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  • Mercedes-Benz to discontinue most wagon and coupe models in coming years due to strategy realignment

    Mercedes-Benz will discontinue several models as it reshapes its portfolio in the coming years, according to a report by Car and Driver. Between markets in Europe and the United States, the German carmaker currently offers 33 body styles, but only 14 will survive the cut.

    The planned downsizing of the line-up is aimed at boosting profits, with products that are tailored for extended personalised mobility services, easing the pressure on the driver and redefining creature comfort as a key brand value. This is said to boost profits at the expense of emotional products such as wagons, coupes and convertibles, but not all of them.

    “At the end of the day, we simply don’t need estate cars [wagons] or underperforming two-door offerings to boost volumes. The most essential elements of sustainable contemporary luxury cars are space and time. That’s our number one priority — not another fancy body style, a model that only works in Europe, or one last stab at a dying segment,” a senior member of Mercedes-Benz’s strategy team told the United States publication.

    Mercedes-Benz vehicles that are on their way out include coupe and convertible versions of the C-Class and E-Class, which are due to be dropped sometime between 2023 and 2024. These will be replaced by a single model reportedly called the CLE.

    Meanwhile, coupe-like SUVs and sedans will also be removed from the line-up, with the CLS set to depart in 2024, and the GT 4-Door Coupe set to follow in 2024 or 2025. New generations of the GLE and GLC Coupes will debut in the coming years, but they won’t be long for this world after that.

    As for wagons, the C-Class Estate will be around until 2028, while the next-generation E-Class (replaces the W213) will welcome its final wagon version before production ends in 2030. The CLA is also available as a wagon (called the Shooting Brake), and will still be offered in said body style in its next generation due in 2025, although this will be its last.

    It isn’t all doom and gloom though, as there will be a new Mercedes-AMG GT coupe that is reportedly based on the current SL roadster, which itself is said to gain a Maybach version. In 2026, a new four-door coupe, a next-generation SL and a new AMG GT Coupe – all of which will be electric – are set to make their debut.

    The Mercedes-Benz Modular Architecture (MMA) used for EVs will underpin a new GLG SUV in 2026, with the platform expected to accommodate battery capacities of up to 150 kWh for ranges near 805 km, even higher power outputs and an 800-volt electrical architecture for fast charging.

    The carmaker’s plans also includes a greater emphasis on AMG and Maybach models, with its new Mythos sub-brand also set to launch low-volume specials catering to dedicated (and rich) enthusiasts as well as collectors.

     
  • Proton X50 SUV to be given an update for 2023?

    First revealed in September 2020 and then officially launched the following month, the Proton X50 has been a strong seller for the national automaker, with more than 70,000 units sold so far. Of course, while consumer interest remains strong for it, the company is expected to give the B-segment SUV a refresh to keep it competitive.

    Based on a usual product cycle interval, that should come at the end of this year or the beginning of next year, but indications are that an update may come about sooner. This was hinted at in a video uploaded earlier today on the Proton Cars FB page.

    In the video, the chief executive of the Proton X50 development program, Mohd Haizam Ghazali, shared information about the SUV’s success and revealed that an update is on the cards.

    PROTON X50 – Malaysia’s Best-Selling SUV

    Build a ground breaking product and the customers will come.

    Since it was launched in October 2020, the Proton X50 has been Malaysia's favourite SUV, setting sales records along the way and redefining possibilities in its class with a combination of design, performance, safety, connectivity and comfort that is unmatched. Now hear from the head of the Proton X50 programme and gain new insights in to what makes it best and what we plan to do to keep the Intelligence that Amazes ahead of the competition.

    Discover more about the PROTON X50. Visit the nearest PROTON showroom or the official PROTON website: https://www.proton.com/en/find-a-car/protonx50

    #HiPROTON #INSPIRINGCONNECTIONS #PROTONX50 #IntelligencethatAmazes

    Posted by Proton Cars on Monday, 6 February 2023

    “The process of improving and adding to the model line at Proton will always and will continue to be done. We are aware of the competition we face today but we are also confident in the Proton X50’s ability to attract the attention of customers. Yes, there is indeed a plan to further improve the capabilities of the Proton X50, but wait for the announcement,” he added.

    We expect that the improvements Haizam is referring to will not be a complete facelift, but rather a mild update along the lines of that carried out on the 2022 Saga MC2 and 2023 Exora versions. A 2023 X50 will probably retain the existing look of the SUV, with slight cosmetic revisions carried out on the exterior and interior as well as the addition of some new features the only running changes.

    There’s also the possibility it will use the 1.5 litre three-cylinder turbo engine that is produced locally at its new engine plant in Tanjong Malim.

     

  • MRT2 Sungai Buloh-Putrajaya line launch date to be revealed after completion of trial runs – Anthony Loke

    A launch date for the MRT2 line from Sungai Buloh to Putrajaya will be set once trial runs and fine-tuning of systems for the rail line have been completed, transport minister Anthony Loke has said, according to The Star.

    “The completion of the second phase of the project will see an additional 24 stations opened. This will bring it to a total of 36 stations from Putrajaya Sentral to [Kwasa Damansara],” Loke was quoted as saying after taking a test ride on the rail line today.

    There will be 10 interchange stations located along the line, with the Titiwangsa station to be developed as a public transportation hub, the transport minister said. “The Hospital Kuala Lumpur station is also considered one of the main stations on the route, [and] it will allow more patients and visitors to travel to the hospital,” Loke said, adding that the station will have a 400-metre travelator.

    A total of 107 feeder buses will serve the MRT2 stations, and there will be 47 train sets which will be operated on the MRT2 line. The line is expected to have a ridership of 200,000 passengers a day within a year or two of its launch, said the transport minister according to The Star.

    Prasarana Malaysia expects this to contribute to a total daily ridership of 1.2 million passengers across its rail and bus services when the MRT Putrajaya Line is opened in full, up from the 722,000-passenger volume of last year, it said last month.

    The Phase 2 alignment of the Putrajaya Line was originally slated for completion in January, however MRT Corp announced in December that the 38.7 km-long section of the alignment is expected to be completed in March this year. This section consists of 15 elevated stations and nine underground stations.

    Meanwhile for the MRT3 rail project, Loke said that the finance ministry is expected to approve the project soon, according to the report. Also known as the Circle Line, MRT3 was approved by the previous administration of then-prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob in the first quarter of last year. This followed its cancellation by the earlier government under Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

     
  • Lamborghini Invencible and Autentica revealed – new one-offs celebrate the brand’s pure V12 NA engine

    In the coming weeks, Lamborghini will unveil the hybrid successor to the Aventador, but before then, the Italian carmaker is celebrating its renowned naturally-aspirated V12 engine in all its non-electrified glory with two special one-off models.

    Say hello to the Invencible coupe and Autentica roadster, both of which are powered by a 6.5 litre NA V12 that delivers 780 PS (769 hp) and 720 Nm of torque. These figures are identical to what you get with the Aventador Ultimae, with the duo also sporting the same seven-speed Independent Shifting Rod (ISR) gearbox, all-wheel drive system and Lamborghini Dynamic Steering system that controls all four wheels.

    If you hadn’t already guessed, Lamborghini’s latest creations are based on its outgoing flagship, but what sets them apart is the full carbon-fibre bodywork that incorporates design elements and technologies tested in motorsport.

    As an example, the sculpted bonnet is a direct nod to the Essenza SCV12, while the Sesto Elemento inspired the engine cover and large rear wing. The rest of the aggressive aerodynamics are derived from the Reventon and Veneno.

    According to the carmaker, these cars were designed by its Centro Stile with input from their owners early in the development process. This bespoke approach also sees a simpler interior compared to a regular Aventador, with no infotainment system fitted to “underline the lightness of the cabin and focus attention on pure driving enjoyment.”

    Carbon-fibre features heavily inside the cabin, which also requires new hexagonal-shaped, 3D-printed air vents to match the minimalist dash. The vacant space where the infotainment system used to reside now serves as a storage area, and both cars get dedicated graphics for their instrument clusters.

    As for final touches, the Invencible coupe comes with a Rosso Efesto paint finish complemented by sills and door frames in carbon. It also has brake calipers in Rosso Mars, which sit behind centre-lock wheels with carbon-fibre fairings to ventilate the brakes. On the classic scissor doors, there are two prominent hexagonal tricolours: a tribute to the Italian flag that is echoed on the door linings as well as well as on the steering wheel.

    The cabin also echoes the bodywork, with contrasts of Rosso Alala leather and Nero Cosmus Alcantara that are accentuated by personalised embroidery in Rosso Alala and Nero Ade. Meanwhile, the dashboard features a Lamborghini logo in Rosso Efesto, with the hue also used for the gearshift paddles on the steering wheel.

    The Auténtica roadster follows a different theme with a Grigio Titans body matched with details in Matt Black and Giallo Auge livery. The shade of yellow is repeated on the brake calipers and various aerodynamic elements, with the interior boasting embroidery in Giallo Taurus. This is joined by contrasting Nero Ade leather upholstery and two-tone Nero Cosmus and Grigio Octans Alcantara.

     
  • Ford to make a return to F1 after nearly 20-year hiatus – will partner with Red Bull Racing for 2026 season

    Ford has announced it will make a return to Formula 1, partnering with the Oracle Red Bull Racing team for the 2026 season to at least 2030. The Blue Oval has a rich history in Formula 1 and is the third most successful engine manufacturer – after Mercedes and Ferrari – in the history of the motorsport.

    The American carmaker’s involvement goes all the way back to the 1960s and the DFV (Double Four Valve) engine, which was built in partnership with British engineering firm Cosworth, that took 155 wins from 262 races between 1967 and 1985. In total, Ford have played a part in 10 constructors’ championships and 13 drivers’ championships. Ford was last involved in 2004 with the Jaguar Racing team before selling the outfit to Red Bull co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz, which eventually became Red Bull Racing.

    Ford’s return to the F1 after more than two decades coincides with the sport’s switch to new engine regulations that will go live in 2026. The carmaker will not only supply power units to the Red Bull Racing team, but also its sister team Scuderia AlphaTauri.

    “[Ford’s interest] started two-plus years ago, when we started to see and understand what the future of the sport was with the technology changes, the commitment to sustainable fuels, the net carbon zero and the change to the technical regulations to make electrification an even bigger component of the hybrid power unit,” said Mark Rushbrook, global director of Ford Performance Motorsports.

    “Ford will provide technical expertise in all areas where it can add value to the front-running world championship team. Areas to be explored together are in the combustion engine development and key developments like battery cell and electric motor technology, power unit control software and analytics,” the carmaker said in its release.

    Meanwhile, Jim Farley, president and CEO of the Ford Motor Company, said “Ford’s return to Formula 1 with Red Bull Racing is all about where we are going as a company – increasingly electric, software-defined, modern vehicles and experiences. F1 will be an incredibly cost-effective platform to innovate, share ideas and technologies, and engage with tens of millions of new customers.”

    Ford will replace Honda as Red Bull Powertrains’ technical partner, bringing an end to a successful relationship in 2025 that has brought two drivers’ championships and a constructors’ title to Red Bull Racing. Christian Horner, Oracle Red Bull Racing team principal and CEO, was full of praise for the Japanase manufacturer, calling them an “incredible company”.

    “We’ve had an incredible partnership with Honda and when they initially announced their withdrawal from Formula 1 in 2020, it was with great sadness and that’s what prompted the creation of Red Bull Powertrains, to take control for our own future. And as we set out on that journey, there was a change of plan with Honda, thankfully, to agree to continue to supply engines till the end of 2025, until we were building up our resource for 2026.” he said.

    “Now with an OEM partner like Ford our paths are different for the 2026 season. We wish Honda the very best of luck for 2026 as their plans look to crystalise. But between now and then we will be working very closely and looking to build on the success that we have achieved so far,” Horner continued.

    “This is a purely commercial and technical deal, so there is no exchange of any shares or participation within the business. It’s a very straightforward agreement where we will have the ability to share and have access to R&D, particularly on the EV side and self-technology, software development and so on,” he added.

     
  • Volvo EX90 7-seater EV – coming to Malaysia Q4 2024

    Following the global debut of the Volvo EX90 in November last year, we now bring you live images of the Swedish manufacturer’s flagship SUV from the brand’s headquarter’s in Gothenburg, Sweden, where the all-electric model was shown to visiting members of the media.

    According to Volvo Car Malaysia, the EX90 is expected to arrive in the country by the fourth quarter of 2024, with pricing to be confirmed. This follows the company’s on-screen teasing of the flagship seven-seater EV at an event in December 2022 in Malaysia, where it stated it aims to have 75% of its sales to be full EV models by 2025.

    Designed and unveiled as a fully electric model from the outset, the EX90 leads the marque’s ambition towards a fully zero-emissions model line-up by 2030, through the introduction of one new fully electric model each year.

    A choice of two powertrain options will be offered to buyers of the EX90, and both are of the dual-motor, AWD configuration. The first is dubbed the Twin Motor, offering 408 PS and 770 Nm, while the more potent option is the Twin Motor Performance that brings 517 PS and 910 Nm of torque.

    There is one motor on each axle for propulsion, and these are named the Electric Front Axle Drive (EFAD) and Electric Rear Axle Drive (ERAD), which produce 163 PS and 350 Nm of torque, and 245 PS and 420 Nm of torque, respectively.

    Thus equipped, the Twin Motor variant will do the 0-100 km/h run in 5.9 seconds, while the more powerful Twin Motor Performance variant will do the benchmark sprint in 4.9 seconds. Both are powered by a lithium-ion battery with 111 kWh of capacity (107 kWh usable), and range is estimated to be 600 km for the Twin Motor and 590 km for the Twin Motor Performance.

    Charging the EX90 can be done at a maximum rate of 250 kW DC through a CCS2 connection, which enables a 10-80% charge to be achieved in 30 minutes, or alternatively, an additional 180 km of range can be replenished in just 10 minutes. Regular AC charging via a Type 2 connection can be done at up to 11 kW, which will yield a full charge in 11 hours.

    Conversely, the EX90 can also supply electricity through its bi-directional charging capability, with an 11 kW output that can be used to power a house, electrical devices or another electric vehicle. A vehicle-to-grid (V2G) use case will also be supported in the future, which will enable EX90 users to sell energy back to the power grid during peak usage times.

    In terms of exterior design, the EX90 reveals that its ‘Thor’s hammer’ signature LED daytime running lamp physically opens along its width to reveal the main beam units. Complementing this setup is the LED tail lamps which also display an animated sequence upon start-up.

    Rolling stock for the EX90 as displayed here are of staggered width, with two-tone 22-inch alloys shod in Pirelli Scorpion Elect tyres measuring 265/40 in front, and 295/35 at the rear.

    Dimensions-wise, the EX90 is longer and wider than the XC90 that serves as the brand’s SUV flagship at present, with the all-electric newcomer measuring 5,037 mm long, 1,964 mm wide, 1,747 mm tall with a wheelbase of 2,985 mm. This also makes the EX90 lower than the XC90 by 29 mm, and its wheelbase is just 1 mm longer than the existing, combustion-engined model.

    Wondering what kinds of cargo might fit into the EX90? The electric seven-seater SUV offers an illustration of what objects will go in, courtesy of a diagram that is printed on the upper rear windscreen interior trim. While luggage capacity it typically measured in volume, the Volvo EX90 lists the available lengths in its various seating configurations.

    Here, it states that the tailgate aperture will accommodate 1.13 m (44.5 in) in width and 0.78 m (30.7 in) in height, while interior lengths up to the third row, second row and front row are 0.38 m, 1.2 m and 1.9 m, respectively. Items depicted as examples that will fit include a stroller, potted plant, oxygen tanks, a golf bag and a pair of skis, ranging to home items such as a lamp, fridge and a washing machine.

    Active safety equipment in the EX90 will be led by its suite of sensors that includes a roof-mounted Iris LiDAR sensor from Luminar, five radars, eight cameras, two interior cameras and 16 ultrasonic sensors.

    Manufacture of the Volvo EX90 will thus far be conducted at the brand’s US plant in South Carolina this year, followed by China at the Daqing manufacturing plant in 2024.

    GALLERY: 2023 Volvo EX90

     
  • Top 10 best-selling cars in Europe in 2022 – Peugeot 208 takes the top spot, VW Golf falls from first to fifth

    The Peugeot 208 was Europe’s best-selling car in 2022 according to data released by JATO Dynamics. The French hatchback recorded 206,816 deliveries last year, which was 5% more than in 2021 and enough to dethrone to Volkswagen Golf that has been the most popular car in Europe since 2007. In fact, the Golf slipped several places last year to wind up at fifth with 177,203 units (-14%) sold.

    Coming in second was the “good news” car, the Dacia Sandero, with 200,550 units (+1%), followed by the Volkswagen T-Roc in third with 181,153 units (-3%) and the Fiat/Abarth 500 in fourth with 179,863 units (+3%).

    Other cars that made the top 10 include the Toyota Yaris in sixth (175,713 units; -4%), the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa in seventh (164,358 units; -9%), the Hyundai Tucson in eighth (150,803 units; +1%), the Dacia Duster in ninth (149,648 units; +2%) and the Renault Clio in tenth (143,561 units; -27%).

    Click to enlarge

    The data also showed some breakout models like the Tesla Model Y in 13th place, which saw a 417% increase in deliveries to hit 138,128 units. Trailing close by in the 15th spot is the Toyota Yaris Cross that saw a 402% jump to 136,986 units. Other notable increases are the Peugeot 308 (90,160 units; +80%) as well as the Cupra Formentor (87,175 units; +68%).

    Across car brands in Europe, Volkswagen continued to be the king of the region with 1,198,926 units delivered (-6%), with Toyota (766,227 units; +8%) in second and Mercedes-Benz in third (647,880 units; +1%).

    The podium finishers are followed by BMW in fourth (646,526 units; -5%), Peugeot in fifth (623,825 units; -15%), Audi in sixth (614,276 units; +3%), Renault in seventh (584,804 units; -14%), Ford in eighth (548,045 units; -1%), Skoda in ninth (538,008 units; -9%) and Kia in tenth (537,508 units; +7%).

    Best-selling European car brands (left), car models (right); click to enlarge

    As with the cars, certain brands also recorded triple-digit percentage increases in terms of sales. These include MG (113,672 units; +116%), Geely-owned Lynk & Co (26,387 units; +214%), DR Automobiles that sells rebadged Chery vehicles (24,908 units; +197%), BYD (4,083 units; +282%) and Genesis (2,822 units, +453%).

    Overall, car sales in the European region last year ended with 11,309,310 units delivered, which is actually down 4.1% when compared to 2021, and the lowest level since 1985. The 2022 figure is also 5.6% less when compared to 2020, and 29% lower than pre-pandemic 2019.

     
  • Enable Grab’s Quiet Ride option to minimise small talk

    Grab has rolled out a new feature called Quiet Ride in Malaysia, after a period of testing since October last year. Quiet Ride lets you to indicate to the driver that you prefer to keep conversations to a minimum.

    Previously, Quiet Ride was being evaluated in Malaysia, but to enable it you had to manually type “Quiet Ride” in the chat section with the driver. Now, there is a proper checkbox option to tick to enable the feature.

    To enable it, follow the instructions above. Basically the checkbox is in the same area where you enable the Ride Cover insurance and Carbon Neutral fee.

    Thankfully, while those options have to be paid for, Quiet Ride is free of charge to enable.

     
  • JPJ says fake driving licence scams still prevalent online, advises public not to be duped by such offers

    The road transport department (JPJ) says that the scam involving the sale of fake driving licences is still prevalent on social media to this day, and has again advised the public to not fall for such offers.

    The department’s deputy director-general (management) M. Janagarajan said forged licences, also known as ‘flying licences’ or lesen terbang, spell trouble because they are non-valid, as Bernama reports

    “Actually, this is not an issue of a ‘flying licence’. The real issue is forgery. The licence is not a legitimate one. It is an offence committed by scammers whereby the ‘licence’ has no record nor does it exist in the JPJ system. If a driver obtains a licence by this means, he or she doesn’t actually own a valid licence and needs to remember that it is fake,” he said.

    “The modus operandi of these scammers is to offer advertisements on social media saying that the document is a valid licence when in fact, it is not valid. Some victims make payments and, if they get lucky, are issued with what is a fake licence, while there are also victims complaining that the scammer’s account is closed and cannot be traced once payment is made,” he added.

    “What the public needs to remember is that any holder of this fake licence can only use it for a short time before this forgery is detected when the driver tries to renew the driving licence the following year,” he said.

    Janagarajan said the department has identified many victims of such licence scammers, and action is being taken through the JPJ’s driving licensing integrity department. He said that through cooperation with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and police, court action would be taken against suspects who scam the public.

    The sale of illegal driving licences has been around for a good while, with continued posts on social media offering a variety of “convenient” services. These include vehicle ownership transfers that do not require the original owner’s registration document, renewal of road tax that has lapsed (beyond three years) without requiring a Puspakom inspection as well as the ability for a buyer to obtain a driving licence without sitting for the theory and practical exams.

    These fake licences have been popping up on foreign shores, such as Australia – last April, a Malaysian woman was caught for driving with a fake Malaysian driver’s licence in New South Wales, and later in the year, three more Malaysians were hauled up for similar offences.

     
  • PLUS Meru Tunnel left lane closure from Kuala Kangsar to Ipoh southbound – nightly till Feb 16

    Click to enlarge

    PLUS users, take note. The North South Highway’s Meru Tunnel from Kuala Kangsar to Ipoh, southbound, will see a temporary closure of the left lane between KM260.30 and KM262.05 for pavement rehabilitation work.

    The closure will be activated in stages from today (February 7) till February 16, between 9pm and midnight daily. During this period, a contra flow will be activated at the affected stretch depending on the traffic situation to facilitate smoother flow, PLUS says.

    Those heading from the north to Ipoh and KL, follow the the road signs and personnel on the ground when in the area. Drive safe.

     
 
 
 

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Last Updated 02 Feb 2023