COVID-19 Archive

  • Continental plans on selling its turbocharger business

    In a bid to cut losses, German supplier Continental is looking to sell its turbocharger business after deeming it “not so strategically important and lacks the scale required to compete globally,” insiders told Automotive News. The move is part of the company’s major restructuring programme.

    Continental, Europe’s second largest car-parts supplier, is working with Citigroup Inc on the sale. It’s understood that the company is having talks with several potential buyers, but a sale is not yet The Volkswagen Group and Ford are among the few companies which use Continental’s turbochargers.

    It isn’t the only one, though. Just last month, supplier Garrett Motion also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with the United States Bankruptcy Court. It cites its struggles with debt amid the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as a dispute former parent company Honeywell over asbestos liabilities.

    Continental added that it will post yet another quarterly loss due to impairments and restructuring measures. Its supervisory board had approved a major overhaul last month, affecting up to 30,000 jobs, some of which will either be displaced or eliminated.

     
     
  • Proton X50 SUV production not affected by Covid-19 outbreak, launch to happen virtually – report

    Yesterday, Proton announced that a total of 50 employees have tested positive for the coronavirus. It’s certainly a serious situation for all concerned, but it seems to have not sidelined the company’s production schedule for the highly-awaited X50 SUV – if a report by SoyaCincau is any indication.

    In a statement published by the tech portal, the national carmaker said that while the engineering division has been quarantined due to the new cases, it does not expect production volumes to be affected. It added that it will proceed with launching the car this year, although it will do so in virtual form.

    The company originally intended for the launch to be a physical event but then decided that it would be out of step with the “mood of the nation” – even before the Klang Valley’s second conditional movement control order was implemented last week. As such, it has scaled down its plans considerably.

    In the meantime, Proton is still taking orders for the X50, a B-segment SUV based on the Geely Binyue/Coolray. The car debuts several new features, including a revised Geely Key User Interface (GKUI 19) and Level 2 semi-autonomous driving functions. These include autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control with stop and go and lane centring assist.

    All variants will be powered by a 1.5 litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine in two flavours. Standard, Executive and Premium models get the port-injected version with 150 PS and 226 Nm of torque, while the Flagship receives the direct-injected variant making 177 PS and 255 Nm. A seven-speed wet dual-clutch transmission is fitted as standard, with drive sent to the front wheels.

    GALLERY: 2020 Proton X50 1.5 TGDi Flagship

     
     
  • Borrowers who declined repayment assistance can apply for it in 2020 or 2021 if their situation gets worse

    Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has announced that repayment assistance will remain available for borrowers, including those who have previously declined it. According to the central bank, borrowers would still be able to apply to their respective banks for targeted assistance throughout 2020 and into 2021 if their financial circumstances change in the future.

    The month of October saw the country transition into a targeted moratorium after the blanket automatic loan moratorium, which began from April 1, ended on September 30. Prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin previously announced a three-month extension to the bank loan moratorium (October 1 to December 31), albeit with some changes from the first time around. Following BNM’s recent announcement, this assistance looks set to continue into next year as well.

    In the case of hire purchase loans, which are usually taken on to purchase cars, banks will be able to provide the option of rescheduling your instalments accordingly, in accordance to the Hire Purchase Act. Unlike during the initial moratorium period (April 1 to September 30), where borrowers did not need to pay anything for six months, the newer targeted repayment assistance will see your loan being restructured instead.

    For example, the loan term can be extended for a revised monthly instalment amount and possibly with interest as well (check with your respective banks first). Certain banks appear to allow further deferment but with terms and conditions attached, and as these plans are individualised to suit each customer’s situation, various factors such as financial condition, affordability and account status will be taken into consideration first.

    In an official release, BNM said the scale of targeted repayment assistance is “unprecedented in Malaysia’s banking history.” It adds that while borrowers have access to assistance, special consideration will be given to households from the B40 category, micro businesses as well as those affected by movement restrictions.

    For borrowers who require assistance at this time, they will be able to discuss with their respective banks on customising their repayment plans based on what they can afford. With this, should their circumstances become more challenging in the future, they would have more recent repayment records to facilitate further assistance by banks.

    Meanwhile, borrowers who are now able and have started to resume payments are encouraged to continue doing so, as this would not only reduce the overall cost of borrowings, but also allow assistance to be channelled to those that need it. However, should their financials take a turn for the worse, targeted repayment assistance would still be available.

    If you do need repayment assistance, BNM urges affected borrowers to come forward and apply for it with their banks using proper channels. It states that banks are required to respond to such applications within five days for individual borrowers and within 14 days for SME borrowers – those that do not receive a response within these timeframes should contact BNMTELELINK.

    Click to enlarge

    The central bank also assured borrowers affected by the conditional movement control order (CMCO) or enhanced movement control order (EMCO) that they can expect a prompt and seamless process even as banks in affected areas continue to operate under appropriate SOPs. For those unable to have face-to-face engagements or furnish documents due to movement restrictions, they can contact their banks via website, phone or email.

    Individual and SME borrowers who need advice and assistance, including options for debt restructuring, can also contact AKPK (Agensi Kaunseling & Pengurusan Kredit). For borrowers that were already facing financial difficulties prior to the pandemic, a moratorium extension is not a sustainable solution, says BNM, and they should approach AKPK for assistance.

    The central bank also stated that applications for repayment assistance made any time before June 30, 2021 will also not appear on a borrowers’ CCRIS records, and there are no processing fees/charges associated with them for both individual and SME borrowers.

     
     
  • Proton – 49 more employees test positive for Covid-19

    Proton has announced that subsequent to one of its employees having tested positive for Covid-19 on October 14, a further 49 other cases at the automaker have now been detected. All are employees from the engineering division in Shah Alam, and have been reported to the authorities.

    As of now, the company has requested all non-essential personnel working within the Shah Alam facility to work from home as a precautionary measure. The company reiterated that it will “continue to strictly follow all guidelines and procedures as it has been doing from the start of the pandemic.”

    It reassured customers that the Centre of Service Excellence (COSE) and showroom at its Shah Alam facility undergoes disinfection hourly, and all customer facing personnel follow a rigorous procedure to ensure safety protocols are adhered to.

    Proton added that it has been adhering to official protocols and is continuing its efforts with more stringent actions to ensure prevention of further spread. It said that contact tracing is ongoing and a Covid-19 team is monitoring the situation very closely.

     
     
  • Roadblocks placed at Selangor state borders and toll plazas to curb travel during CMCO – 17 now for PLUS

    Police roadblocks have been set up at toll plazas and state borders in Selangor to prevent inter-district and interstate travel during the conditional movement control order (MCO) period. The CMCO announced for the state, as well as the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, will be enforced until October 27.

    Selangor police chief Datuk Noor Azam Jamaludin said the move is aimed at curbing unnecessary travel, which was still occurring, The Star reports. “We conducted 63 roadblocks on the first day. There were many who tried to cross districts and states without valid reasons,” he told reporters.

    He said he was aware of road congestion due to the roadblocks, but explained that the intention of the travel restrictions was to stop the spread of Covid-19 and hoped the public would remain patient and cooperate with authorities.

    Meanwhile, PLUS Malaysia has announced that a total of 17 police roadblocks have been set up at toll plazas on its highways as of yesterday. Nine were set up on the first day of the CMCO, at the Jalan Duta, Setia Alam, Putra Mahkota, Sungai Buaya, Bukit Tagar, Bukit Beruntung, Lembah Beringin, Shah Alam and Seafield toll plazas.

    Eight additional roadblocks were set up yesterday, at the Rawang, Tanjung Malim, Bukit Raja, Kajang, Bangi, USJ, Putra Heights and Bandar Saujana Putra toll plazas

     
     
  • Proton R&D employee tests positive for Covid-19 – now undergoing treatment; customers not exposed

    This just in. Proton has announced that one of its employees from the Research and Development Department in Shah Alam has tested positive for Covid-19. The employee was tested positive on October 14, and was immediately hospitalised.

    Extensive disinfection of the facility and contract tracing processes are already underway. The national automaker said it will strictly adhere to the protocols issued by authorities to prevent further spread of the virus.

    Other Proton R&D staff have been advised to self-quarantine at home. Proton assures that the infected employee was not in anyway exposed to customers, so there is not much concern about direct exposure to clients.

    In a press statement, Proton said it will “continue to strictly follow all guidelines and procedures laid out by the authorities as it has been doing from the start of the pandemic.” The company will continue monitoring the situation before deciding if any further actions are necessary.

     
     
  • Jaguar Land Rover struggles to recover from Covid-19 – 3,000 workers furloughed, big production cutbacks

    Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is having a tough time recovering from the damaging effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Just now, it had to furlough 3,000 workers, compared to other UK carmaker which furloughed less than 80 employees. One of JLR’s key production facilities is also running at a fraction of its capacity, The Guardian reports.

    Thanks to the UK government’s job support scheme, which will pay up to 22% of employees’ salaries on reduced hours, some workers are expected to return. JLR could receive £20 million (RM108 million) in government aid in February if it manages to keep all 20,000 workers who were furloughed. However, the carmaker’s continued reliance on furlough subsidies adds to concerns about its financial health.

    While other UK factories have returned to dual shift, pre-pandemic levels of production, JLR is planning to use a fraction of its Castle Bromwich plant, casting further doubts on employee security and future jobs. The Tata-owned carmaker plans to produce only around 11,000 cars up till March 2021, including 4,000 units of the F-Type, 3,500 units of the XE, and 3,500 units of the XF.

    Meanwhile, sales of the XE have disappointed, leading to its discontinuation in the US market. The report states that JLR will make no more than 300 units of the XE a month for the rest of 2020, but this figure is said to be ramped up once the latest model gets introduced. According to MarkLines, an industry data provider, the Castle Bromwich plant produced 35,000 cars in 2019, and in 2013 it made 80,000 cars.

    New company CEO Thierry Bolloré is currently reviewing all of JLR’s investment plans, including a £1 billion (RM5.4 billion) investment to upgrade Castle Bromwich for production of the new electric XJ. The automaker also faces tough fleet emissions cuts (or risk getting fined by the EU), as well as the possibility of no-deal Brexit, which could see expensive tariffs on cars and parts imposed virtually overnight. If that happens, JLR might have to relocate production to Nitra, Slovakia.

     
     
  • CMCO in Selangor – PJ police announce reopening of three roads in Kota Damansara, 24 hours after closure

    That was fast. Yesterday, Petaling Jaya district police announced three road closures in the Kota Damansara area, in line with the conditional movement control order (CMCO) announced for the state of Selangor as well as the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya from today, October 14 until October 27.

    Now, a day in, the police have announced that the three roads, Persiaran Mahogani (Section 9), Persiaran Jati (Section 8) and Persiaran Sungai Buloh, will be reopened to the public as of tonight, October 14.

    In a statement issued at 9pm tonight, Petaling Jaya OCPD ACP Nik Ezanee Mohd Faisal said that the purpose of reopening the three roads was to ease traffic congestion in the area as well as allow the police to redeploy personnel for duties elsewhere. This will include manning roadblocks and increasing the number of beat patrols in crowded areas.

    The Kota Damansara road closures may have ended prematurely, but there’s no shortage of police presence elsewhere around the Klang Valley. As The Star reports, a total of 93 police roadblocks are in place during the CMCO period, 66 of them in Selangor and 28 in Kuala Lumpur.

    Under the standard operating procedures (SOP) announced for this specific CMCO, inter-district travel is not allowed. However, employees who need to cross district lines will still be allowed to do so, but will be required to show a work pass or permission letter from their employer. Those who wish to do so, but not due to work reasons, must first get permission from the police.

     
     
  • CMCO in Selangor – PJ police to close three roads in Kota Damansara; 29 roadblocks in KL and Putrajaya

    In line with the conditional movement control order (CMCO) that will be enforced in the state of Selangor as well as the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya from 12:01 am on October 14 until October 27, authorities have announced the setting up of police roadblocks in these areas during the period.

    In Selangor, Petaling Jaya district police has announced three road closures in the Kota Damansara area – which it says has recorded the highest number of Covid-19 cases in areas under its jurisdiction – effective from midnight, Wednesday October 14. The roads are Persiaran Mahogani (Section 9), Persiaran Jati (Section 8) and Persiaran Sungai Buloh.

    During the CMCO period, the public will not be able to utilise these routes, and the three access points will only be accessible to emergency services, the fire brigade, MBPJ staff and police personnel, so take note.

    Click to enlarge.

    The police has advised the public to use alternative routes to head out of the area. These are Persiaran Kenanga towards the Kota Damansara toll plaza, Persiaran Surian towards Palm Spring and Persiaran Tropicana towards Casa Tropicana.

    Additionally, the National Security Council (MKN) has announced that 29 police roadblocks will be set up around KL and Putrajaya during the CMCO period.

    Under the standard operating procedures (SOP) announced for this specific CMCO, inter-district travel is not allowed under CMCO conditions, and employees who need to cross district lines will be required to show a work pass or permission letter from their employer. Those who wish to do so, but not due to work reasons, must first get permission from the police.

     
     
  • CMCO in Selangor, KL, Putrajaya – two-passenger limit for taxis, e-hailing; fuel stations open from 6am-10pm

    As announced recently, the conditional movement control order (CMCO) will be enforced in the state of Selangor as well as the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya from 12:01 midnight on October 14 until October 27. The National Security Council (MKN) has now released some of the agreed standard operating procedures (SOP) that the public must adhere to.

    In regards to public transport, services such as stage buses, express buses, taxis and e-hailing will be allowed to operate as usual. For taxis and e-hailing providers, a maximum of two passengers are allowed onboard, and rides can be provided from 6am to 12am.

    For vehicles carrying workers, they can carry passengers as previously prescribed, while those associated with industries, businesses and factories are allowed to travel between districts and states as before.

    Meanwhile, petrol stations will have limited operating hours from 6am to 10pm, with the exception of stations located along highways, which will be allowed to operate 24 hours.

    To control movement, only two individuals from the same household will be allowed to leave their home to purchase food and/or necessities. Inter-district travel is not allowed under CMCO conditions, and employees who need to cross district lines will be required to show a work pass or permission letter from their employer. Those who wish to do so but not due to work reasons must first get permission from the police.

     
     
 

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Last Updated 24 Oct 2020