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  • September 2018 Malaysian vehicle sales down 52%

    The Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) has announced sales and production figures for the month of September 2018, which are lower compared to what was seen in August.

    A total of 31,241 vehicles were delivered in September, which is 52% lower than 65,551 units recorded in August. Sales volume in September this year was also 23% or 9,715 units lower than the corresponding month in 2017.

    The association attributed this significant decline to car companies depleting their stocks due to overwhelming demand during the zero-rated goods and services tax (GST) period.

    Meanwhile, total industry volume (TIV) as of September 2018 stood at 454,971 units, representing a 7% increase from the 425,678 units accounted for during the same period last year.

    Moving forward, the MAA expects sales results for October to not deviate too far from September’s figures because of customers’ adjustment to the reimplementation of the sales and services tax (SST) and order fulfillment following the tax holiday.

  • Skoda Scala is the name of new Golf-sized hatchback

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    Skoda has revealed the name of its upcoming entry into the European compact hatch segment. The Skoda Scala will be a replacement for the Rapid Spaceback, competing in a class with stalwarts such as the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Opel/Vauxhall Astra. Also playing in this field are the Renault Megane, Peugeot 308, Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla Hatchback, Hyundai i30 and Kia Ceed.

    The Scala name derives from the Latin word ‘scala’ which means ‘stairs’, and is a step forward for the Czech carmaker in the segment.

    “With the new Skoda Scala we are proposing a new chapter in the compact class of Skoda. It is a completely new development that sets standards in terms of technology, safety and design in this class. Thus we are confident that Scala has the best chance to redefine the segment for Skoda,” said Skoda chairman Bernhard Maier.

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    Skoda will be looking to do better than the Rapid with the Scala. “How should I put this? Our presence [in this segment] is very humble. With the current Rapid Spaceback, we didn’t manage to come through to convince people that we are a credible competitor in this segment,” Skoda sales and marketing boss Alain Favey admitted to Autocar.

    Along with the Scala badge, Skoda also released an image of the car’s rear end, which shows the brand spelled out in wide-spaced letters, like what we saw on the China-only Kodiaq GT sketch earlier. It replaces the Skoda logo on the tailgate. Skoda says that the Scala presents its new “emotional” exterior and interior design language – as seen on the Vision RS concept from Paris 2018 – for the first time in production form.

    Due to surface before the end of 2018, the Scala will be the first Skoda to utilise the VW Group’s A0 MQB platform, which already underpins the Volkswagen T-Roc and Seat Ibiza. The next-gen Fabia, set for release in 2020, and Skoda’s upcoming junior SUV will also use the same platform, according to Autocar.

    GALLERY: Skoda Vision RS concept

  • New Mitsubishi Triton pick-up to debut on November 9

    Mitsubishi has released a second teaser of the new Triton (or L200 in other markets) along with an official debut date, November 9. According to its maker, the pick-up truck was designed according to the tagline ‘Engineered Beyond Tough’, based on feedback from owners across the world.

    Zooming into the dust cloud, you’ll be able to see part of the pick-up and not much else. The revamped front fascia features the latest iteration of the brand’s Dynamic Shield design language with slim headlamps flanking the grille and fog lamps/indicators tucked into the corners.

    The new look is a significant departure from the current model, and has more in common with recent Mitsubishi introductions like the Eclipse Cross and Xpander. Beyond that, the cab and side mirrors appear to remain unchanged from before.

    Based on the darkened image that Mitsubishi released earlier, new wheels are a definite, while spyshots show a redesign of the taillights as well. Changes to the interior are to be expected, although up to what degree remains to be seen.

    As for what’s going on under the bonnet, Mitsubishi has yet to confirm if the Triton will retain the familiar 4N15 2.4 litre MIVEC turbodiesel engine (181 PS/430 Nm) as before, or if any updates will be introduced.

    GALLERY: New Mitsubishi Triton spyshots

  • Driven Movie Night – win Bohemian Rhapsody passes!

    The iconic intro of “We Will Rock You,” the soaring chorus of “We Are the Champions,” and the mesmerising operatics of “Bohemian Rhapsody” – who isn’t moved to sing along when he/she hears these anthems? It has been over 25 years since the death of lead singer and flamboyant front Freddie Mercury, yet Queen’s music lives on.

    Watch Bohemian Rhapsody with us first – courtesy of 20th Century Fox Malaysia – this October 30, 9pm at GSC One Utama, Petaling Jaya, way before the movie officially opens in Malaysia on November 8. A total of 8 pairs of tickets are up for grabs, which means we’re giving out 16 passes. All you need to do is watch the trailer below and answer two simple questions.

    Bohemian Rhapsody is a foot-stomping celebration of Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury, who defied stereotypes and shattered conventions to become one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. The film traces the meteoric rise of the band through their iconic songs and revolutionary sound, their near implosion as Mercury’s lifestyle spirals out of control and their triumphant reunion on the eve of Live Aid, where Mercury, facing a life-threatening illness, leads the band in one of the greatest performances in the history of rock music. In the process, cementing the legacy of a band that were always more like a family, which continues to inspire outsiders, dreamers and music lovers to this day.

    Take part in the contest now to watch Freddie’s journey as an iconic singer.

    *Contest closes on Friday, October 26, 2018. Winners will be announced on and notified via email and SMS on Monday, October 29, 2018. The announced results are final and any disputes will not be entertained. The movie screening will be held on Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at 9pm at GSC One Utama in Petaling Jaya, and winners must collect their passes at the above venue one hour before the screening time. Due to the screening location, the contest is open to Klang Valley residents only.

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  • BMW electric car styling to be toned down – report

    Five years ago, BMW stole the headlines with the introduction of two outlandishly styled electric vehicles – the chic, futuristic i3 and the swooping, scissor-doored i8. Both were meant to signify Munich’s foray into electrification, and they still look like nothing else on the road, even today.

    However, BMW is putting those days behind it, as EVs become less of a novelty and more of a staple of everyday life. Autocar reports that the styling of future electric models will be gradually toned down as the technology becomes more mainstream, according to the company’s design director Adrian van Hooydonk.

    “Electric mobility will spread through our entire vehicle range in quite a short space of time – to the point that electric or plug-in hybrid is just another option box you tick as you order the car,” he said. “The fact is that BMW customers want a dynamic car, whether it is a battery electric vehicle or not, and so there’s is increasingly less reason to make these kinds of cars look different.”

    Clockwise from top left: BMW Concept iX3, i Vision Dynamics, Vision iNEXT

    But van Hooydonk insisted that the future-forward BMW i models will still be at the forefront of design. “The i brand stands for inspiration and innovation, and electrification is not the only area of our industry that marks a significant change,” he added. “It’s pretty clear that there will still be i cars, and that the designers will be able to search for different things.”

    While BMW is transitioning towards producing electric versions of its standard models, this new design direction can already be clearly seen. The iX3, shown as a concept at Auto China in Beijing earlier this year ahead of a 2019 debut, is still recognisably an X3, albeit with a few BMW i-specific cues such as the new, conjoined version of the trademark double kidney grille.

    The standalone BMW i models, meanwhile, will feature more distinctive styling, if the BMW i Vision Dynamics and Vision iNEXT, which preview an i4 four-door “coupé” and an SUV respectively, are any indication – but without the dramatic sweeping curves and layered surfaces of the i3 and i8.

  • Skoda Kodiaq GT – a big coupe SUV just for China

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    The Skoda Kodiaq, the Czech brand’s biggest SUV, is set to get a coupe version. The VW Group carmaker has released design sketches of the new Skoda Kodiaq GT, which will be the brand’s flagship model in China. It will be exclusively available in that market, which is Skoda’s largest in the world.

    The Kodiaq GT is exactly how one would imagine the big Skoda would be like with a sloping roof. Behind the front doors, the roofline gently slopes down, merging into an angled tailgate. Instead of the usual Skoda logo at the back, the brand is spelled out by wide spaced lettering, and there are two prominent tail pipes at each end of the diffuser section. Clean and sharp.

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    Skoda has been big on SUVs lately, and the offensive is actually a key pillar of the brand’s Strategy 2025, along with electromobility and digitalisation. As with many other carmakers, VW’s Czech outpost is looking to China for growth, and the Kodiaq GT will be the second exclusive to China SUV model after the B-segment Kamiq. Currently, every fourth Skoda car is delivered to China.

    Elsewhere, Skoda recently revealed the Kodiaq RS – the fastest seven-seat SUV on the Nurburgring – the Scout and Sportline variants of the smaller Karoq, and the electric Vision RS concept.

  • 2019 Volkswagen Passat NMS debuts for China market

    This is the second-generation Volkswagen Passat NMS (New Midsize Sedan), which has been introduced in China, where it will be built by the SAIC-VW joint venture. Although not official, the new model could be a preview for the next-generation Passat destined for the United States.

    Before proceeding any further, the Passat NMS is unique to selected markets like China and the US, hence the differentiation from the Passat we are familiar with. These changes aren’t just visual either, as they also involved the vehicle’s dimensions.

    Compared to its predecessor, the new Passat NMS now measures 4,933 mm long (+61 mm), 1,836 mm wide (+2 mm) and 1,465 mm tall (-7 mm). The sedan comes with a more substantial wheelbase at 2,871 mm (+68 mm), which also exceeds the European Passat’s 2,791 mm. As a result, you get more legroom in the rear – an important requirement in the Chinese market based on the number of long-wheelbase versions of standard cars sold there.

    The switch to the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform is largely the reason for the physical resizing, and there’s also some new styling to go along with it. On the exterior, the Arteon and Phideon are strong influences on what you see, including the shape of the grille, light clusters (headlamps and taillights), and the central positioning of the model lettering.

    Moving inside, the dashboard layout differs from the Passat and Arteon, whereby the full-width slats that merge with the air-con vents are no longer present. Instead, the infotainment unit occupies the centre of the dash, with the centre vents now positioned closer to the climate control switchgear.

    A 10.2-inch digital instrument panel, 9.2 touchscreen infotainment system, 10-colour ambient lighting system, powered seats, panoramic sunroof, head-up display, leather upholstery, adaptive cruise control, collision warning, and Park Assist are just some of the available equipment for the Passat NMS.

    Under the bonnet, there’s a 2.0 litre four-cylinder TSI engine that comes in two states of tune – 186 PS and 220 PS; the only transmission option here is a seven-speed DSG automatic. Later on, a plug-in hybrid version will be introduced, combining a 1.4 litre TSI engine with an electric motor to output 211 PS/400 Nm and consume just 1.4 l/100 km.

    The European Passat will also receive an update based on the spyshots we have posted in the past, although it is highly unlikely that the final design will be identical to the Passat NMS here. Which of the two do you prefer?

    GALLERY: B8 Volkswagen Passat facelift (Europe market) spyshots

  • 2019 Honda CRF450L and CRF250RX unveiled, updates for rest of Honda CRF enduro bike range

    Honda presents new 2019 CRF line-up at the MXGP of the Netherlands

    Unveiled during the MXGP of Netherlands recently were the 2019 Honda CRF450L and CRF250RX, along with the updated Honda CRF enduro motorcycle range. Emphasising reliability and ease-of-use in the dual-purpose role, the CRF450L takes the CRF450R moto­crosser as its basis.

    Fully street legal and coming with a side stand, the CRF450L has a larger fuel tank for extended range, LED lighting and a single-cylinder mill tuned for bottom end power. Of note is the CRF450L’s first service interval of 32,000 km.

    The other new ‘crosser for Honda is the CRF250RX, using the CRF250R as a starting point and intended for closed-course cross-country riding. Like the CRF450L, the CRF250RX comes with an 18-inch rear wheel, 8.5-­litre fuel tank and three-level launch control from HRC.

    Honda presents new 2019 CRF line-up at the MXGP of the Netherlands

    Siblings to the CRF450L, the CRF450R and CRF450RX, now come with three-level HRC launch control and Renthal Fat Bar handlebar that sits on a four-way adjustable yoke. The CRF450R gets a 2.5 hp and 2 Nm boost in power and torque, thanks to a revised cylinder head, intake and exhaust.

    Updated for 2019, the Honda CRF250R gets a power bump in the bottom end through the use of a 2 mm smaller diameter throttle body and revised cam, intake and exhaust profiles. The CRF250R also gets three-level HRC Launch Control in addition to the three ride modes along with a new two-­piston front brake calliper, adjustable Renthal Fatbars and black rims.

  • McLaren Speedtail teased before debut on October 26

    McLaren has announced that it will reveal the design and more technical details of the upcoming Speedtail on October 26, which is just a few days away. Along with the announcement, the company also released a teaser of the vehicle’s rear, emphasising its “stunning, streamlined form.”

    As you can see, the uninterrupted look does away with any outlandish spoilers or top-mounted exhausts like on the Senna. Instead, the only features you can see are shutlines for what should be an active spoiler and another opening that trails further down from the engine cover.

    The visual presence of the hyper-GT will be complemented with a petrol-electric hybrid powertrain that is claimed to make over 1,000 PS. That prominent tail on the Speedtail is also important when the car hits speeds of over 391 km/h, or higher than any car that McLaren has produced.

    The Speedtail is the first of 18 new cars or derivatives that McLaren will introduce as part of its Track25 business plan, and just 106 cars will be produced. Every single unit has already been accounted for at a cost of 1.75 million British pounds (RM9,555,534) each, and buyers will get to enjoy a central seating position with two seats either side like on the McLaren F1.

    Production is due to begin at the end of next year, with every Speedtail personalised to each owner’s taste by McLaren Special Operations (MSO), the division of McLaren Automotive responsible for bespoke customer commissions.

  • Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell – production plug-in hybrid hydrogen SUV debuts with 208 hp, 478 km total range

    One year after the Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell was unveiled in pre-production form at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Stuttgart has released full details on the version the public will actually be able to buy. As intimated previously, this eco-friendly SUV is said to be the first hydrogen-powered plug-in hybrid, drawing electricity both from a fuel cell as well as a lithium-ion battery.

    Since the motor show, outputs from the electric motor have increased from 147 kW (197 hp) to 155 kW (208 hp) – now identical to what you’d find on a petrol-powered GLC 250 – and from 350 Nm of torque to 365 Nm. Total range in hybrid mode has also jumped from 437 km to 478 km, while the range using only the 13.5 kWh (9.3 kWh net capacity) battery goes from 49 km to 51 km. Top speed is limited to 160 km/h.

    The rest of the hardware specifications remain identical, with the new fuel cell being 30% smaller than what you’d find in the B-Class F-Cell, despite a 40% increase in output. As such, it fits within the standard GLC’s engine bay and uses the same mounting points as its fossil-fuelled brethren. It also uses 90% less platinum than before, conserving resources and reducing costs without impacting performance.

    Fuel comes from two 700-bar hydrogen tanks, encased in carbon fibre and holding 4.4 kg of the stuff. It is mounted at the back of the car – together with the battery and the electric motor – resulting in a stepped boot floor and rear seats that are mounted slightly higher than in a conventional GLC. Charging the battery to full from 10% takes 1.5 hours on full power through the 7.4 kW onboard charger.

    As with Mercedes’ other plug-in hybrids, the GLC F-Cell features four operating modes for the powertrain. Hybrid optimises the use of both power sources, F-Cell keeps the battery’s state of charge by using only hydrogen, Battery draws power solely from the battery (obviously) and Charge, um, charges the battery while on the move. These are influenced by the separate Eco, Comfort and Sport drive modes.

    Elsewhere, there’s self-levelling air suspension at the rear for a balanced ride even when fully loaded. For maximum efficiency, the climate control system features pre-entry cooling and heating when the car is charged up at the mains, and it can also utilise waste heat from the fuel cell in colder climates.

    The car also uses the sensors from the array of active safety systems to determine the most efficient way to accelerate – taking into account the route characteristics, topography and traffic – and provide the driver with hints on optimising range. Owners will be able to access various bits of information such as the range, consumption, fuel tank level and battery charging status through the Mercedes me app.

    The GLC F-Cell will only be available as a full-service rental, inclusive of all maintenance and repairs. Deliveries kick off at the end of this month in major cities already with a fairly comprehensive hydrogen infrastructure, including Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Munich, Cologne and Düsseldorf. Parent company Daimler is also working on increasing the filling station network from 51 to 100 stations across Germany by the end of next year through its H2 Mobility joint venture, with a target of 400 stations by 2023.


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Last Updated 01 Oct 2018


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