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  • Fee to be imposed on vehicle window tints above legal limit – exemptions for those with medical conditions

    The government says a fee will soon be imposed on those seeking to have vehicle window tints above the allowable limit, The Star reports. However, not everyone who applies to have darker window tints will get it, according to transport minister Anthony Loke.

    “There is no automatic approval as they must be eligible to use the tint and apply for it and pay a fee,” he said. He added that exemptions will be given to vehicle owners who need to utilise a darker tint because of medical conditions.

    There is no approval or fee involved if film tinting is carried out to the permissible specification. “If you tint according to the standard, no approval is needed,” Loke said.

    There are no revisions to the current vehicle tinting guidelines, which were last revised in February 2016, when updated regulations, filed under Motor Vehicles (Prohibition of Certain Types of Glass) (Amendment) Rules 2016 replaced the previous 1991 rules.

    The current regulations stipulate that the minimum visible light transmission (VLT) percentages are 70% for the front windscreen, 50% for the front side windows, and 30% for the rear windows and the rear windscreen.

    The updated rules for vehicle window tinting is part of the Road Transport (Amendment) Bill 2018 that was tabled in parliament yesterday. The amended bill is expected to be passed and gazetted for implementation by January 2019.

     
  • Carlos Ghosn charged with financial misconduct – Nissan indicted for filing false financial statements

    Japanese prosecutors officially charged former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn today with financial misconduct, essentially for under-reporting his income. Both Ghosn and former representative director Greg Kelly were indicted for violating the Japan financial instruments and exchange act, namely for making false disclosures in five annual reports leading up to the fiscal year that ended in March 2015.

    The authorities have also extended Ghosn’s detention for allegedly understating his income for three more years through March 2018, according to Reuters. An earlier report stated that Ghosn, the man commonly hailed as Nissan’s saviour when he took over as CEO in 1999, may have hid up to US$70 million (RM291 million) worth of salary and benefits paid to him by the automaker. Kelly, meanwhile, has been accused of assisting.

    Prosecutors have also charged Nissan, the automaker being indicted for filing false financial statements. The automaker said it took the situation extremely seriously. “Making false disclosures in annual securities reports greatly harms the integrity of Nissan’s public disclosures in the securities markets, and the company expresses its deepest regret,” it said via a press statement.

    The report added that Japan’s securities and exchange surveillance commission said the crime carried a fine of up to 700 million yen (RM25.9 million). The sum may be something that Nissan can easily manage, but the impact elsewhere may prove to be more difficult to handle.

    According to analysts and legal experts, it could be difficult for Nissan and its CEO, Hiroto Saikawa, to avoid the fallout, with pertinent questions at present being whether other executives had knowledge of Ghosn’s misconduct and whether the company lacked the necessary internal controls.

     
  • Independent auditor to be appointed to study toll issue

    The works ministry says it will appoint an independent auditor in January to study the issue of toll collection, and will assist the government in obtaining data and recommendations pertaining to the matter, Bernama reports. The analysis will include the reduction of toll rates in the short, medium and long term, said works minister Baru Bian.

    “On Oct 31, the cabinet, after considering the direction of toll collection in the country, has agreed to appoint an independent auditor. The analysis results are expected to be submitted to the cabinet for consideration and consent in May next year,” he told the Dewan Rakyat.

    He was replying to a question from Jelutong MP R. Sanisvara Nethaji Rayer, who asked when the government would be expected to stop toll collection at the first Penang Bridge and North-South Expressway as promised in Pakatan Harapan’s 14th General Election manifesto.

    Baru said the PH government has always been looking for the best solution to reduce highway toll rates, eventually working towards abolishing toll collection on all highways, but this will only be implemented once the country’s finances have stabilised. The government has said it is looking into the possibility of lower rates and off-peak discounts as measures to ease the burden on motorists’ wallets.

    Last month, it was reported that the ministry had been given six months to settle the toll issue. Baru had said that the ministry was looking to hold discussions with highway concessionaires to explore the possibility of provisions allowing for a review of concession agreements.

     
  • Fuel price increase to be gradual once floated in 2019

    The government will ensure that the increase in RON 95 petrol prices will be gradual for those who aren’t eligible for targeted fuel subsidies. Fuel prices will be floated next year, with targeted assistance replacing the current blanket subsidy, as announced in Budget 2019.

    According to minister of domestic trade and consumer affairs Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, a sharp hike will directly impact the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which will push up inflation.

    “Let’s say on the first day of implementation, the difference (between controlled and market prices) is 30 sen (per litre). We don’t want that. Even though the price must go up by 30 sen, it should be gradually over a set period – say six to eight months,” he told reporters in Putrajaya today, reported by Bernama.

    Saifuddin said that his ministry also received guidance from the Statistics Department, which does simulations of the impact of fuel prices on the CPI. Asked if fuel prices will be refreshed weekly or monthly, Saifuddin said that the matter is still being discussed with the finance ministry

    “We’ve received plenty of feedback from distributors, oil companies and the public, and we’ll have to conduct in-depth studies to decide on the best format,” he said.

    To recap, finance minister Lim Guan Eng announced fuel subsidies targeted at the B40 group in Budget 2019. The mooted plan was to offer subsidy of 30 sen per litre up to 100 litres a month, for cars with engines below 1,500cc. Motorcycles with engines below 125cc will get 40 litres of RON 95 a month at the same rate. Owners of multiple and “luxury cars” will not be eligible, although the definition of the latter is yet to be determined.

    The new subsidy system is expected to roll out in the second half of 2019, when it will be implemented in stages.

     
  • New Nissan Juke to debut in summer 2019 – report

    The Nissan Juke is one of the more recognisable models in the Nissan stable, thanks to its distinctive moon buggy design, and even with the existence of the more conventional Kicks – which has replaced the Juke in markets like the United States – the company has apparently seen fit to develop a next-generation model.

    According to Auto Express, the new B-segment crossover is set to be unveiled in the summer of next year, although it was originally supposed to debut last September. That’s quite a big gap, ostensibly so that the new March could be fast-tracked to production after a lukewarm response from European customers to its predecessor. However, we’re pretty sure that Nissan’s ongoing issues, which range from a quality control scandal to the ousting of longtime chairman Carlos Ghosn, could have something to do with it as well.

    Still, this means that the Juke will have plenty of time to inherit the brand’s latest engines and technologies. Firstly, it will be built on the same Common Modular Platform B (CMF-B) as the March, finally moving away from the ancient B0 platform that dates back to the earliest days of the Renault-Nissan Alliance.

    The next Nissan Juke is expected to be based on the latest March/Micra hatchback,
    with the same platform, engines and technologies

    It is also expected to receive its sibling’s engines, including a 0.9 litre turbocharged and 1.0 litre naturally-aspirated three-cylinder petrol engines, as well as a 1.5 litre four-pot turbodiesel. As with the outgoing Juke, the new model lineup is expected to be topped by a 1.6 litre turbo petrol mill with around 190 hp.

    As for the design, Nissan will be keen not to mess with a winning formula – which is to say that it will be just as irreverent as before. The company’s chief creative officer Shiro Nakamura said that the new car will be “edgy and less mainstream,” but remain recognisably a Juke, adding the latest Nissan “V-motion” face to trademark styling cues such as the now incredibly trendy split headlights and chunky wheel arches.

    Meanwhile, a longer wheelbase is expected to provide passengers with increased rear legroom, while the interior should follow the template set by the new March. This includes a greater use of soft-touch plastics, higher-quality fabrics and materials, an improved infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity and an even wider range of personalisation options.

    GALLERY: Nissan Juke facelift

     
  • VW I.D. Lounge – seven-seat SUV to lead electric range

    It appears that Volkswagen is preparing to unveil the fifth and crowning member of its I.D. range of all-electric models. According to an Autocar report, the Wolfsburg automaker will introduce a seven-seat flagship SUV, known internally – and perhaps temporarily – as the I.D. Lounge.

    A concept model is said to be displayed at the Shanghai Motor Show in April 2019, and its exterior and interior dimensions would be similar to the outgoing Touareg. Underpinning the Lounge will be the largest version of Volkswagen’s new MEB platform (shared with the I.D. Buzz), featuring a staggeringly long wheelbase of 3,300 mm. At launch, it will rival the Tesla Model X and Nio ES8.

    Its electrical driveline could also be similar to the I.D. Buzz, which uses two electric motors (each producing 201 hp) to drive all four wheels. The new age Microbus boasts a total system output of 369 hp, and uses a 111 kWh battery that provides a range of 600 km on the NEDC cycle.

    Expect the same charging system (via Combined Charging System or inductive charging) to be featured, as well as fast-charging capabilities which allow the battery to be juiced up to 80% in just 30 minutes.

    The I.D. Lounge is among three all-electric SUV models that will be introduced by 2022, with the other two being the I.D. Crozz (available in two versions). The first I.D. Crozz model to go on sale is apparently the more practical model, while the second features a coupé-like profile similar in appearance to the earlier I.D. Crozz concept (pictured here).

    The introduction of the I.D. Lounge is another one of Volkswagen’s steps in the direction of Strategy 2025, which plots the company on a course to launch 30 new, fully electric vehicles by 2025.

    The company will be investing heavily in new autonomous mobility solutions, with fully autonomous vehicles with a self-driving system developed in-house scheduled to enter the market by the beginning of the next decade. The automaker is also looking to make battery technology one of its core competencies, stating this would be the key to e-mobility.

     
  • Toyota GR Supra Super GT Concept officially teased

    Toyota has announced that it will present its new GR Supra Super GT Concept at the 2019 Tokyo Auto Salon in Japan, which is likely a preview for a race car that will compete in the Super GT racing series.

    This shadowy teaser is all we’re getting for now, but the large rear wing and prominent diffuser hints at something a lot more aggressive than the other Supra-based concept from this year’s Geneva Motor Show.

    The release of the new racer concept is timed rather close to the official reveal of the road-going, fifth-generation A90 Supra in Detroit during next year’s North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). Where the 2019 Tokyo Auto Salon is set to take place from January 11-13, the 2019 NAIAS will be held from January 13-28.

    Aside from the concept, Toyota will also bring the Yaris WRC, TS050 Hybrid and the 2019 Lexus LC Nürburgring-spec race cars to the event. There’s even “a Supra vehicle that participated in past domestic races” in the mix, because nostalgia.

    Of course, the Japanese carmaker won’t be stopping at just a new Supra, with plans to make a “super sports car” previewed by the GR Super Sport Concept in mid-2018. There’s also rumours of a third member in the ‘Three Brothers’ of sports cars, which will join the Supra and 86.

     
  • 2019 Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa – last of the series

    With emission laws tightening around motorcycle manufacturers, we bid a quiet farewell to the famed 2019 Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa 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 – Japanese for peregrine falcon – 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 board 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 and NST, 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.

    “Currently, we only have the vehicle registration process. With the amendments, it will better facilitate the vehicle de-registration process. This will help address the problem of abandoned vehicles. Many local councils are facing this problem in many residential areas,” said Loke, who added that local councils can’t tow away abandoned vehicles that are still registered.

    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 above the allowed limits for vehicles, with exemptions for those who require special tinting due to their medical conditions.

    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.

    Other matters that will be approved include allowing nine city councils to appoint their own uniformed traffic wardens to deal with the traffic situation in their respective cities – Ipoh, Alor Star, Petaling Jaya, Shah Alam, Penang, Johor Bahru, Melaka, Kuala Terengganu and Iskandar Puteri. Loke also noted the government is looking to impose a nominal fee on car manufacturers for the Vehicle Type Approval (VTA) process.

     
 

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