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  • Volkswagen considering possible Ducati sale – report

    Having repeatedly said no in the past, Volkswagen may now be changing its tune to a yes in the case of the potential sale of Ducati. Over the course of 2016, rumours abounded that the Italian motorcycle brand – acquired by Audi in 2012 – was set to be off-loaded in an effort to cover ever increasing costs brought about by the Dieselgate scandal.

    Now, Reuters reports that the German automaker is considering a possible Ducati sale, citing two sources familiar with the matter. It has tasked an investment banking boutique to come up with possible options in a bid to streamline spending, and one of the moves being bandied about is the sale of Ducati.

    The sources told the news agency that VW has already put out feelers to potential buyers, but no firm decision had yet been taken on whether the brand will be sold. They added that if the idea of a sale doesn’t attract sufficient interest, the automaker may also look at a stock market flotation option for Ducati.

    According to one of the sources, Ducati could fetch a valuation of up to 1.5 billion euros, or 15 times its core earnings, and the brand may appeal to Asian buyers in China or India, which might view Ducati as a catch. The sources added that private equity firms might have an interest in the brand.

  • BARU: Artikel dalam Bahasa Malaysia

  • Bermaz launches new Mazda Mobile Service Unit

    Aside from the introduction of the new Mazda MX-5 RF and GVC-equipped models, Bermaz also introduced its new Mazda Mobile Service Unit, which makes car servicing and maintenance more convenient for customers. The service is currently only available in the Klang Valley and Penang region.

    “With the increasing Mazda population on the road, we see a need in the after-sales service expansion programme, not only by increasing the number of workshop outlets but exploring ways of providing after-sales servicing to owners at the convenience and comfort of their own home.

    “The Mazda Mobile Service Unit will be backed by well-trained mechanics and technicians that have conformed to Mazda SOPs and are fully endorsed by Bermaz,” said Datuk Seri Ben Yeoh, CEO of Bermaz Motor.

    With an investment of over RM500,000, the Mazda Mobile Service Unit features a fully equipped tool set, 2.5-tonne quick-jack capable of lifting a CX-5 and BT-50, the Mazda Mobile Diagnostic System (MMDS) to conduct assessments on various electronic circuits, a generator on-board for electricity consumption and many more.

    Services available include scheduled maintenance for vehicles within the three-year/60,000 km free service period, inspection and replacement of battery, wiper blades, brake pads, brake fluids and automatic transmission fluid.

  • 2017 Mazda 3 facelift launched in Malaysia – now with G-Vectoring Control; three variants, from RM111k

    At long last, the facelifted Mazda 3 has been launched in Malaysia, available in both sedan and hatchback body styles. Three locally-assembled (CKD) variants are on offer here – Sedan GL, Sedan High and Hatchback – with four exterior paint colours to choose from – Artic White, Blue Reflex, Meteor Grey and Aluminium Metallic.

    The changes from the pre-facelift model are pretty subtle to say the least, starting with a bolder front grille that blends into the headlights. There’s also a redesigned bumper with a wider lower intake, sleeker-looking LED-type fog lamps to match, and the Mazda logo has been shifted slightly downwards as well.

    Along the sides, the 3’s profile remains as before, with the only modification being the side mirrors, whereby the indicators are now a thin LED strip rather than the corner-mounted ones previously. Similarly, the alterations at the back are limited to a new design for the reflector and rear fog lamp units on the hatchback, while the sedan gains a low-mounted fog lamp.

    As for the inside, the new 3 now comes with an electronic parking brake that frees up space in the centre console for a covered stowage space (with two cupholders within). Elsewhere, there is a new steering wheel lifted from the CX-9; new graphics and font type for the instrument cluster; and the improved Active Driving Display (heads-up display) now displays information in full colour. The latter is only available for the Sedan High and Hatchback.

    Under the hood, the all variants of the 3 continue to employ the familiar 2.0 litre SkyActiv-G petrol engine with 162 hp at 6,000 rpm and 210 Nm at 4,000 rpm. The high-compression mill sends drive to the front wheels via a six-speed SkyActiv-Drive automatic transmission. Mazda’s idling stop (i-Stop) and drive select (Sport mode) systems are also retained here.

    A big upgrade here is the addition of Mazda’s SkyActiv-Vehicle Dynamics suite that includes the new G-Vectoring Control system. The system, which is already available on the latest CX-3 and 6, varies engine torque in response to steering inputs, subtly controlling lateral and longitudinal acceleration forces to ensure a more direct and responsive drive. We sampled the system back in September 2016, and you can find out more about how it works, here.

    In terms of equipment, all three variants receive the MZD Connect infotainment system with a seven-inch touchscreen display, Commander Control and six speakers; reverse camera; six airbags; Dynamic Stability Control; traction control; ABS with EBD; Isofix child seat anchors and brake assist.

    Individually, the base-spec Sedan GL comes with halogen headlights, bulb-type rear taillights, 16-inch alloy wheels (with 205/60 tyres), fabric seats, a manual air-conditioning system, manually adjustable front seats and 60:40 split-folding rear seats.

    Moving up the ranks, the Sedan High and Hatchback gain four-diode, adaptive LED automatic headlights (with DRLs), LED-type rear taillights, 18-inch alloys (with 215/45 tyres), leather seats, a single-zone automatic air-conditioning system, paddle shifters, an electrically adjustable driver’s seat, automatic wipers, cruise control and keyless entry.

    The Sedan High and Hatchback also receive a bump in the safety department with the i-Activsense suite, which includes a Lane Departure Warning System, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Smart City Brake Support and blind spot monitoring system.

    Pricing wise, the Sedan GL retails at RM110,804, the Sedan High at RM125,804, and the Hatchback at RM128,804. The prices listed are on-the-road without insurance and for models paired with a solid exterior paint colour. Those who prefer a metallic paint finish will need to top up an additional RM400 (all variants).

    Among the optional extras include a Sports Kit for RM2,645, which tags on a front lip and side skirts finished in black gloss, a body-coloured rear lip and a rear spoiler (sedan only). Other items include illuminated door sill plates (RM300), boot tray (RM200), SkyTint film (RM1,900) and navigation system (RM1,270). The latter is standard on the Sedan High and Hatchback.

    Each purchase includes a five-year/100,000 km manufacturer’s warranty as well as a three-year/60,000 km free maintenance package (inclusive of labour, parts and lubricants). For more information and a detailed list of specifications, head on over to (hatchback here).

    In conjunction with the launch, Bermaz is organising the “Let’s Celebrate Driving” event, which will take place at Setia City Convention Centre (April 28 to May 1), along with a Mazda road show in Setia City Mall (April 27 to May 1). Customers will be able to test drive the latest Mazda models, while pre-owned cars from Mazda Anshin are also available (from RM60,000). There will also be plenty of fun-filled activities for everyone to enjoy.

  • Mazda MX-5 RF launched in Malaysia – folding hardtop, manual and auto transmissions, from RM243k

    It’s been a year and a half since the Mazda MX-5 arrived on our shores, but the long-awaited folding hardtop variant, the MX-5 RF, has finally arrived. More of a targa than a full convertible, it effectively replaces the original soft top version that has been on sale since August 2015.

    As we’ve reported earlier, purists can rejoice at the fact that a manual transmission option has been introduced with the RF, joining the existing automatic. Prices stand at RM242,717 for the manual and RM248,182 for the automatic, on-the-road inclusive of insurance, a five-year/100,000 km warranty and a three-year/60,000 km free service package. By comparison, the soft-top auto retailed at RM226,376.

    Setting the RF – which stands for Retractable Fastback – apart from the standard soft top model is the three-part power-folding roof. The front and middle portions fold and stow under the rear buttresses, creating a cabin that Mazda says combines the freedom of open air with a sense of security. While it’s electric compared to the soft top’s lightning-quick hand operation, the roof takes just 13 seconds to open and close.

    Inside, a sound-absorbing headliner on the front and middle roof panels and sound insulation around the rear wheel wells are designed to offer a significantly quieter cabin with the roof closed. The suspension and steering have also been retuned to improve ride comfort, whilst retaining the roadster’s trademark agility, performance and driver involvement.

    The roof adds five millimetres to the overall height, as well as 58 kg to the kerb weight – the automatic model tips the scales at 1,138 kg versus 1,080 kg for the soft top, while the manual is slightly lighter at 1,112 kg. Boot space remains the same, at a rather restrictive 130 litres.

    As with the soft top, power comes from a 2.0 litre SkyActiv-G direct-injected four-cylinder engine that develops 158 hp at 6,000 rpm and 200 Nm at 4,000 rpm. Drive is sent to the rear wheels via either a six-speed SkyActiv-MT manual transmission or a six-speed SkyActiv-Drive automatic with paddle shifters.

    Standard kit includes LED headlights with adaptive front lighting and high-beam control, LED daytime running lights, LED tail lights, 17-inch gunmetal grey alloy wheels, keyless entry, push-button start, auto lights and wipers, single-zone auto air-con, cruise control, an MZD Connect infotainment system with a seven-inch touchscreen and a nine-speaker Bose sound system with headrest speakers.

    Safety-wise, both models come with four airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist, stability control and lane departure warning. The car gets a four-star Euro NCAP safety rating and five stars from ANCAP.

    Browse full specifications and equipment on all Mazda MX-5 variants, and get the best deals on a new car, on

  • IIMS 2017: New Honda CR-V launched in Indonesia – seven-seat 1.5L VTEC Turbo, five-seat 2.0L NA

    The new Honda CR-V was launched in Thailand last month at the Bangkok show, and the fifth-generation SUV has now been launched in Indonesia at the 2017 Indonesia International Motor Show (IIMS). Two engines are available in the Republic, and both are different from the ones available in the Land of Smiles. This should be closer to what we will get in Malaysia.

    While the Thai-spec CR-V comes with a 1.6 litre i-DTEC turbodiesel and a 2.4 litre NA petrol engine, Indonesian CR-V buyers get to choose from a 2.0 litre NA petrol engine and a 1.5 litre turbocharged petrol engine. The VTEC Turbo unit should be one of our engine options in Malaysia when the SUV debuts in CKD form this year.

    Here, the blown DOHC four-pot makes 190 PS and 240 Nm of torque delivered between 2,000 and 5,000 rpm. That should give it significantly more oomph than the 2.0 litre SOHC NA, which pushes out 154 PS and 189 Nm of twist at 4,300 rpm. That’s more than the 173 PS and 220 Nm from 1,700 to 5,500 rpm in the Civic FC Turbo.

    Both engines send power to the front wheels via a CVT automatic with steering paddle shifters. No NSX-style button gear selector like in the Thai diesel model.

    Standard across the board are halogen projector headlamps with LED daytime running lights, fog lamps, rear LED light bars, 18-inch alloys, cruise control, audio and phone steering buttons, seven-inch touchscreen head unit, rear AC vents, manual AC, reverse camera, fabric seats, electronic parking brake with auto hold, dual airbags, VSA and Hill Start Assist.

    While the 2.0L is a five seater, the 1.5L Turbo is a seven-seater with a extra third row of seats. To the above kit, it adds on dual exhaust pipes, interior wood trim, dual-zone auto AC with nanoe air purifier, rear AC system (roof vents with fan speed control) and smart entry with push start.

    Also in are a nine-inch touchscreen head unit with navi, multi-angle reverse camera, eight-way driver’s seat electric adjustment with lumbar, leather seats plus a leather wrapped steering and gear knob.

    As seen here, the top spec 1.5L Turbo Prestige is differentiated on the outside by its LED headlamps, LED foglamps and “bold” five-spoke rims (still 18-inch items). Also on the top CR-V are a powered tailgate (with height adjustment), panoramic sunroof, four-way electric front passenger seat, and six airbags with the addition of side and curtain airbags. No digital meter panel, though.

    The CR-V, a premium SUV here, is priced from 432 million rupiah (RM141,018) for the 2.0L. The 1.5L Turbo starts from 468 million rupiah (RM152,773) while the 1.5L Turbo Prestige with all the bells and whistles is priced at 508 million rupiah (RM165,841).

    GALLERY: Honda CR-V 1.5L Turbo Prestige

  • All-new Mazda CX-5, Malaysian-spec CX-9 could arrive in September this year – CKD, premium colours

    During a press conference at the launch of the new Mazda G-Vectoring Control model line-up as well as the MX-5 RF, Bermaz CEO Datuk Seri Ben Yeoh revealed that the all-new CX-5 could be launched locally by September or October this year.

    He noted that the second-generation CX-5 will be a locally-assembled (CKD) model from Mazda Malaysia’s Inokom plant in Kulim. The facility, which is currently being upgraded, will allow CKD models to be painted with the brand’s premium colours like Soul Red Crystal Metallic and the more recent Machine Gray Metallic. Both colours are not available on any CKD Mazda models sold here.

    Considering the new CX-5 retains the same engine line-up as before – 2.0 and 2.5 litre SkyActiv-G petrol engines as well as a sole 2.2 litre SkyActiv-D diesel – we should expect such offerings to be offered to Malaysians as well (same as current).

    On to another SUV, Yeoh also said the Malaysian-spec CX-9 will arrive around the same time, replacing the Australian-spec models currently offered here. No specific details were given but he suggested that the Malaysian-spec model could receive a higher equipment level while prices will remain unchanged.

    Initial models will be fully-imported (CBU) units, with CKD operations expected to follow after, subject to consideration. For now, the CX-9 is available for RM323,850 for the 4WD model, while the 2WD model is priced at RM307,950 (on-the-road without insurance).

    GALLERY: Second-generation Mazda CX-5

    GALLERY: Australian-spec Mazda CX-9 FWD

  • Subaru XV 2.0i-S STI introduced in Malaysia – RM123k

    Motor Image has introduced a new addition to the facelifted Subaru XV range – the XV 2.0i-S STI arrives all dressed up with STI accessories. Kit includes an STI rear roof spoiler, STI rear under spoiler and STI side skirts as standard for this edition.

    Buyers have the option to add on more bits, at a premium. Additional items on the list include an STI flexible tower bar, STI front under spoiler and 17-inch STI alloy wheels.

    Otherwise, the XV rolls on unchanged, mechanically or physically. The facelift made its local debut in January last year, and at point of launch two versions were introduced, a 2.0i and 2.0i-Premium.

    The XV is powered by a FB-series 2.0 litre DOHC naturally-aspirated flat-four petrol engine offering 150 PS at 6,200 rpm and 196 Nm of torque at 4,200 rpm. Drive is sent to Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system (60:40 split front-to-rear) via a Lineartronic CVT, which has six virtual ratios.

    The Subaru XV 2.0i-S STI is available at an introductory price of RM122,688 (before GST, without insurance, registration fee and road tax), and this special pricing is applicable while stocks last.

  • IIMS 2017: Daihatsu Ayla and Toyota Agya LCGC twins

    Selamat siang. We are reporting live from the JIExpo in Jakarta where the 2017 Indonesia International Motor Show (IIMS) was launched by vice president of Indonesia Jusuf Kalla this morning. IIMS is a regular stop in our annual regional motor show coverage, with the aim of showing you relevant and/or interesting cars that our neighbours get.

    A car that fits the bill is the facelifted Daihatsu Ayla and its Toyota Agya twin, both produced by Astra Daihatsu Motor in Indonesia. The refreshed LCGC (low cost green car) duo was revealed earlier this month and is making its motor show debut at IIMS. Of course, this is the Indonesian version of Malaysia’s best selling car, the Perodua Axia, which was facelifted in January.

    The Ayla and Agya are now available with a 1.2 litre Dual VVT-i engine, which puts out 88 PS at 6,000 rpm and 108 Nm of torque at 4,200 rpm. This is the same 3NR unit used in the Toyota Calya/Daihatsu Sigra budget three-row MPV. The DOHC four-pot motor can be had with two transmissions – a five-speed manual and a four-speed automatic.

    The 1.0 litre option remains for both Ayla and Agya, but the three-cylinder KR engine has been fortified with VVT-i variable valve timing in the Toyota, like our 67 PS/91 Nm Perodua Axia. Without VVT, the 1.0L engine in the Daihatsu Ayla makes 65 PS and 86 Nm of torque. As with the 1.2L, gearbox choices include a 5MT and a 4AT.

    The Daihatsu comes in a wide range of 10 variants, three more than the Toyota. The 1.2L gets a brand new face to set it apart from the 1.0L, which is not too different from the pre-facelift. The 1.2L’s new face is rather streamlined and handsome, and is this writer’s favourite in the Ayla/Agya series. Tail light extensions stuck on the tailgate – not present on the Axia – differentiate the 1.0L and 1.2L variants.

    The top-spec Ayla 1.2 R Deluxe pictured here (orange paint is reserved for the 1.2L) comes with LED position lamps and LED DRLs, fog lamps, wing mirror indicators, chrome muffler and a bodykit. ‘R’ cars also feature a 2-DIN touch screen head unit and steering audio buttons. The Axia facelift’s keyless entry/push start and tailgate handle are not available in Indonesia.

    The Toyota Agya is available in 1.0 E, 1.0 G, 1.2 G and 1.2 TRD S variants. 1.2L models get Bluetooth, audio buttons, two-tone 14-inch alloys and window visors.

    The range topping TRD S, which is available in a new yellow colour, adds on a bodykit for the full “joker” face. The kit includes front/rear bumper extensions, side skirts, tailgate spoiler with stop lamp and TRD logos on the sides and back. Only this top Agya variant has ABS brakes, which is not available in the Daihatsu Ayla range.

    Plenty of flash and extra effort in styling for the Ayla/Agya facelift, and there’s now a bigger engine on offer here, but our Axia is better equipped in convenience and safety features. The Daihatsu Ayla is priced from 92,550,000 rupiah (RM30,213) to 146,250,000 rupiah (RM47,751), while the Toyota Agya starts at 131,500,000 rupiah (RM42,935) and tops out at 151,900,000 rupiah (RM49,596). What do you think?

    GALLERY: Daihatsu Ayla 1.2 R Deluxe

    GALLERY: Daihatsu Ayla 1.0 X

    GALLERY: Toyota Agya 1.2 TRD S

    GALLERY: Toyota Agya 1.0 G

  • Uber to roll out flying taxis in Dallas, Dubai by 2020

    Ride-sharing company Uber has set some very ambitious goals – it aims to set up a network of flying taxis in Dallas, Texas and in Dubai by 2020, according to Uber’s chief product officer Jeff Holden, as reported by Reuters.

    Uber’s flying taxis will be small electric aircraft with VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) capabilities, produce zero emissions and be quiet enough to operate in cities, the company says. Freed from the constraints of road networks, travelling by flying taxi could significantly reduce travel time, for example, from two hours between the San Francisco Marina and San Jose to 15 minutes, the company says.

    To that end, Uber has hired former NASA engineer Mark Moore for expertise in developing the flying cars, according to a Bloomberg report. Uber also thinks that it can bring the cost to the passenger down to US$1.32 (RM5.73) per passenger mile, with the aim of making it ‘economically irrational’ to drive a car on the ground, Holden said at the Uber Elevate summit.

    Uber is working with Hillwood Properties for the construction of four vertiports – VTOL hubs with multiple take-off and landing pads – with charging infrastructure. Theses will be located in Dallas, and commencement work has been mooted for next year, says Holden. The ride-sharing company is also partnering with aeronautics companies including Bell Helicopter, Aurora, Pipistrel, Mooney and Embraer for the production of flying taxis.

    A partnership with US electric vehicle charging station manufacturer Chargepoint has also been formed, and Uber is working with the EV charger manufacturer for the development of an exclusive charger network for its flying taxis. Meanwhile, Uber’s partnership with the Dubai government has the aim of conducting passenger flights in its vehicles as part of the World Expo 2020 in Dubai.

    On the manufacturer front, we reported earlier that Toyota filed a patent in 2014 for a shapeshifting flying car, while aircraft manufacturer Airbus has also been working on Project Vahana, “an autonomous flying vehicle platform for individual passenger and cargo transport,” according to the aeronautics company headquartered in France.

  • Kia to set up its first factory in India, ready by Q2 2019

    Kia Motors has announced that it will be setting up a manufacturing plant in India, its first in the country. Construction of the new facility, which will be located in Anantapur district, Andhra Pradesh, will commence in the final quarter of 2017.

    Built with a US$1.1 billion investment, the new plant is expected to begin production in the second half of 2019 and assemble up to approximately 300,000 units each year. Local sales of cars produced at the new facility will commence towards the end of 2019, once mass production begins.

    The automaker plans to produce a strategic compact sedan and compact SUV for the Indian market at the new factory, which will occupy around 23 million sq ft and incorporate facilities for stamping, welding, painting and assembly. The site will also be home to numerous supplier companies’ facilities.

    No surprises as to Kia’s move to set up a manufacturing base in India. The country is the fastest growing major new car market and the fifth largest in the world, with more than 3.3 million new cars sold in 2016. Forecasts suggest the country will become the third-largest car market globally by the end of 2020.


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