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  • Free petrol for motorcyclists every month, for a year

    Free petrol? According to Bernama, the Federal Territories Barisan Nasional Youth wing will be giving free petrol to motorcyclists at every parliamentary constituency in Wilayah Persekutuan every month, from April onwards.

    The wing’s chief, Datuk Mohd Razlan Mohammad Rafii said the assistance was to ease the burden of motorcyclists, and that they have targeted 117,000 bikers at 13 constituencies to enjoy the free petrol programme for a year.

    “We will give to all regardless of their background and political standing. We understand that quite a number of motorcyclists are underprivileged and the government is concerned over its people,” he said

    Mohd Razlan was speaking to reporters at the ‘Free Petrol Top Up for Motorcycle’ programme organised by the FT MyPPP Youth Movement yesterday night, where about 600 riders of motorcycles 150 cc and below received free petrol at a station in Taman Seri Rampai. Details of the free petrol programme would be announced soon, he said.

     
  • New Volkswagen Tiguan teased on Malaysian website

    Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia (VPCM) has begun teasing the arrival of the new Tiguan on its official website. The Tiguan will later be joined by the facelifted Beetle as well as other limited edition models this year.

    Based on the information gathered from the site, the Tiguan will be powered by a TSI engine paired with a six-speed wet dual-clutch Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG). That should point towards 1.4 litre unit with 150 PS and 250 Nm of torque that drives the front wheels.

    In other markets, the Tiguan is offered in three trim levels – Trendline, Comfortline and Highline – though it remains to be seen what Malaysians will receive. However, the site states that LED headlamps (with DRLs) are a definite item, and previous spyshots also show front fog lamps and up to 18-inch wheels are available too.

    As for the interior, the equipment list includes triple-zone climate control (driver, front passenger and back seat passengers) and Active Info Display (like on the B8 Passat) will be made available. An eight-inch touchscreen infotainment display could also find its way into upper trim levels.

    VPCM only listed Park Assist as one of the driver assistance system found in the Tiguan on its site. The system actively helps drivers to 90-degree park, reverse park and get in and out of a parallel park. If the Passat was any indication, the Tiguan’s safety kit will likely include a respectable airbag count as well.

    Sitting on VW Group’s modular MQB platform, which also underpins the Golf Mk7, the new Tiguan will be a locally-assembled (CKD) model like its brethren – Polo, Vento, Jetta and Passat

    It is also much larger than its predecessor, being 60 mm longer, 30 mm wider and having a 77 mm longer wheelbase, but the increase in dimensions hasn’t brought about a weight penalty – the new car is actually more than 50 kg lighter than before.

     
  • Isuzu expects Thai exports to be stagnant this year

    Isuzu’s exports from Thailand is expected to remain flat this year as demand from the crucial Middle East market is set remain slow, Bangkok Post reports.

    Last year, Isuzu’s shipments from Thailand slipped 11% to 160,000 units. Toshiaki Maekawa, president of Tri Petch Isuzu Sales, the Thai distributor of Isuzu trucks, said that the company expects export volume to be around 160,000 to 170,000 units this year, combining both CBU and CKD units.

    “Unfavourable circumstances in the Middle East, where economic prospects remain murky and oil prices stay relatively low, will make it tough for Isuzu to grow exports. Isuzu also needs to rely on the Middle Eastern market, particularly for Saudi Arabia where the company controls 80% market share,” he said.

    “There are myriad risks from other countries that may affect the country’s vehicle export such as the new economic policies of US president Donald Trump, the international conflicts between the United States and China, and the US and Israel, and weak economic condition in Japan,” Maekawa added, echoing the sentiment of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) automotive club.

    On the domestic front, the maker of the D-Max pick-up truck and MU-X SUV expects sales to grow by a modest 2% this year, to 146,000 units. Isuzu expects Thailand’s 2017 auto sales to grow 5.5% to 810,000 units. The FTI is forecasting a 2.6% growth in total Thai output this year to two million units, including 800,000 units for domestic consumption.

    Isuzu operates two Thai plants in Samut Prakan and Chachoengsao. Combined, they have an annual production capacity of 366,000 units, and serve domestic sales as well as exports to over 110 countries. The truck and diesel engine specialist is set to roll out a refreshed MU-X in Thailand next month.

     
  • Shell FuelSave Diesel Euro 5 now in Sabah, first in EM

    Shell has become the first petrol retailer to introduce Euro 5 diesel in East Malaysia, with the launch of its FuelSave Diesel Euro 5 in Sabah. The low-sulphur fuel is currently being offered at eight stations along the west coast of the northern state, and will eventually be expanded to 16 stations.

    Aside from the lower sulphur content of 10 parts per million (ppm), compared to 500 ppm for regular Euro 2M diesel, FuelSave Diesel Euro 5 is also formulated with Active Efficiency Ingredients, promising improved engine efficiency and increased mileage. Also included are special detergents to help protect against injector deposit build-up, among others.

    The fuel was initially introduced for the first time outside of Johor in December 2015 with four stations in addition to one at Pasir Gudang Highway 2 in Johor; the list ballooned to 85 by June last year. The company stated then that it planned to expand the network of stations offering Euro 5 diesel to at least 100 nationwide, including on connecting roads from Johor to Penang as well as on the East Coast in Terengganu.

    “With the launch of Shell FuelSave Diesel Euro 5, we are giving drivers travelling along the west coast of Sabah, the opportunity to experience our best, most efficient diesel fuel,” said Shell Timur managing director Shairan Huzani Husain.

    For the full list of stations currently offering Shell FuelSave Diesel Euro 5 across Malaysia, please visit www.shell.com.my/dieseleuro5.

     
  • If a Proton-Geely partnership happens, here’s what Proton may get to share tech with – Geely’s line-up

    Yesterday, it was reported that Zhejiang Geely is expected to bid for a tie-up with Proton, supposedly as early as this week. The national carmaker is currently in the midst of securing a foreign strategic partner (FSP), and reports have placed Geely and France’s Groupe PSA as the potential candidates.

    According to people familiar with the matter, the Chinese automaker has pitched to Proton’s owner DRB-Hicom that it will offer the Malaysian carmaker some of its latest vehicle technologies. These include that used to design Geely models such as the GC9 sedan and Boyue SUV, and will also include small car tech it developed with Volvo, the sources revealed.

    The latter will likely include the new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) that will underpin Volvo’s 40-series models like the XC40 coming this year, along with a string of Geely models. The new platform has been designed with electrification already in mind, with Volvo models getting a T5 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid variant designed exclusively for it.

    The sources added that by offering Proton some of its own technologies, Geely is looking to break into right-hand-drive (RHD) markets, tapping into these via Proton. Such a move would give the Chinese firm entry into the global RHD market, which it has no presence in currently.

    If a Proton-Geely partnership does eventually happen, what would Proton get to share tech with? We take a look at the Chinese automaker’s available vehicle model line-up, which is quite comprehensive, as the gallery below shows.

    Aside from the GC9 and the Boyue that have been bandied as possibilities, new models such as the GL and GS as well as the Emgrand EC7 could well be picks. Still, we’ve thrown in all the available models listed on the English version of its website to offer a better overview of the automaker and its design philosophy.

    Some of the older cars look a tad dated styling-wise, but the Boyue – which arrived on the scene at the end of last year – leads the new charge for the automaker. The SUV offers a fresh take on things, courtesy of former Volvo designer Peter Horbury, who heads Geely’s design studios, of which there are four. The centres are located in Gothenburg, Shanghai, Barcelona and Los Angeles, and employ around 300 designers.

    Based on the photos, the interior looks premium enough, and the specifications being tossed about indicate that the Boyue is pretty loaded too – there’s an eight-inch display screen and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto in the mix, and safety kit includes lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control (ACC).

    For the Chinese market, the 4.5 metre-long Boyue gets two engine choices. The first is a 2.0 litre naturally-aspirated unit on the base models. Paired with a six-speed manual, the mill offers 140 hp and 178 Nm. The other is a 1.8 litre direct injection turbo, which can be had in two output tunes, depending on transmission chosen.

    On the manual, the Euro 5-compliant 4G18TD is good for 160 hp and 250 Nm, while for the six-speed dual-clutch automatic version of the SUV, the numbers go up to 181 hp and 285 Nm. The six-speed DCT is built by Geely’s Australian subsidiary, Drivetrain Systems International (DSI).

    In some foreign markets, the Boyue is offered with a 2.4 litre naturally-aspirated unit, in place of the blown 1.8. Both the 1.8 litre turbo and 2.4 NA units are also to be found on the GC9 sedan, which made its debut two years ago. The car is known as the Borui domestically and as the Emgrand GT in some export markets.

    The luxury sedan – which measures in at 4,596 mm long, 1,861 mm wide and 1,513 mm tall – is also available in a flagship 3.5 litre form, and all engine variants feature a six-speed auto transmission as the partnering drivetrain. Again, it all looks quite plush from the photos, and kit on this one includes LED headlamps, a heads-up display, a 13-speaker Infinity audio system, a 360 degree camera and ACC.

    Meanwhile, the GL sedan, GS SUV (which is available in both Elegant and Sport versions) and Emgrand EC7 are equipped with 1.8 litre and 1.5 litre NA units, though the automaker’s new-ish 1.3 litre turbo is also available for all three vehicles.

    Power output for the small blown mill varies from 127 hp to 131 hp in these applications, though torque remains constant at 185 Nm. As for transmission choices, there’s a six-speed manual, six-speed DCT and a CVT on offer.

    Elsewhere, the rest of the automaker’s Emgrand lineup consists of four models, while the standard Geely range is made up of nine vehicles, all working with normally-aspirated 2.0, 1.8 and 1.5 litre mills.

    What do you think of the Geely model line-up? Also, do you think some of these offerings will do well locally and around the region if they are assembled here in right-hand drive form? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

    A mega gallery awaits you after the jump.

     
  • Toyota unveils new exhaust purifying catalyst – 20% less precious metal usage; debuts in Lexus LC 500h

    Toyota has introduced a new exhaust purifying catalyst that is smaller (approximately 20% less volume), and uses 20% less precious metal compared to conventional catalysts. The new technology will gradually make its way into new vehicle models, beginning with the Lexus LC 500h later this year.

    The catalyst features the world’s first integrally-moulded Flow Adjustable Design Cell (FLAD) substrate, which has a different cell cross-sectional area at the inner portion compared to that at the outer portion.

    The new FLAD substrate (developed by Toyota together with Denso) improves the uniformity of exhaust gas flow, allowing for the same exhaust gas purification performance as that of conventional catalysts while requiring less precious metal.

    As the diagrams show, the newly developed FLAD substrate doesn’t result in an unbalanced flow of exhaust gas as compared to a conventional catalyst, where the flow of gas through the inner portion of the catalyst is faster, and at a higher volume than that through the outer portion.

    Therefore, the FLAD substrate catalyst doesn’t require more precious metal at the inner portion of the catalyst, where the flowrate is greater, in order to maintain purification performance. The walls of cells within both substrates are washcoated with catalytic materials, like platinum (Pt), rhodium (Rh), palladium (Pd) and other precious metals.

    This provides a catalytic effect, where harmful gases such as carbon monoxide (CO), unburned hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxide (NOx) are purified within the exhaust via oxidation-reduction.

     
  • Mercedes-AMG GT to spawn new four-door concept

    As Mercedes-AMG marks its 50th anniversary this year, the debut of its F1 race car-based, limited-run hypercar will be accompanied by the Mercedes-AMG GT4, a four-door version of the AMG GT sports car. Where the AMG GT was built from a modified SLS AMG platform, the upcoming four-door version is rumoured to adopted the modular, rear-drive MRA architecture instead.

    The AMG GT4 aims to take on the sleeker-roofed, high-performance four-door establishment which includes the likes of the Porsche Panamera, BMW M6 Gran Coupe and the Audi RS7; the new Mercedes is tipped to be the successor to the CLS Shooting Brake, according to an Autocar report.

    Following its expected Geneva debut in March, the production-ready GT4 is rumoured to reach the European market next year, in line with earlier estimates of a 2018 debut. As with the two-seater GT, the GT4 is expected to be available in two variants; a standard model and an ‘S’ version, the latter tipped to surpass the 600 hp of the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S.

    That output advantage could possibly come from an integrated starter generator (ISG), which is tipped to take residence in the GT4’s transmission for temporary boosts of 20 hp, drawing power from a 48V electrical system; the production model could also feature a lithium-ion battery of “moderate size.” AMG’s 4.0 litre twin-turbo V8 could also be joined by Mercedes’ new 3.0 litre inline-six, also with ISG assistance.

    GALLERY: Mercedes-AMG GT C Coupe

     
  • Lexus LS 500h to feature Multi Stage Hybrid System

    Lexus has revealed the LS 500h will feature the brand’s Multi Stage Hybrid System in its powertrain, similar to what drives the LC 500h coupe. The hybrid version of the fifth-generation premium sedan is set to make its global debut at the Geneva Motor Show later in March this year.

    On the LC 500h coupe, there are two elements to the powertrain with the first being a 8GR-FXS 3.5 litre V6 Dual VVT-i petrol engine (294 hp/348 Nm) assisted by an electric motor. The motor gets its power from a lithium-ion battery pack (instead of nickel-metal hydride) that is 20% smaller and 20 kg lighter than the one used in the previous LS 600h.

    The second is the Multi Stage Hybrid System, which mates a four-speed automatic to a traditional hybrid continuously variable transmission (CVT). The purpose of the “dual” transmission is to amplify the output from the V6 and electric motor combo, and allows for a progressive access to the electric motor’s torque.

    To do so, there are three virtual gears (CVT) between each of the automatic transmission’s physical gears up to the third ratio, which results in nine ratios. The auto’s fourth gear acts as a final overdrive ratio, and when all is put together, recreates a 10-speed transmission. Complicated? Most definitely, but it does make for some pretty intriguing tech.

    Lexus promises a “linear, direct and continuous acceleration feel, making for a more rewarding driving experience” with its new hybrid powertrain setup, and touts many other additional benefits. These include improved throttle response, lower engine rpm during high-speed cruising, and the ability to cruise at higher speeds, with the petrol engine shut off – up to 140km/h.

    We’ll have to wait for the full reveal of the LS 500h at Geneva to see if the powertrain is identical to the one on the LC 500h coupe. The LS 500h will join its non-hybrid sibling – the LS 500 – which gets a 3.5 litre twin-turbo powerplant that replaces its predecessor’s 5.0 litre naturally-aspirated V8.

    GALLERY: 2018 Lexus LS 500

     
  • VIDEO: Honda City facelift, next to outgoing model

    Honda Malaysia is building hype for the facelifted City, showing the car at its annual media gathering event last week and then bringing the car on a nationwide tour. Now, it has released a new video showing the differences in design compared to the outgoing model, ahead of the car’s launch very soon – the order books having already been opened since the beginning of the month.

    This makes it much easier to spot the differences, which include redesigned headlights – now LED units on the top-spec V variant – with a different shape. The chrome bar, which now extends over the headlights Civic-style, is also slimmer than before, while the grille features a honeycomb mesh and a chrome strip. The front bumper has also been given a more elegant design.

    At the rear, the V model gains LED tail lights as seen on the Japanese-market Grace Hybrid, and there’s also a sportier rear bumper and a ducktail spoiler with an integrated LED third brake light. Finishing it off are new two-tone alloy wheels, measuring 16 inches on the V, as well as the new Lunar Silver hue from the Civic.

    As before, Honda has not shown the interior of the facelifted City, but we should get the darker gunmetal trim, redesigned seat fabric (with the Civic’s centre stripe) and LED map and room lights offered on Thai and Indian models. All models now get keyless entry and push-button start, while the V variant finally receives a multi-angle reverse camera and auto-folding door mirrors.

    All models retain the 1.5 litre i-VTEC four-cylinder engine, mated to an Earth Dreams CVT transmission; although outputs have yet to be announced, expect them to stay the same at 120 PS and 145 Nm. Safety-wise, all models now come with Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), with the V variant adding six airbags as before. The model lineup will also be streamlined from four variants (S, S+, E and V) to three (S, E and V).

     
  • VIDEO: 2017 Honda City stars in new ad for India

    While we did get a preview of the 2017 Honda City recently, the B-segment sedan has already been launched in other markets such as Thailand and India. This new advertisement spot is from the latter, and describes the new City as being “worlds ahead.”

    Seen here is the range-topping ZX variant offered to customers in India, so it gets all the goodies, with LED headlights (with integrated DRLs), LED fog lights, and 16-inch diamond-cut alloys, bootlid spoiler (with integrated LED brake light), LED taillights and an electric sunroof for the exterior.

    With the facelift, the City now gets a Civic-inspired front end, with a new chrome bar grille and honeycomb mesh. Elsewhere, the front and rear bumpers have also been reshaped, where the lower apron is now more aggressive-looking on the former.

    Inside, the big change is a new 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system that comes with 1.5GB of internal media storage capacity, Mirrorlink support, a variety of inputs and navigation. Said system is also linked to four speakers and four tweeters positioned inside the cabin.

    Just below that, there’s a new touch control panel for the car’s automatic climate control, as well as a new engine start/stop button beside it with white and red illumination. For safety, the City in ZX guise gets six airbags (dual front, side and curtain), ABS with EBD and Isofix rear child seat anchors.

    As for what’s under the hood, customers in the republic get to choose from two 1.5 litre engines. The first is a four-cylinder SOHC i-VTEC petrol unit (119 PS at 6,600 rpm/145 Nm at 4,600 rpm), while the other is a four-cylinder DOHC i-DTEC diesel (100 PS at 3,600 rpm/200 Nm at 1,750 rpm). Only those petrol-powered models get the option of a five-speed manual or CVT, while the oil burning version gets a six-speed manual only.

     
 

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