refreshed C-segment hatchback will arrive on Malaysian shores soon. Recently, a brochure for the model surfaced on social media, containing details on specifications as well as pricing.

    Offered with a 1.6 litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that develops 165 hp and 240 Nm of torque, the THP unit now makes 15 hp more than the outgoing 308 THP (150 hp) on sale. The mill continues to be paired with a six-speed Aisin-sourced torque converter automatic transmission.

    Briefly, visual enhancements that come with the facelift include a new bonnet that displaces the lion badge further down to the middle of the more upright grille (with chrome trimmings). Based on the brochure, it appears we’ll be getting the 308 in GT trim featuring an aggressive front bumper like what we’ve seen on the 308 Sedan in China.

    Noticeable cues found in the lower apron are the lines that originate from the “notch” in the LED headlamps (with LED DRLs) that cascade down and lead into the wheel arches – these help to frame the fog lamp elements as well as the wider intake.

    Moving towards the rear, the rear triple claw signature lighting for the taillights are more prominent and the fuel filler cover is now square rather than a circle. As part of the trim package, dual chrome exhaust finishers are also present, and the car rides on 18-inch ‘Black Sapphire’ alloy wheels. Interior changes are relatively minor, with a new gear lever lifted straight from the 3008.

    In terms of equipment, the 9.7-inch touchscreen infotainment system now comes with support for smartphone screen mirroring via MirrorLink, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The system will be linked to a six-speaker 3D Arkamys Sound Staging audio package.

    Other features include Mistral semi-leather upholstery for the semi-bucket seats, leather-wrapped sports steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, an electronic parking brake, keyless entry and start, plus a decent safety suite – six airbags, ESP, DSC, ABS, EBD, hill assist, traction control and electronic brake assist. There is no mention of adaptive cruise control or autonomous emergency braking, however.

    Pricing-wise, the new 308 looks to go for RM129,888 on-the-road without insurance but if you want the car in Ultimate Red or Pearl White, it’ll cost you an additional RM1,500. Considering the 308 was left out of Nasim’s post-SST Peugeot price list, we reckon a launch will take place real soon, so stay tuned for more info.

    GALLERY: Peugeot 308 facelift

    GALLERY: Peugeot 308 pre-facelift (Malaysia spec)

     
  • Porsche ends diesel run, all models electrified by 2025

    It’s official. Porsche is finally parting ways with diesel, seven months after announcing the removal of oil burner variants from its model range. Instead, the automaker will focus on the areas of hybrid technology and electromobility – by 2022, it would have invested more than six billion euros (RM29 billion) in e-mobility.

    Porsche CEO Oliver Blume said, “Porsche is not demonising diesel. It is, and will remain, an important propulsion technology. We as a sports car manufacturer, however, for whom diesel has always played a secondary role, have come to the conclusion that we would like our future to be diesel-free.”

    “Our aim is to occupy the technological vanguard – we are intensifying our focus on the core of our brand while consistently aligning our company with the mobility of the future,” he added. Blume also said existing diesel customers will continue to be given the professionalism they expect, especially with aftersales support.

    Part of the move to a diesel-free future was driven by the rise in hybrid sales. In Europe, 63% of the Panamera sold are hybrid, whereas demand for diesel models are dropping. In 2017, only 12% of all Porsches sold worldwide were diesel models. It’s unclear if the dieselgate saga played any major role in this shift, but Porsche has been implicated for installing emissions defeat devices in its diesel-powered cars.

    Moving forward, Porsche will be bringing its first pure electric sports car, the Taycan, to the market in 2019. Apparently, its manufacture is CO2 neutral and will feature ultra-fast charging. The EV will pack 600 PS (440 kW) courtesy of two permanently excited synchronous motors (PSM), enough to send it rocketing from zero to 100 km/h in 3.5 seconds, and 200 km/h in under 12 seconds.

    The Taycan offers a battery range of 500 km on a single charge (NEDC), and the 800-volt DC fast charging setup enables a four-minute charge to yield 100 km of range. It uses a Combined Charging System (CCS) that can take advantage of the 350 kW charge rate, allowing the Taycan to achieve 80% capacity in 15 minutes. The Taycan is built on a new J1 architecture and is different from the C-BEV platform underpinning the new Audi e-tron.

    By 2025, every second new Porsche vehicle could have an electric drive, either hybrid or purely electric. Besides the push in e-mobility, Porsche is also concentrating on optimising its range of gasoline internal combustion engine. What do you think? Is this the beginning of the end for diesel?

     
  • 2019 Mazda CX-5 to receive 2.5 litre turbo engine?

    Mazda revealed its second-generation CX-5 at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show, and it appears the SUV is set to receive significant updates for the 2019 model year. This includes the adoption of the brand’s 2.5 litre turbocharged four-cylinder that is currently offered for the latest Mazda 6 and CX-9.

    In a post on Reddit, a member of the site was shown a printout of the automaker’s 2019 model year updates when he visited his local Canadian dealership. The SkyActiv-G T unit makes 250 hp and 420 Nm of torque in the 6 sedan, but it isn’t mentioned in the document whether it’ll be the same for the SUV.

    Nonetheless, it should exceed the current 2.5 litre SkyActiv-G naturally aspirated engine, which serves up 192 hp and 257 Nm. A six-speed automatic transmission will likely be paired with the turbo mill, and base models (sold in Canada) are said to come with a six-speed manual option as well. Keep in mind that there is a likelihood the new engine will not make its way to Malaysia, as it wasn’t offered for the facelifted 6 when it was launched here in August.

    The document also shows what is referred to as G-Vectoring Control Plus (GVC+), although the final name for the technology might be changed later on. On the CX-5, the standard G-Vectoring Control (GVC) system varies engine torque in response to steering inputs, subtly controlling lateral and longitudinal acceleration forces for more efficient and comfortable vehicle motion.

    Aside from the new driving-related features, the refreshed CX-5 is also claimed to gain updated styling, new 17- and 19-inch alloy wheels, a redesigned instrument cluster that includes a seven-inch display (possibly hinted in a Mazda 3 test mule previously), automatic power-folding side mirrors (when locking/unlocking the vehicle) and improved rear seat comfort – revised seat back angle and cushion construction.

    Equipment updates include market-specific items like ventilated and heated front seats for certain trim levels, satellite radio services, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support for the MZD infotainment system. We’ll have more information once the new CX-5 makes its official debut.

    GALLERY: Mazda CX-5 2.5 2WD GLS (Malaysia spec)

     
  • Convoy Marshals no power to stop or divert traffic

    Photo for illustration purpose only

    Responding to negative publicity generated by privately organised ‘convoys’ on public roads, Malaysian police have come out to say that any convoy escort or marshal cannot control traffic. From a statement posted on Facebook, the use of marshals in any competition, convoy or any sort of programme on public roads must be accompanied by traffic police.

    Road users and the public are not obliged to follow the instructions of the marshals if they do things such as asking you to give way, stopping at an intersection, diverting your vehicle and others. Action can be taken against any individual or group that performs traffic control duties without the presence of traffic police under Section 21 of the Police act 1967 or Section 79(2) of the road Transport Act 1972.

    Photo for illustration purpose only

    Most of us have seen this happen on the toll highways and public roads in Malaysia when your rear view mirror is filled with blinking lights and you are told to move over. Or you might be at a traffic light and a motorcycle stops in the middle of the intersection and holds traffic to allow a ‘convoy’ through.

    At this point, you realise the convoy comprises of private cars or bikes and the marshals are not actually traffic police but rather, a rider on a big bike wearing a flourescent vest with the word ‘MARSHAL’ emblazoned on the back. We hope that with this statement from police, there will be no more incidents of convoys on highways and roads bullying other road users and clogging up traffic.

     
  • Peugeot e-Legend – a fully-electric retro-styled coupe

    Peugeot has unveiled the e-Legend concept, which will be heading to the Paris Motor Show next month. The fully-electric two-door coupe pays homage to the automaker’s classic 504 coupe, five decades after the latter came on to the scene.

    In general terms, the shape of the chunky, angular 4.65 metre-long offering has plenty of American muscle-car overtones and presence, but some elements of those lines do draw a parallel to another study from not too long ago, the Nissan IDx from 2013.

    Unique styling propositions come in the form of twin module headlights and a lower front bumper offering a throwback to an era of chrome-plated stainless steel bumpers through its projected shape. The rear, meanwhile, features the signature three claw graphic for the tail lamps. Within heavily flanked wheel arches reside 19-inch wheels, and the study is finished in a shade of grey subtly tinted with champagne, giving it a varied shade depending on lighting conditions.

    The external styling may be a bit old school, but it’s all cutting edge under the skin. The e-Legend is powered by an electric powertrain that features two motors, one driving each axle. The system has 456 hp and 800 Nm in terms of output numbers, and performance figures include a 0-100 km/h time of less than four seconds and a maximum speed of 220 km/h.

    In terms of other technical parameters, the system wasn’t detailed thoroughly, but there’s a 100 kWh battery which gives it around 600 km of travel as rated under the new WLTP protocol, and the automaker says that 500 km of charging distance can be accomplished in 25 minutes via fast charging, with wireless induction charging also catered for.

    A total of four drive modes are available for the car, two being manual drive modes. The first is a cruising mode called Legend, in which three small display headset screens recall the analogue dials seen on the 504 coupe, while the other, Boost, offers a wide field of immersion with projection of the road via a single large screen.

    The other two modes are autonomous, the e-Legend having been designed for level four autonomous driving. One of these is called Soft, which minimises the level of information display and digital projection to provide more serene surroundings. The second autonomous mode is Sharp, which provides full connection to all digital activities.

    In these modes, a new iteration of the automaker’s i-Cockpit retracts the drive-by-wire, compact steering wheel under the console to offer a clean, unfettered flow to the front fascia, which houses a 49-inch curved screen and a Focal audio soundbar. The main drving controls remain accessible via a centre console integrated in the driver’s seat, and this houses a rotary controller and a six-inch touch screen.

    The front seats also recline and the side armrests deploy automatically, opening up a large storage area and an induction charging area for smartphones. A 12-inch display screen built into each of the sun visors offers occupants the ability to either watch a movie or indulge in a spot of video gaming. The doors also each feature a 29-inch screen, so there’s no shortage of visual projection.

    For those autonomous moments, the e-Legend comes equipped with a voice-activated personal assistant to limit the need for physical interaction in accessing functions. Working with Soundhound, the automaker has come up with a system that allows voice commands to control a wide range of operational aspects.

    In a simple sentence, the driver can change their driving style, listen to their favourite playlist or even open or close the electrified doors of the vehicle. The system responds with a digitised voice in up to 17 languages. Peugeot says that a version adapted to its production vehicles is just within two years of a working debut.

    The cabin itself features a strong presence of blue, the seats being in a turquoise shade of the colour. The upholstery is finished in silk velvet, which is interweaved with a modern technical mesh. Elsewhere, trim elements includes dark Paldao wood to provide a contrast to the primary blue. A fragrance diffuser completes the entire immersive experience.

     
  • paultan.org PACE at Setia City Convention Centre – Lexus joins the fray on display this November!

    We at paultan.org are hard at work preparing for our first ever Premium Auto Car Expo (PACE), powered by Petron Blaze 100 Euro 4M. Happening on November 3 and 4, 2018 at the Setia City Convention Centre, PACE is the ultimate sales-driven car expo primarily focused on premium brands and vehicles.

    Speaking of which, one more brand is participating in PACE and it’s Lexus. The Japanese premium carmaker joins a whole host of other prestigious brands such as Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, MINI, Volkswagen, Volvo and Kia. Test drive and purchase your dream car here – whether new or pre-owned, PACE has you covered. There’s even an extended meeting session with us, the writers!

    That’s just the tip of the iceberg – you’ll also enjoy attractive offers from paultan.org, on top of the great year-end promos from participating brands. Every booking gets you a combined RM2,000 voucher**, including a RM500 Petron fuel voucher, RM500 Kuziq Glanz car detailing voucher, RM500 Stigo mini electric bike voucher and a RM500 voucher for Llumar’s new Self-Healing Paint Protection Film Door Cups.

    And that’s not all. The first five customers with confirmed purchases (i.e. approved loans) each day (10 over both days) will also receive a free gift worth RM3,000**, while one lucky customer (also confirmed) will be able to score a grand prize of a free holiday for two worth RM25,000**, in our lucky draw!

    Co-sponsor CIMB is also joining in with preferential financing rates as low as 2.34% p.a. for new hybrid cars*, competitive rates with repayment period of up to nine years, as well as on-the-spot approval with CIMB 1-Minute InstaApproval for salaried professionals. Just bring your identification card*, and you’re set!

    Click here for more details on PACE and to register your interest. Are you excited yet? We know we are, and we can’t wait to see you guys there!

    * Terms and conditions apply.
    ** Valid for new car registrations only. For Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia, valid for all models except the Volkswagen Polo, Volkswagen Vento and Volkswagen Jetta models. For Naza Kia, valid for the Kia Stinger only.

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  • Honda Malaysia says Takata airbag replacement completion now at 84%, urges laggards to respond

    Following transport minister Anthony Loke’s threat to blacklist stubborn owners who refuse to get their recalled Takata airbag inflators replaced, Honda Malaysia (HM) has once again urged Honda owners to do so, while highlighting its efforts to make it as easy as possible for customers to answer the call.

    HM said that as at September 20, it has replaced more than 236,800 units of the Takata driver front airbag inflator, which translates to a completion ratio of 90%. Include front passenger airbag inflators replaced, and it’s over 496,400 units or 84%. Stock availability for both driver and passenger front airbag inflator replacement is at 100% for all models, and all related costs will be borne by HM.

    Affected Takata inflators may deploy with excessive internal pressure when activated. This could rupture the airbag inflator casing and cause injury or death to vehicle occupants.

    Click to enlarge affected model list and Mobile Hub locations

    HM says that 94 authorised service centres nationwide are on standby to prioritise the airbag recall, and customers are encouraged to make an appointment with their preferred outlet. In addition, the carmaker has set up Mobile Hubs at selected shopping malls and Petronas stations. Replacement activities at Mobile Hubs do not require advance appointment, and walk-ins are welcomed.

    If that’s not enough, HM has Mobile Teams from dealerships operating door-to-door in selected areas. Staff will be in Honda uniform and they will carry an authorisation letter. The Mobile Teams will do the replacement work on-site for customers who are genuinely unable to go to the dealership or Mobile Hub.

    Even parallel imports or grey market cars, which were not sold by HM, are included. Owners of these Hondas are advised to contact Honda dealerships to check on the status of their vehicle. If affected, arrangements can be made for replacement, with cost of parts and labour to be borne by HM. The company also urged all Honda vehicle owners to register their cars at dealerships so that information sent can reach them.

    Owners can check their vehicles’ product recall status at www.productrecall.honda.com.my or www.honda.com.my or call Honda Malaysia’s toll free number at 1800-88-2020 or visit any Honda authorised dealer.

     
 

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Last Updated 01 Sep 2018



 

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