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  • Holistic growth for automotive industry in 2017 – MAI

    Earlier in the week, the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) revealed the total industry volume (TIV) for 2016, which saw the first downturn in auto sales numbers after six consecutive years of growth. Registrations for the year totalled 580,124 units, a drop of 13% from the previous year.

    The association added that with a softening consumer sentiment, sluggish economy and poorly performing ringgit, 2017 is set to be another challenging year, and this is reflected in its conservative forecast of 590,000 units for this year.

    The Malaysia Automotive Institute (MAI), however, believes that a holistic growth of the automotive industry will continue in 2017, despite the challenging economic climate.

    This, it said, was based on the industry’s performance on the whole in 2016. Sales may have slowed, but the automotive sector saw increased employment and EEV penetration, as well as improved export numbers of parts and component compared to 2015, which has led it to believe that it’s not all doom and gloom in the coming future.

    Revealing the figures at its state of the automotive industry in 2016 presentation yesterday, the institute said that in the manufacturing sector alone, 25,850 jobs were created in 2016, an increase of 8.7% from 2015.

    Of these, 10,130 were created through MAI’s Human Capital Development (HCD) programmes such as the Automotive Industry Certification Engineering (AICE), and Industry-Led Professional Certificate (IPC). In 2017, the number of manufacturing jobs is set to climb to 27,000.

    Meanwhile, in the after-sales sector, 24,671 jobs were created last year compared to 15,297 in 2015. This year, MAI expects that a further 25,000 jobs will be added to the segment.

    It added that the climbing export numbers of CBUs from Malaysia was encouraging. In 2015, 27,792 units of CBU vehicles were exported, and the half-year figures in 2016, which totalled 15,603 units up to June 2016, should have the final figure reaching its target of 30,000 export units for the year (the second half figures are still being tallied).

    In 2017, CBU exports from the country are expected to increase marginally, to 31,000 units. This figure is expected to continue to rise to 150,000 units annually by 2020.

    The institute said that so far, 122,610 units have been committed by eight manufacturers to be exported in 2020, and discussions are in progress with three other automakers to fill up the remaining numbers to achieve the 150k target.

    Elsewhere, MAI said exports of automotive parts and components have increased since the announcement of the National Automotive Policy 2014 (NAP2014). In 2014, RM4.7 billion worth of parts and components were exported, rising to RM 9.8 billion in 2015.

    In 2016, the value stood at RM7 billion as at June 2016, with the target of more than RM11 billion by the end of 2016 expected to be met, and 2017 is set to see this figure go up to RM12 billion.

    The increase in exports of parts and components has been enabled through various programmes to improve the competency of the industry, MAI said. Participants of these programmes have recorded an average increase of 24% in productivity since its inception in 2014, it added.

    Furthermore, the remanufacturing sector, a relatively new business area to the automotive ecosystem, recorded a commendable RM282 million worth of exports as of June 2016. The export target of remanufactured parts and components in 2016 is expected to be RM513 million when finally tallied. For 2017, MAI said that exports in the sector are expected to amount to RM750 million.

    Other numbers included that of EEV penetration in the domestic market – this has risen from 32.6% to 39.3% as at November 2016, and is expected to surpass 40% for 2016 when the final numbers are in. This percentage is forecasted to increase to 50% in 2017.

    Finally, total production volume figures (TPV), which amounted to 545,253 units in 2016. The institute forecasts that the TPV numbers will touch 570,000 units in 2017, lending the belief that the year should be positive for the industry.

    Its CEO Datuk Madani Sahari stressed upon the significance of TPV figures as a measure of industry performance. “The TPV provides a more holistic reflection, with vehicles produced locally for both domestic consumption and exports,” he explained.

  • Petron M’sia becomes Formula 4 SEA finale sponsor

    Petron Malaysia has been selected as the official fuel and engine oil sponsor of the final round of the Formula 4 South East Asia (F4/SEA) Championship, taking place at the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) from January 20 to 22. The entry-level formula, certified by the International Automobile Federation (FIA), is designed for young drivers around the world looking to break into open-wheel single-seater racing.

    The company will supply the race cars with its flagship Blaze 100 Euro 4M fuel as well as Blaze Racing Fully Synthetic engine oil – both the same kinds that you can buy at any Petron station – during the race, marking it Petron’s first participation in formula racing. “We are truly honoured to partner with F4/SEA as its fuel and lubricants partner,” said Petron Malaysia head of retail Faridah Ali.

    “This partnership is another milestone for us in gaining a foothold in motorsports, where it is a perfect testbed for our superior products. We are proud to introduce our most advanced product innovations, Blaze 100 and Blaze Racing engine oil, to the world racing championship.”

    Blaze 100 is the country’s first and only RON 100 premium petrol, launched last January. Produced at the Petron Port Dickson refinery, the high-performance fuel is formulated with TriAction Advantage, a triple action formula which Petron claims delivers improved power, engine protection and mileage, enabling improved engine response, power and acceleration.

    The fuel is complemented with Blaze Racing engine oil, claimed to provide optimum engine protection. It is formulated with Thermal Stress Stabilising System (TS3), an exclusive technology is said to keep lubricant stability at extreme temperatures and engine stress; the engine oil is designed to meet the requirements of most modern vehicles, including high-performance vehicles.

    Formula 4 South East Asia is promoted by the Asian Autosport Action (AAA) group, and represents a cost-effective first step to an FIA-certified career in formula racing. It focuses on driver experience and development through a one-make FIA single-operator championship using FIA F4-homologated cars and engines, ensuring a level playing field.

    Kicking off in Sepang last August, the 2016 FIA F4/SEA championship made the rounds in the Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan and Thailand, before returning to Malaysia for its conclusion. “We hope drivers will experience and appreciate the power of Blaze 100 and a cleaner engine from Blaze Racing engine oil,” said Faridah. “We look forward to introducing more innovative fuels in the future.”

  • GALLERY: Perodua has come a long way since 1993

    It all started with a dream to bring mobility to every Malaysian household. Mobility that’s affordable and reliable. That dream became the Kancil that started Perodua’s journey in 1993. Smaller and cheaper than the Proton Saga, the “smart like you” Kancil introduced compact hatchbacks to Malaysians, and we’ve never looked back since. “The rest is history,” Perodua proudly proclaims.

    The first of 708,527 Kancils produced by Perodua over 15 years is on display at a special showcase that’s part of the MYPerodua Nation Carnival that’s happening at Aeon Shah Alam this weekend.

    The red Kancil, which was the first car that many of us drove (it replaced the Nissan Sunny as the default driving school machine), is the star of the showcase, mainly because it’s the only real car in the tent.

    The Kembara, Kenari, Kelisa, Myvi, Alza, Axia and Bezza are just cutouts, but the visuals and the facts and figures behind the cars are intriguing. Plenty of cute photo ops too. The short “history walk” ends with the Concept X that showcases Sg Choh’s design capabilities.

    The Bezza – Perodua’s first sedan that was launched last year – is based on the Axia’s Daihatsu platform, but the upper body design and interior is an in-house effort. Perodua has been steadily increasing its input in the design and engineering of its vehicles, and this trend is set to continue – in its five-year Transformation 2.0 plan that starts this year, one of the key pillars is to increase the company’s R&D capabilities.

    The Malaysian market leader (for 11 consecutive years now) may be a maker of small cars, but it has definitely made a big impact on our country’s motoring landscape. Three million cars in 24 years is no small feat. It has been a great journey so far; here’s to more memories.

  • Motorcycle road tax and insurance – what do you pay?

    It is a known fact that the road tax for vehicles in Malaysia does not actually bear any real relation to the amount of road use, or damage to the public road infrastructure. Based on engine capacity, the current tax structure is biased heavily towards large capacity engines in cars, and the same holds true for motorcycles.

    The motorcycle road tax structure is based on engine capacity, and falls into six categories. These are 0 to 150 cc – RM2, 151 cc to 200 cc – RM30, 201 cc to 250 cc – RM50, 251 cc to 500 cc – RM100, 501 cc to 800 cc – RM250 and 801 cc and above – RM350.

    This might seem cheap, and for the below 250 cc class, it is, indeed, practically non-existant, but on a comparative basis, motorcycles at the top end pay about the same per cc as a 2-litre car. There is of course, the argument that motorcycles do not pay tolls, with the government citing hardship to low income earners riding small motorcycles.

    On the insurance side of things, though, motorcycles pay more than cars, somewhat. Based on the sum insured, with no consideration taken into account for variables such as rider age, experience or riding record but including exact engine capacity, a motorcycle insured for RM50,000 will cost RM1,715 per year in comprehensive all-rider insurance, while a Honda EX5, insured for RM4,400 in value, will pay RM292.38 as premium.

    This compares against a comprehensive insurance premium of RM1,547 for a 1.4-litre car, based on the insurance calculator. For superbikes, at the RM125,000 sum insured level, the gap remains the same – RM3,563 for a 2.2-litre car versus RM3,742 for a 1,000 cc superbike.

    There cannot be a direct comparison between the road tax for cars and motorcycles of course. On a performance basis, motorcycles are right up there with performance sports cars, even the middle-weight basic machines. On the other hand, at the bottom end of the scale, kapchais and scooters are designed for cheap, personal transport and as such, taxed and insured accordingly.

    So, what do you think? Is the road tax and insurance tariff for motorycles equitable? Leave a comment with your thoughts and opinions below.

  • Dodge Challenger SRT Demon teased, already leaked

    The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is certainly quite an exciting car even upon hearing its name, and that’s before you find out that under the bonnet, there’s a 6.2 litre supercharged HEMI V8 that delivers 707 hp and 880 Nm. Well, the carmaker isn’t done yet, and will soon unveil the Challenger SRT Demon at this year’s New York International Auto Show (NYIAS).

    Since that won’t take place until April, Dodge has begun its teaser campaign for the new model, with two teasers being released recently. The first, titled Cage, is as eccentric as you’d expect, where you’ll see a “hellcat transform into a demon,” which doesn’t reveal much in the way of info.

    The second teaser – Reduction is a little more enlightening, as it shows the Demon will be 90 kg lighter than its Hellcat sibling/spawnling. There will also be adjustments to the car’s wheels, steering, suspension, brakes, interior construction and other components.

    Excited? Well, thanks to Vin Diesel, you can get a good look at the Demon ahead of its scheduled debut mentioned above. In a YouTube video featuring the Fate of the Furious actor discussing the movie, you can clearly see (around the 0:03 mark) two Dodge Challengers in the background wearing the Demon’s logo on the fender, exactly where you’ll find the Hellcat logo. Additionally, the larger hood scoop certainly appear to about the same shape as that seen in the Reduction teaser.

    Of course, nothing is set in stone for now, and we’ll have to wait for the official reveal to take place to confirm such a claim. The carmaker refers to the Demon as its “new ultimate performance halo” car, so we should expect even more power from the V8 as well.

  • VIDEO: Porsche launches What is Courage? campaign featuring the latest Panamera and Michelle Yeoh

    What is Courage? is the name of Porsche’s newly-launched marketing campaign, which features the carmaker’s all-new Panamera, along with three famous personalities from the culinary and entertainment industry.

    The campaign uncovers the inspiring stories of these accomplished personalities, and fosters the belief that “courage changes everything” in each of them. Porsche explains that this spirit of courage is reflected in its latest Panamera, which combines a sedan that offers a comfortable driving experience with 911 genes.

    Among the personalities that star in the campaign include Hollywood actress and Malaysian-born Datuk Michelle Yeoh, who says: “Courage is doing things that are out of your comfort zone. You have to be brave enough and believe in yourself enough to say whatever the odds, I’m going to give it my best shot. Courage is to chase your dreams, because courage changes everything.”

    Joining Yeoh is Hollywood actor and race car driver Patrick Dempsey (also known as McDreamy to Grey’s Anatomy fans). Dempsey’s show of courage is exemplified when he decided to pursue careers in both acting and racing, with the latter being a whole lot more dangerous than the former. Despite the dangers of motorsport racing, he has participated in three 24 Hours of Le Mans races, and is currently the co-owner of Dempsey Proton Racing, which operates a Porsche 911 RSR race car.

    Lastly, we have Taiwanese chef Andre Chiang, a former head chef of the three Michelin star restaurant Le Jardin des Sens in France and winner of multiple accolades. Despite his Asian roots, Chiang spent a lot of time learning French cuisine abroad, bringing back the knowledge he has acquired back to Asia.

    As for the car itself, the new Panamera rides on the Volkswagen Group’s new MSB platform, and in its most potent form, packs a 4.0 litre biturbo V8 that develops 550 PS and 770 Nm. The model is slated to arrive in Malaysia in March this year, according to Sime Darby Auto Performance (SDAP).

  • VIDEO: BMW 5 Series – G30 vs F10, what’s new?

    Now that the all-new G30 BMW 5 Series has been revealed, the German carmaker wants to make sure that everyone knows exactly what has changed on the new car when compared to its sixth-generation predecessor, the F10.

    To do that, the company has released this informative video that takes you on a tour around both generations of the 5 Series, inside and out. Naturally, it starts with the exterior, where at the front, the trademark kidney grille has been redesigned so that it links to the new headlamps, which now feature a similar look to those seen on the latest 3 Series.

    Said grille also features an active shutter function for better aerodynamics, opening when extra cooling is required, and closing to reduce drag-inducing airflow. Moving on, the profile continues to feature the well-known Hofmeister kink, while certain lines have been accentuated to project a more athletic look for the sedan.

    As for the rear, the wider taillights not only feature new graphics, and wraparound the sides of the body as well. Below that, the 5 Series in 540i guise comes with dual trapezoidal-shaped exhaust pipes as well. For those curious how the new lighting elements look like while driving at night, skip over to the 1 minutes 45 seconds mark and you’ll find your answers there.

    Moving inside, the 5 Series’ living space has been thoroughly revamped to offer an even more premium feel than before with better materials and an updated layout. Among the key changes from the previous car is the free-standing display that is linked to BMW’s latest iDrive system with Gesture Control.

    In other areas, you’ll notice the brand-new steering multifunction steering wheel, 8.8-inch Dynamic Instrument Cluster, start/stop button, switchgear and ambient lighting. Passengers in the rear will also benefit from the new car’s slightly larger wheelbase, as well as the optional Rear-Seat Entertainment Professional system seen here.

    Of course, this video is just a quick run-through of what’s new on the G30, and there are certainly many other new features that are available not shown here. Show of hands, how many of you are interested in the brand-new 5 Series, which as you know, is the star in the latest instalment in BMW Film’s The Hire series?

    GALLERY: G30 BMW 5 Series

  • MYPerodua Carnival at Aeon Shah Alam this weekend – free movies, concert; view and win the Axia facelift

    We’re reporting live from the MYPerodua Nation Carnival at the Aeon Shah Alam mall, where the Axia facelift was officially launched this morning. The event will be here from today till Sunday (January 20-22) from 10am to 10pm daily.

    So, head down here to check out the refreshed Axia (full details and galleries of all the variants here) and other models (there’s even a concept car) in Perodua’s range. But there’s more than just cars on display, as the event will also have exclusive offers, “movies and action-packed fun” (Boboiboy The Movie and Ice Age) and a concert featuring artistes such as Faizal Tahir, Tomok, Bunkface, De Fam and Ezad Lazim, among others. There will be a fireworks display on Saturday night as well.

    Daily lucky draws will see gadgets such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, iPhone 7 and GoPro cameras given away, plus a grand prize of the new Axia. Those from Shah Alam Section 13 (Shah Alam Stadium, Giant area) can catch a free bus to Aeon Shah Alam.

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    As part of the BMW Dine & Win offer, you can win a weekend away with BMW and BMW Merchandise when you dine at any Oriental Group restaurants.

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  • Perodua Concept X – showcasing design capabilities

    At the MYPerodua Nation Carnival, Perodua is presenting a scale model that showcases a new bespoke design from the national carmaker. Called the Concept X, the car is not specifically meant to preview any upcoming model; rather, it is merely supposed to be a demonstration of the in-house design team’s skills.

    Taking the form of an MPV (with similar proportions to the Alza), it’s certainly a very attractive design, even though it carries all the typical concept car cues such as slit-like headlights, large wheels hiding Brembo-branded disc brakes, a massive panoramic roof, flush door handles, a minimalist interior and the lack of any B-pillars or door mirrors.

    At the front, there’s a slimline grille linking the headlights, with the Perodua badge mounted separately below. The bumper has an aggressive design with honeycomb-motif air intakes, while the sides feature a stepped window line and a character line that droops past the front wheels before rising up to meet the tail lights.

    Moving rearward, the rear wheel arches are blown to provide added muscle, and the D-pillars are blacked out to provide a floating roof look. The tail lights are angular and C-shaped (much like Subaru’s newer concepts), linked by a red bar. The rear bumper design mirrors that of the front.

    Inside, there’s a driver-oriented, cockpit-like dashboard, as well as doors with a red colour scheme that links to the deep crimson exterior. There are six seats, but the rearmost pews are folded; the rest of the seats are sporty individual buckets with headrest-mounted monitors.

    As mentioned, Perodua personnel present at the event say that the car does not preview any forthcoming model, but seeing as the Alza is due for a replacement, the next-generation model could incorporate a few cues present here. In fact, Daihatsu has already showcased a number of Ultra Function Compact (UFC) concepts that are supposed to preview an Alza-sized MPV, so this car could be Perodua’s own version.

    The company has been steadily increasing its input in the design and engineering of its Daihatsu-based vehicles; last year’s Bezza sedan was its first car to feature an upper body designed completely in house. Perodua has also embarked on a five-year Transformation 2.0 plan this year, with one of the pillars being an increase in its research and development capabilities.


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