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  • Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance SUV launched, new luxury SUV tyre to reach Malaysia in Q4 2017

    You don’t have to be a keen market observer to notice that SUVs are all the rage today. The raised hatchbacks are now available in almost any price point and size available, and growth is not specific to any region. Whether it’s in North America or Asia Pacific – where the segment is expected to have a compound annual growth rate of 26% from 2012 to 2017 – the world just loves SUVs.

    On the luxury side of the SUV scale, performance is rising. And it’s not just at the sharp sporting end of the chart where Porsche, BMW M and Mercedes-AMG reside – garden variety premium brand SUVs are getting faster by the year, aided by turbocharging and many gear ratios.

    Correspondingly, the demands placed on luxury SUV tyres have never been greater. These tyres have to deliver across the board – passenger car ultra high performance (UHP) tyre levels of grip, comfort and quietness as SUVs have to serve the family, and even a higher degree of robustness.

    It’s against this backdrop that Goodyear launched its latest tyre, the Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance SUV, last month at a regional event held in Buriram, Thailand. The new luxury on-road SUV tyre promises a quieter driving experience with maximised comfort and wet braking performance.

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  • PIAM introduces Motor Product Selector – online platform offers easy shopping for motor insurance

    Today’s media briefing by the General Insurance Association of Malaysia (PIAM) on the industry’s first half 2017 performance also saw the mention of two key items related to motor insurance.

    The first is the introduction of a Motor Product Selector feature on the PIAM website, with a link to all insurers. This online platform will provide consumers with key information on the insurance covers available and connects them directly with insurance companies.

    Consumers can select the products they wish to purchase from an insurer, and request for quotations on pricing via a single action, thereby simplifying the whole shopping process by eliminating the need to access each individual insurer for a quote. This is especially relevant now with the phased liberalisation of motor insurance already underway.

    With motor comprehensive coverage, boxes can be ticked for to pick additional items such as loss of use/inconvenience allowance, limited special perils as well as motor personal accident coverage.

    There are also selected stand-alone coverage boxes, which allow you to factor in items such as a waiver of betterment provision as well as tyre/rim coverage. Bear in mind that these will also add to the final cost of a policy.

    Presently, 22 insurers are listed on the product selector, but we understand that the availability of the add-ons currently differ from insurer to insurer, and not all have them. if you do try the feature out, do give us your thoughts about it in the comments section.

    The other mention was of the setting up of an Accident Assist Call Centre (AACC) to help motorists involved in accidents. The free service will provide motorists with arrangements for emergency roadside assistance (towing services) as well as providing information on insurance claims enquiries.

    The association says the AACC will also help prevent any unwanted third-party intervention which can confuse or take advantage of motorists at the scene of an accident. It can be accessed via a toll-free 24/7 nationwide hotline at 1-800-221188, or via a parallel hotline at 15-500.

     
  • SPYSHOTS: Lexus RX with three-row seating tested

    A couple of months ago, we reported that Lexus was in the midst of developing a three-row version of the hitherto five-seater RX, set to be unveiled at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show in October. Now, our spy photographers have proved its existence with images of the development prototype you see here.

    The mule sports a number of sheetmetal changes to accommodate the extra row of seats, and they’re exactly what you’d expect – a longer rear overhang and a more upright rear windscreen. With the standard RX being compact and low-slung, these changes are certainly necessary to make room for a pair of seats capable of fitting actual humans.

    Even so, a rendering produced by Japanese publication Mag-X showed that the seats would likely still be only ideal for small children, or for short journeys. One benefit of the larger dimensions is that with the third row folded, boot space should be significantly larger than the five-seater’s 521 litres.

    Seven-seat Lexus RX (above), five-seat model (below)

    Despite being covered in full body camouflage, the people-carrying RX should otherwise carry few other changes compared to the regular one, with the shape of the headlights, front grille and front fog light surrounds all appearing identical, as does the side surfacing. The standard car’s 2,790 mm wheelbase is also expected to be retained.

    Expect the three-row RX to come with the usual engines, including a 235 hp/350 hp 2.0 litre turbocharged engine and a 295 hp/370 Nm 3.5 litre naturally-aspirated V6 mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Also likely to be offered is an RX 450h hybrid with an Atkinson-cycle version of the V6 paired to an electric motor, producing a total system output of 308 hp.

    A seven-seat RX would be an important addition to the Lexus lineup, being the brand’s first car-based three-row SUV. Until now, the only way you could cram more than five people in a car carrying the L badge is by buying the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado-based GX or the massive LX, built on the bones of the full-size Land Cruiser. Both cars are ladder-on-frame and lack the road manners of the RX.


    GALLERY: Lexus RX 200t F Sport
    GALLERY: Lexus RX 350 F Sport

     
  • PIAM: Motor insurance premiums show growth in 1H 2017, but claims climb to RM14.7 million a day

    The General Insurance Association of Malaysia (PIAM), the national trade association representing all insurers in the country, today revealed figures for the first half of 2017.

    It reported that the general insurance industry declined 1.9% in 1H 2017 compared to the same period last year. Gross written premium income was RM9.17 billion, down 1.9% from the RM9.34 billion recorded in the first half of 2016.

    Motor insurance again had the largest slice of the pie at 45.8%, with premiums totalling RM4.19 billion, a 1.8% increase from the first six months of last year. It remains well ahead of the next largest class, that of fire insurance, which racked up RM1.79 billion (a 2.4% increase year-on year).

    In terms of insurance claims, PIAM said the industry continued to experience a deteriorating trend, with the overall net claims incurred ratio climbing from 53.8% in 1H 2016 to 57.4% for the first six months of 2017. That for motor insurance was at 71.4%, up from the 65% for the corresponding period in 2016.

    Motor insurance claims paid out by insurers amounted to RM2.68 billion in 1H 2017, and this works out to RM14.7 million per day in claims for property damage (own vehicle, other party’s vehicle), bodily injury and vehicle theft. The rate for the first half of this year is higher than the RM13.8 million per day rate recorded for 2016.

    In terms of motor vehicle theft, there was an improvement this year, with a 25% decrease in vehicle thefts. The total number of stolen vehicles in all classes amounted to 7,897, a drop from the 10,551 from the same period last year.

    Of these, 2,925 were cars (4,026 for 1H 2016), 4,546 were motorcycles (5,782) and 426 were commercial vehicles (743), a reduction of 27%, 21% and 43% respectively.

    The association also revealed the top 10 most stolen vehicle models (with reported cases) for the first half of 2017, with the Proton Wira topping the list like it did in the first half of 2016, though less units were stolen this year, at 338 to the 498 recorded last year.

    Next was the Toyota Hilux, with 286 vehicles of the type stolen in 2017. That theft rate is less than the same period in 2016, when 378 such pick-ups went missing. In terms of percentage, that’s a 24% reduction.

    Other popular models on the hit list are the Perodua Kancil and Myvi, and four more Proton models, the Iswara, Saga, Waja and Satria. Rounding off the list is the popular trade vehicle, the Nissan Vanette and the Honda Civic.

    At the media briefing today, PIAM also disclosed the number of reported stolen vehicles that were repatriated from Thailand and Singapore from 2012 to August this year, at 188 and 24 units from each country respectively.

     
  • August 2017 week four fuel prices – petrol unchanged

    The latest fuel price announcement is here, and after several weeks of watching some numbers go up, there is finally some good news (depending on how you look at it). For starters, RON 97 and RON 95 petrol is unchanged, and diesel is now a few sen cheaper from the week before.

    From tomorrow, August 24, RON 95 petrol will be priced at RM2.15 per litre (unchanged from last week), while RON 97 petrol is priced at RM2.43 per litre (also unchanged last week).

    As for Euro 2M diesel, it now retails at the pump for RM2.01 per litre (down three sen from RM2.04 per litre last week) this week, while Euro 5 diesel will go for RM2.11 per litre (down three sen from RM2.14 per litre last week). These prices take effect from 12.01am until August 30, when the next round of fuel prices will be announced.

    This is the 22nd weekly fuel pricing update since the system’s implementation on March 30. Compared to March 2017 prices, which was before weekly pricing took effect, RON 95 is down by 15 sen (from RM2.30 per litre), RON 97 by 17 sen (RM2.60 per litre) and Euro 2M diesel is down by 19 sen (from RM2.20 per litre).

     
  • SPIED: BMW M8 convertible spotted for the first time

    The upcoming BMW M8 will also arrive in convertible form, according to these spyshots that have been supplied to us. This isn’t that surprising as the regular, non-M variants of the 8 Series will be offered with the same body styles as well.

    This particular prototype isn’t heavily camouflaged, and most of the body looks largely similar to its coupe sibling. Of course, the addition of a folding soft-top does require a few revisions to the M8’s shape, resulting in less rakish rear window.

    Beyond that, recognisable BMW M cues like the large air intakes, high-performance brakes, and quad exhausts are all present here, as found on the coupe. Other familiar items include headlights featuring BMW’s signature corona DRLs.

    BMW has yet to discuss what will power the M8, but it is expected to carry an even more powerful version of the 4.4 litre twin-turbocharged V8 in the new M5. No official figures when it comes to output, but expect a number beyond the M5’s in the interest of hierarchy.

    Aside from road-going M8s, BMW is also developing an endurance racer (M8 GTE) that is set to compete Le Mans 24 Hours in the LMGTE class from 2018.

    GALLERY: BMW 8 Series coupe spyshots

     
  • Terrakhana – Ken Block’s Ford Fiesta ST RX43 on dirt

    Ken Block is back for another round of death-defying stunts, but if you’re hoping for another installment of the Gymkhana series, too bad. Instead, what you’re about to watch is Terrakhana, where it seems Block has outdone himself again.

    The film aims to show off the performance of Pennzoil’s motor oils, particularly in his 600 hp Ford Fiesta ST RX43, as Block tours the “ultimate dirt playground” in Swing Arm City, Utah. This includes dealing with an elevation of 4,300 feet and temperatures that go as high up as 39 degrees Celsius.

    If the car looks familiar, it is the same one used in Gymkhana 8, but has been tweaked to ensure it works well in its new environment. Obviously, there is some element of danger here, as trying to get 600 hp to play nice with dirt can be quite tricky.

    So, turn up the volume on your speakers, earphones or headphones, and watch Block do what he does best – elevating our heart rates.

     
  • Nissan Navara N-Sport Black Edition for Australia

    Nissan Australia has introduced a special edition of the Navara called the N-Sport Black Edition, which is limited to just 500 units. Available for the range-topping ST-X Dual Cab 4×4 variant, the pick-up truck is fitted with an assortment of accessories that outnumbers that on the similarly-named Thailand version.

    On the exterior, there is a new sports bar and bull bar finished in black, the latter with a LED light bar. Elsewhere, there is a gloss black honeycomb grille, smoked fog lamps and a black soft tonneau cover.

    The Navara N-Sport Black Edition also comes fitted with 18-inch black alloy wheels that are housed within the new black fender flares. Rounding off the list of add-ons are N-Sport badging and a sprinkling of ‘Black Edition’ decals.

    Customers will get to choose from four exterior body colours – Cosmic Black, Slate Grey, Brilliant Silver and Diamond White. “Black is all the rage at the moment and certainly makes the Nissan Navara ST-X Dual Cab stand out. With its aggressive but stylish look, and limited numbers, we think this will be a popular variant for ute buyers,” said Richard Emery, managing director of Nissan Australia.

    Under the bonnet is a 2.3 litre intercooled twin-turbo diesel engine that outputs 188 hp and 450Nm of torque. Prices start at AU$54,490 (RM184,092) for a six-speed manual version, and AU$56,990 (RM192,514) for the seven-speed automatic.

     
  • Audi to develop solar cells for panoramic glass roofs

    With electrification being commonplace in vehicles of today, Audi is looking to further enhance the efficiency of electric vehicles by developing thin-film solar cells that are integrated into panoramic glass roofs.

    Working with Alta Devices, a subsidiary of the Chinese solar-cell specialist, Hanergy, the technology will allow electric vehicles to generate solar energy to increase their range. According to the carmaker, the first prototype will be ready by the end of 2017.

    While the solar cells will only be applied on panoramic glass roofs on the prototype, future developments will see the entire roof surface be covered with them. The electricity generated can be used by the car’s electrical system to power air-conditioning system or the seat heaters, for example.

    “The range of electric cars plays a decisive role for our customers. Together with Hanergy, we plan to install innovative solar technology in our electric cars that will extend their range and is also sustainable,” stated Bernd Martens, member of the Audi Board of Management for Procurement.

    Progressing beyond that, solar energy could directly charge the traction battery, similar to what is available on the Nissan Leaf, albeit at a larger scale. “That would be a milestone along the way to achieving sustainable, emission-free mobility,” noted Martens.

    The solar cells produced by Alta Devices are said to perform very well also in conditions of low light and high temperature, with an efficiency of more than 25% despite being very thin and flexible.

    “This partnership with Audi is Alta Devices’ first cooperation with a high-end auto brand. By combining Alta’s continuing breakthroughs in solar technology and Audi’s drive toward a sustainable mobility of the future, we will shape the solar car of the future,” added Ding Jian, senior vice president of Hanergy.

     
  • Nasim to extend warranty for Peugeot, Citroen and DS vehicles made from 2011 to 2015 – 7 years/250,000 km

    Internal documents floated on the Internet reveal that Nasim will soon offer a warranty extension for Peugeot, Citroën and DS vehicles. The Warranty Enhancement Programme, which sources say kicks off in September, covers all models powered by the ubiquitous Prince 1.6 litre naturally-aspirated and turbocharged petrol engines, registered from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2015.

    This includes pretty much every Peugeot and Citroën model sold locally during that period, with only the Peugeot 207 Sedan and 407 as well as the diesel-powered Citroën Grand C4 Picasso BlueHDi and Peugeot 508 GT being excluded from the list. In Citroën and DS’ case, it also includes vehicles sold under the brands’ previous distributor Brooklands Motors.

    The extension brings the warranty coverage up to seven years or a mileage of 250,000 km from the registration date, whichever comes first – this includes vehicles that are outside the initial five-year warranty coverage provided by Nasim when new. Vehicles maintained outside of an official Peugeot or Citroën service centre after the warranty period has ended are also eligible, subject to an inspection.

    Among the components covered are the engine, gearbox and components linked to their operation, such as driveshafts and fuel and cooling circuits. The battery and anti-lock braking system sensors are also included.

    Once notified, owners will have to set up an appointment with the nearest service centre, where the warranty extension will be enabled. Once the process is completed, vehicles will have to be maintained at an authorised service centre during the extension period in order for owners to continue benefitting from it.

    The aforementioned documents state that the warranty extension is meant to address technical concerns regarding Peugeot, Citroën and DS vehicles, as well as to rebuild customer confidence in the brands. Meanwhile, all new Peugeot, Citroën and DS vehicles will continue to be offered with the same five-year/120,000 km manufacturer warranty coverage as before.

     
 

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Latest Fuel Prices

PETROL
RON 95 RM2.15 (+0.03)
RON 97 RM2.43 (+0.04)
RON 100 RM2.92
VPR RM3.13
DIESEL
EURO 2M RM2.04 (-0.02)
EURO 5 RM2.14 (-0.02)
Last Updated 17 Aug 2017


 

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