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  • 2019 Suzuki Hayabusa GSX1300-R last of the series

    With emission laws tightening around motorcycle manufacturers, we bid a quiet farewell to the famed 2019 Suzuki Hayabusa GSX1300-R which is not in compliance with Euro 4 standards. After making its debut back in 1999 and soldiering on for two decades – the last major update to the Hayabusa was 10 years ago – the Hayabusa held the record for fastest production motorcycle till the introduction of the Kawasaki H2, leaving aside limited production factory specials.

    Powered by a 1,340 cc, liquid-cooled DOHC inline-four, the Hayabusa – peregrine falcon in Japanese – produced a claimed 173 hp at 9,500 rpm and 135 Nm of torque at 7,000 rpm. This was good enough to propel the Hayabusa to a top speed of 312 km/h back in 1999 before motorcycle manufacturers came to a gentleman’s agreement to limit the top speed of their products in fear of authorities imposing non-negotiable restrictions.

    Weighing in at 266 kg, the Hayabusa is hardly a lightweight by today’s superbike standards and suspension is done with upside-down forks and monoshock at the back. For the 2019 Suzuki Hayabusa, Brembo four-piston calliper brakes are offered, with a single-piston Nissin unit at the back and ABS is standard.

    Certainly the Kawasaki ZX-14 is capable of much more, if not for being restricted and we have personally ridden modified examples well past the 330 km/h mark but the Hayabusa was, due to a simple matter of policy, the winner of the motorcycle top speed war that began in the early 90s with the Kawasaki ZZR1100.

    It remains to be seen what, if any, replacement Suzuki might propose for its hyperbike. Rumours have been circulating that a replacement Hayabusa in the form of a 1,400 cc turbocharged four-cylinder is on the drawing but little has been heard of it.

  • MV Agusta service in Malaysia under Goh Brothers

    Owners of MV Agusta motorcycles in Malaysia can now obtain after sales support from Goh Brothers Motorcycles (GBMC) after an official announcement. In a press release, GBMC said the partnership with Italian motorcycle maker MV Agusta allows them to accept all MV Agusta motorcycles in the local market for service maintenance, repair and warranty claims.

    The official MV Agusta service outlet is located in The Gasket Alley, Petaling Jaya. “We are honoured to be selected as the partner for this renowned super-premium motorcycle brand in Malaysia and to start the process of building the brand and ownership experience via after sales, we have sent our team for training at the Italian factory on top of ensuring proper tools and equipment are ready on the service floor” said Goh Kian Sin, chairman of GBMC.

    MV Agusta has had a chequered history both in Malaysia and abroad, with the previous official distributorship collapsing after barely a year in operation. However, there has been no news as to the appointment of an official distributor although sources tell us that “negotiations are currently on-going” with MV Agusta.

  • Nine city mayors and JPJ will soon be allowed to deregister, remove abandoned cars – Anthony Loke

    Transport minister Anthony Loke has announced that amendments will be made to the Road Transport Act that will widen the scope of operation for both the Road Transport Department (JPJ) and nine city mayors, which includes allowing them to deregister and remove abandoned vehicles.

    In a report by The Star, Loke said the Road Transport (Amendment) Bill 2018 will be tabled in Parliament today, and the minister hopes the changes are passed and gazetted for enforcement by Jan 2019.

    With the amendments, nine city mayors in Peninsular Malaysia will be able to remove abandoned vehicles that are parked on public roads. It was previously reported that there are more than eight million abandoned vehicles across the country, which has become a real problem as they are both a nuisance and an eyesore to others.

    Revisions to the Act will also see JPJ be allowed to deregister cars with tampered chassis numbers. The department will also be responsible for regulating and collecting fees on approvals for glass tinting of vehicles, although the finer details have yet to be worked out.

    The government has expressed its intent to deal with the issue in the past, stating that it would come up with a new standard operating procedure to deal with abandoned cars, including shortening the notice time down to one month, and implementing deregistration certificates for registered abandoned vehicles.

  • Ferox Azaris – fluid drive six-wheeler with BMW power

    Looking like it rolled off a science fiction movie set is the Ferox Azaris six-wheeler which comes with a BMW Motorrad R1200 boxer engine and fluid drive. Taking a side-by-side all terrain vehicle (ATV) as a basis, the Azaris uses in-wheel motors to drive the four rear wheels, with a claimed 98% efficiency.

    Designed as a technology demonstrator, the Azaris focuses on the rear suspension which uses a pair of rocker arms that isolate the chassis from excessive movement. The 125 hp two-cylinder boxer mill used in BMW Motorrad’s R-series motorcycles is located back-to-front in the rear of the Azaris and dedicated to running a hydraulic pump.

    The pressurised fluid comprising of 95% water with the balance being additives is then fed through 3D printed channels in the suspension rocker arms to the in-wheel motors. With the wheels mounted directly to the four motors, Ferox says the Azaris will handle some 678 Nm of torque per wheel and there are bigger motors which are capable of delivering 1,152 Nm, reports website

    Tony Wheeler, chief executive officer of Perth, Australia based Ferox, says fluid drive offers a weight savings over electric hub drives, with the equivalent electric motor weighing 30 kg to the Azaris’ 11 kg in-wheel motor. “The whole system is incredibly responsive – and that’s a big difference to traditional hydraulics. Usually they’re quite jerky. But our system has a high startup torque, similar to an electric motor,” says Wheeler.

    Wheeler also says drive for the pump in the Azaris can be electrically driven instead of using an internal combustion engine and an electric motor would better complement the fluid drive system. Since fluids have a natural tendency to self balance, a differential is not necessary in the Azaris.

    Plans for the fluid drive technology developed by Ferox are not limited to recreational off-road use but rather in autonomous agricultural robots, modular heavy vehicle and cargo haulers. Also in the list of future plans is military use where the fluid transmission is impervious to electronic jamming and EMP.

    Although the Azaris has not been fully-tested in an off-road environment as yet, the prototype six-wheeler has moved under its own power on tarmac with proper rough surface testing to begin in 2019, along with the promise of video. There are currently no plans to bring the Forex Azaris to the market despite enquiries but Wheeler did not rule out making a limited run of Azaris as a rolling piece of art in unique colours and trim.

  • Ford opens new Advanced Manufacturing Centre – to make 3D-printed parts for new Shelby Mustang GT500

    Ford has announced that the next Shelby Mustang GT500, one that’s due to debut next month at the 2019 North American International Auto Show, will be fitted with two 3D-printed brake parts. The F-150 Raptor built for China will also include a 3D-printed interior part, and these parts will be developed and produced at the Blue Oval’s new Advanced Manufacturing Centre in Redford, Michigan.

    The US$45 million (RM187.7 million) facility houses a variety of state-of-the-art development and manufacturing technologies. Three-dimensional parts printing is one of such techs, and the Redford plant features 23 3D printing machines. This allows Ford engineers to develop applications with different materials – from sand to nylon powder to carbon. One application currently under development has the potential to save the company more than US$2 million (RM8.34 million).

    As 3D printing becomes more affordable, 3D parts will become more prevalent. The technology is also said to help employees improve vehicle quality. For example, the assembly line at the Michigan Assembly Plant, which Ford uses to build the Ranger, uses five different 3D-printed tools. This shaves weeks off the tight timelines and ensures quality workmanship.

    Ford is currently identifying ways to save time and money, including how to 3D print replacement parts to keep lines running instead of waiting for parts that can take weeks to be fabricated.

    Ford’s president of global operations, Joe Hinrichs said: “More than 100 years ago, Ford created the moving assembly line, forever changing how vehicles would be mass-produced. Today, we are reinventing tomorrow’s assembly line – tapping technologies once only dreamed of on the big screen – to increase our manufacturing efficiency and quality.”

    Besides 3D printing, there’s also augmented and virtual reality, robotics, digital manufacturing and more. The AR and VR tech allows Ford manufacturing teams to work collaboratively – in real time – in plants around the world. For example, if a vehicle is intended to be produced globally, teams can work together to design optimal manufacturing workstations for all continents. Approximately 100 experts work at the development hub for cutting-edge manufacturing technologies.

    Another complementary technology is the use of collaborative robots, or cobots, as Ford calls it. These smaller robots can work safely alongside people, without protective cages. Cobots at Ford’s Livonia Transmission Plant can easily perform a job that’s ergonomically difficult for human employees, some taking up to one hour at a time.

    Cobots also help Ford reduce costs by eliminating the need for expensive safety cages that larger robots require for safety reasons. Utilising cobots in the Advanced Manufacturing Centre allows the company to identify and address potential production issues before the cobots are installed in plants.

    “While we are increasing our use of collaborative robots, we strongly believe there is a need for both people and robots,” said Hinrichs. “People are better at doing certain jobs, while robots are able to perform certain tasks, including those that are ergonomically taxing for people.”

  • Toyota to continue passenger car focus for US market

    While its American competitors are heading away from traditional body-style car models and shifting their focus on SUVs and pick-up trucks, Toyota says it will continue to ply the passenger car route because there is still a very viable market for vehicles scoped within the segment.

    Toyota USA’s CEO Jim Lentz said that passenger car sales in the US market have nearly bottomed out at under 30% of overall sales in November, and he believes that is about as close to the bottom as it’ll get for the type, Associated Press reports.

    Speaking at the Detroit Economic Club last week, Lentz said that consumers are still buying more than four million compact, mid-size and near-luxury cars each year. “There’s no way I’m going to walk away from that. We are always going to have a bias toward passenger cars,” he stated.

    He however acknowledged that new car sales in the US for 2018 will probably be lower than that in 2010, when the financial crisis was still present. “There is a depression on the passenger car side,” he said. Passenger car sales in the US is expected to be lower by 800,000 units compared to 2017, while truck and SUV sales should climb by the same amount, according to the report.

    The automaker’s own sales reflect the shift – its car sales in the US were down nearly 12% in the first 10 months of 2019, while truck and SUV sales went up by eight percent, spurred on by low fuel prices.

    Despite this, Toyota will stay in that market, plying on with the likes of the Camry, new Corolla and other models such as the Avalon, 86 and the Prius. The new A90 Supra, which is set to make its debut in Detroit next month, will be added on to the company’s line-up next year.

    Toyota’s stance is in contrast to that taken by rivals such as Ford and General Motors. In April, Ford had announced that it was set to phase out all its sedan and hatchback models from its product line-up for the North American market. Models that will be axed include the Fiesta, Fusion and Taurus.

    Last month, General Motors said it will mirror Ford’s move to ramp up development of SUVs and pick-up trucks while pulling the plug on a number of its passenger car models, with the Chevrolet Cruze, Impala, Cadillac CT6, Buick LaCrosse and Chevrolet Volt hybrid all set to be axed.

    GALLERY: 2019 Toyota Avalon Touring

    GALLERY: 2018 Toyota Camry, US-spec, XSE variant

    GALLERY: 2020 Toyota Corolla sedan, US version

  • Malaysia joins WTCR as 2019 season finale – double header with FIM Endurance World Championship

    International automotive racing is finally coming back to Malaysia after it hosted its last Formula 1 Grand Prix in 2017. Last month, it was announced that the Japanese Super GT championship is set to return in 2020 after a seven-year hiatus, and now the World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) has confirmed that it will hold next year’s season finale at the Sepang International Circuit (SIC).

    As with Super GT, WTCR will utilise the track’s night lights, with one of the three races that weekend being held after sundown. The round will form a double header alongside the 2019-2020 FIM Endurance World Championship (EWC) for motorcycles, which will also be racing on our shores for the first time.

    The successor to the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC), WTCR held its debut season this year with the merger of WTCC and the TCR International Series; as the name suggests, it uses the TCR specification for touring cars. Tipped as a more cost-effective series than its previous iteration, the championship is said to put the focus on drivers on teams, rather than the manufacturers.

    “Forming the deciding rounds of season two, the inaugural WTCR Race of Malaysia promises to be a very exciting addition to the schedule with the prospect of some great racing, including at night, at a venue untried by most WTCR drivers,” said boss of WTCR and EWC promoter Eurosport Events, François Ribeiro.

  • Proton X70 to make its debut in Indonesia next year

    The Proton X70 is set to make its launch debut in Malaysia on December 12, and will later be introduced in Indonesia in 2019. This is according to a report by Kompas, in which Rully Septiadi, head of marketing at Proton Edar Indonesia (PEI), confirmed the matter.

    For now, no official launch date and pricing have been determined for the X70 in relation to the Indonesian market. However, Rully stated that Proton will be present at both the 2019 editions of the Indonesia International Motor Show (IIMS) in April, as well as the Gaikindo Indonesia International Auto Show (GIIAS) in July.

    Proton’s presence in Indonesia has been waning for the past few years, with models like the Exora and Iriz garnering low response from car buyers there. With the X70, PEI is looking to reestablish a foothold in the country and begin selling cars again.

    The X70 won’t be the only model planned for Indonesia either, as Rully commented in a separate report that others have been identified for the market. It was previously reported that Proton has secured the use of intellectual properties (IP) and the rights to manufacture and sell three Geely models – Boyue SUV, as well as the Binyue compact SUV (aka SX11) and Jiaji MPV (aka VF11).

    The agreement covers the design, development, manufacture, sale, marketing and distribution of the three above-mentioned models, with Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand being countries that Proton is allowed to market the licensed models in.

    Chinese automakers are slowly making their way into the Indonesia market of late, with the DFSK Glory 580 launched at this year’s GIIAS being an example. The Glory 580 offers seating for up to seven in a body about the size of the Honda CR-V, but at prices closer associated with the BR-V in the country. Also at the show this year is a preview of a Wuling SUV based on the Chinese market Baojun 530, which is one of the products offered by the SAIC-GM-Wuling joint venture.

    With Malaysia being the global production hub for right-hand drive Boyue for exports, the X70 is the Chinese carmaker’s indirect method of accessing the Indonesian market with a more premium offering compared to its competitors.

    GALLERY: Proton X70 Premium 2WD (Malaysia spec)

  • Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign – production model revealed, limited to 50 units, priced from RM4.7 million

    Remember the specially-commissioned Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign? Well, Nissan has revealed the production version of the show car, and just 50 units of the reimagined Godzilla will be made.

    Exterior-wise, the production car has stayed true to the concept, with a redesigned diffuser – incorporating the rear number plate – being the only noticeable change. Although the concept featured a two-tone Liquid Kinetic Grey and gold finish, buyers can ultimately decide on their choice of colours, including the striking blue hue you see here.

    Speaking of which, the interior gets the same gold theme with race-inspired dashboard, now outfitted with the standard GT-R’s steering wheel, instrument cluster and infotainment system. The concept was finished with a black Alcantara dashboard wrap, carbon fibre trimmings and black Italian leather seats, and you can expect some degree of customisation for the cabin on the production car.

    The GT-R50 concept was built on the bones of the GT-R Nismo facelift, powered by a reworked version of its 3.8 litre VR38DETT twin-turbo V6. The engine was uprated to make 720 PS at 7,100 rpm and 780 Nm of torque from 3,600 to 5,600 rpm, representing a significant 120 PS and 128 Nm jump over the donor car.

    This was achieved via larger GT3-spec turbochargers, bigger intercoolers, higher-flow fuel injectors and optimised ignition, intake and exhaust systems. Power was routed through a strengthened, rear-mounted six-speed dual-clutch transmission to the GT-R’s ATTESA E-TS all-wheel drive system, equipped with reinforced differentials and driveshafts.

    Other upgrades included a tweaked chassis with new Bilstein DampTronic I continuously adjustable damping system, new Brembo disc brakes with red six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers. The 21-inch alloys – uniquely designed for this car – are shod with Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres measuring 255/35 R21 up front and 285/30 R21 behind.

    Now, pricing. The GT-R50 has a starting price of 990,000 euros (RM4.7 million), and that’s excluding taxes and options. If you can stomach that price, expect your ride to be delivered starting next year.

    GALLERY: Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign concept

  • Perodua releases ads, teaser for new 7-seater SUV

    Click to enlarge

    Perodua has released newspaper ads and a banner on its website teasing the new SUV that is set to be launched early next year. Repeating the line made at the recent KL International Motor Show (KLIMS) – where the new model was previewed in a box with peep holes – it reads “Something Exciting Is Coming!”

    Besides that, the banner points out that the SUV is a seven-seater and has flexible seating arrangement. It’s also “petrol subsidy friendly” – that’s if the 1.5 litre engine cap for targeted fuel subsidies proposed in Budget 2019 is confirmed by the government.

    So, now we know that Perodua’s SUV – referred to internally as the NSU (New Sport Utilitymobile), codename D38L – will be powered by a 1.5 litre engine and the silhouette looks similar to the Toyota Rush, which of course comes with the Myvi’s 2NR Dual VVT-i engine. Toyota claims fuel economy of 15.6 km/l, which qualifies the seven-seater as an Energy Efficient Vehicle (EEV).

    All this points to the Rush and P2’s SUV being twins, much like the Toyota Rush and Daihatsu Terios in Indonesia.

    The latest Rush measures 4,435 mm long, 1,695 mm wide and 1,705 mm tall, with a 2,685 mm wheelbase. That makes it 21 mm shorter and 40 mm narrower than the Honda BR-V, but 39 mm taller. The wheelbase is 23 mm longer.

    The Rush comes with Pre-Collision System, which is an upgraded version of the Myvi’s Advanced Safety Assist (ASA) suite of safety features (working range up to 80 km/h from 30 km/h, pedestrian detection and braking up to 50 km/h). We’re expecting the P2 SUV to feature an enhanced ASA, plus a unique face and details.

    It’s also safe to assume that “Perodua’s Rush” will be priced lower than Toyota’s, which is pegged at RM93k to RM98k (est). The Honda BR-V’s price range is from RM81k to RM88k.

    While the Perodua is bound to look better (subjective, but we think most will agree) and have more kit than the BR-V, going head-to-head with Honda in price is probably a risk Perodua won’t take. So, how does a P-badged Rush for RM70+k sound to you? Register your interest here.

    GALLERY: Perodua SUV teaser at KLIMS 2018

    GALLERY: 2018 Toyota Rush 1.5S


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Last Updated 01 Dec 2018


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