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  • Six-month car loan payment holiday – how it works

    On March 25, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) issued a directive to all banks to grant an automatic six-month moratorium (deferment) of all loan/financing repayments effective from April 1, to September 30, 2020. Here’s a simple explanation of how the payment holiday works, from an auto perspective.

    From April 1, all conventional hire purchase (HP) car loan monthly instalments will automatically be put on hold for six months. You don’t have to service or repay your loan instalments during this six-month period, and only resume paying from October 1 onwards.

    For example, say you’re paying RM1,000 a month now until December 2021. From April 1, you’ll pay nothing until the end of September. Come October, you’ll continue paying the same amount, which is RM1,000, till the end of your loan term, which has now simply been extended by six months to June 2022, with no extra charges.

    This payment holiday will be done automatically, so you don’t have to apply or do anything about it. If you wish to continue paying your loan instalments, then you have to inform the bank that you wish to continue payment uninterrupted – some colleagues have already gotten messages about how to do this (see image above).

    There’s no interest compounded during the six-month period, because conventional HP loans are already set at a fixed rate, so you don’t pay anything extra. In short, it’s a true payment holiday for all car loans through banks for six months. There’s no penalty, and there’s no catch. There is also the much rarer variable rate HP, which sets things up differently – you might want to check with your bank if the deferment still accrues payable interest.

    As for loans from non-bank credit providers, these are not banks and so aren’t tied under the BNM directive, so they’re not bound to offer any deferment. So far only Toyota Capital Malaysia has said that it will, while the rest will look at things on a case-to-case (TC Capital Resources) or customised (BMW Credit Malaysia) basis.

  • BMW Credit Malaysia offers financial relief options to assist customers affected by Covid-19 pandemic

    BMW Group Financial Services Malaysia (legally known as BMW Credit Malaysia) has announced it will offer several customised solutions to customers who have been financially affected by the movement control order (MCO) and Covid-19 pandemic.

    According to the company, the solutions provide customers with some flexibility when it comes to their repayments, depending on their individual financial situation. For now, no additional details or structures have been provided, but the company recommends its customers to contact its customer support team at for more information.

    Recently, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) ordered all banks in the country to grant an automatic six-month payment deferment (moratorium) of all loan/financing repayments beginning from April 1, 2020. However, as BMW Group Financial Services is a credit service provider, it is not implicated in the moratorium, but has chosen to provide these solutions to its customers to ease any burdens that they may be currently facing.

  • BMW M8 Competition Coupe now in Thailand, RM2.4m

    BMW Thailand has introduced the BMW M8 Coupe in the kingdom. Munich’s flagship coupe is imported in the top Competition spec for a hefty 17.999 million baht, which is equivalent to RM2.4 million these days.

    Unveiled in June 2019, the F92 Coupe is powered by an S63 4.4 litre twin-turbocharged V8 that develops 600 hp at 6,000 rpm and 750 Nm of torque between 1,800 and 5,600 rpm. Power is sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed M Steptronic automatic transmission with Drivelogic settings. So equipped, the M8 will do 0-100 km/h in just 3.3 seconds, and top speed with the M Driver’s Package is 305 km/h.

    The M8 Competition raises power to 625 hp and extends peak torque output to 5,800 rpm. It also gets stiffer engine mounts for quicker throttle response and a more instantaneous turn-in, along with a switchable M Sport exhaust system that’s optional in the “base” car. The Competition is a tenth faster to 100 km/h at 3.2 seconds.

    The M8 gets the F90 M5’s M xDrive all-wheel drive system, which varies torque distribution between the front and rear wheels depending on conditions and the chosen setting. While the system already features a rear bias as standard, putting the car in 4WD Sport mode sends even more torque to the rear axle; the hardcore 2WD mode, only available with DSC switched off, locks the system in RWD. An Active M Diff is fitted at the rear.

    Competition models benefit from increased front camber and the use of ball joints on the rear toe links, further improving cornering dynamics. There’s also a Track mode that turns all assists, the centre screen and the audio system off, enabling the driver to focus 100% on driving.

    More Competition-exclusive items are gloss black exterior highlights, complex forged alloys and the option of leather and Alcantara trim in a contrasting two-tone scheme. More on the MotoGP safety car here. The M8 is also available in Convertible and four-door Gran Coupe form.

  • BMW 630i Gran Turismo makes Thai debut: assembled in Malaysia, cheaper than CBU 630d at RM585k

    It’s not exactly selling like hotcakes, but the BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo range in Thailand has been expanded with the introduction of the petrol-powered 630i. This is of particular interest to us because this particular variant is assembled right here in Malaysia, in Kulim.

    The car is priced at 4,359,000 baht (RM585,000), which makes it 340,000 baht less expensive than the 630d diesel, which is built in Germany. However, that still makes the car more than RM150,000 dearer than it is over here, where it retails at RM430,800.

    Still, the Land of Smiles now gets a car that’s both cheaper and better equipped. On top of the equipment on the 630d, the 630i adds handsome 20-inch Style 648 M alloy wheels (the 630d gets 19s), air suspension, adaptive cruise control with stop and go and the Driving Assistant package, which includes autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning and blind spot monitoring.

    Thai models also get a few items Malaysian-market cars miss out on. The first is Parking Assist Plus, which bundles in a 360-degree camera system (ours only gets a reverse camera) and a Remote 3D View function that allows users to check their vehicle’s surroundings through a smartphone. Also fitted is Remote Control Parking function to park the car remotely using the BMW Display Key, as well as soft-close doors.

    Just like the 630i here, the car is powered by a B48 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, making 258 PS from 5,000 to 6,500 rpm and 450 Nm of torque from 1,550 to 4,400 rpm. It is mated to a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission, with drive sent to the rear wheels.

    GALLEY: BMW 630i Gran Turismo in Malaysia

  • March 2020 week five fuel price – RON 95 down to RM1.38, RON 97 to RM1.68, diesel also down to RM1.68

    Another Friday, and once again, the weekly fuel price update. More brilliant news for motorists where the price of fuel is concerned, but few will be able to take advantage of it again for the coming week (or the following couple of weeks, actually).

    The ministry of finance has announced that the price of all fuels has dropped again for the coming March 28 to April 3 week. The price of Euro 4M RON 95 petrol has dropped by six sen to RM1.38 per litre (from RM1.44 per litre last week), while RON 97 also gets a six sen reduction, now priced at RM1.68 per litre (RM1.74 last week).

    As for Euro 2M diesel, the price has also been reduced, the fuel now going for RM1.68 per litre, seven sen cheaper than it was last week (RM1.75). This means that Euro 5 diesel, which costs 10 sen more than Euro 2M diesel, will be priced at RM1.78 per litre.

    The significant price reduction in the past couple of weeks is a result of falling crude oil prices globally due to an “oil war” among oil-producing countries. Still, few motorists will be able to enjoy the cheaper fuel, what with the movement control order (MCO) in place and set to run until April 14. If you’re going to fill up, do take all necessary precautions to safeguard yourself.

    If possible, wear disposable gloves while using the pump to refuel and when keying in PIN numbers for payment, and if you don’t have that, bringing a kitchen towel along for the same purpose of limiting direct contact with the pump should work. You can also pay wave where possible. And always remember to sanitise when you’re done.

    The prices remain effective until April 3, when the next fuel price update is announced. This is the 12th edition of the weekly fuel pricing format for the year and the 64th edition in total for the format, with runs from Saturday until the following Friday.

  • Toyota Thailand introduces short-term online leasing

    Toyota Thailand has introduced the Kinto One Limited online leasing service for private users, which is available in three-month or one-year subscription packages with a fleet of 50 vehicles to cater for mobility needs in light of current circumstances. This service will begin from March 30, Toyota Thailand said.

    The fleet will be comprised of the Yaris Ativ, and will be available to customers in the Bangkok metropolitan area “at affordable prices compared to public transportation costs during the current situation,” said executive vice president of Toyota Thailand Surasak Suthongwan.

    To use the service, customers need to apply online, and will be notified of the application result within an hour. Auto insurance for this leasing programme is on a fixed rate, with no downpayment required and no mileage limit during the leasing period. Rates can begin from as low as 12,000 Thai baht per month, although this is subject to a minimum contract duration. Collection and drop-off will be at Toyota dealerships.

    For now, the Ativ is the sole model available within the Kinto One leasing service, though Lexus models will be added soon, said Toyota Thailand. The latest version of the Yaris Ativ made its debut at the Thailand Moor Expo last November, available in three variants – Entry, Mid and High – for both Yaris hatchback and Yaris Ativ sedan versions.

    At the Thailand launch, the Yaris Ativ was priced at 529,000 baht (RM73,010) in Entry trim level guise, increasing to 579,000 baht (RM79,911) for the Mid variant and up to 649,000 baht (RM89,583) for the High variant. Both are powered by a 1.2 litre 3NR-FKE engine that is E20 gasohol-compliant, and produces 92 PS at 6,000 rpm and 109 Nm at 4,400 rpm, paired with a Super CVT-i gearbox.

    2020 Toyota Yaris Ativ High GT Edition

  • This 2020 Lexus UX is the world’s first tattooed car

    Lexus has collaborated with a London-based tattoo artist, Claudia De Sabe, to create what it claims is the world’s first tattooed car. Taking a pure white Lexus UX as the base car, Claudia used a dremel tool (in place of a needle) to literally drill away the surface paint, exposing the bare metal underneath.

    The design features a koi carp along the length of the vehicle, which in Japanese art represents qualities of good fortune and perseverance. Creating the tattoo required five litres of high-quality car paint, and the entire car was painted by hand. As a finishing touch, a gold leaf was used to create highlights, creating a three-dimensional pop. Once the tattoo was done, another layer of clear coat was sprayed over for protection.

    Creating the tattooed UX took six months, a process that necessitated five eight-hour days every week. The finished product doesn’t carry a price tag, but the bespoke work costs upwards of £120,000 (RM633k). That doesn’t include the cost of the car!

    “When you tattoo a person, you have to think about the muscles and tissue beneath the skin. With the car it was about the way the bodywork changes shape over the framework,” said Claudia, who was assisted in her work by her Japanese-born husband Yutaro.

    “The best thing about tattooing the Lexus UX, and the reason why this car was ideal for the project, is its streamlined shape. Everything from the lines on the side of the body to the shape of the windows, everything is just so dynamic and beautiful. It was a perfect fit for the design and the concept itself,” she added. Claudia is also the co-founder of Red Point tattoo studio in Islington.

    Lexus said the project stands as a tribute to the takumi craftsmanship that is applied to every one of its car, evident in “design details and finishes” that were achieved with human skills.

    To recap, the UX crossover was designed specifically for urbanites, and it’s the first Lexus model to use the brand’s GA-C (Global Architecture – Compact) platform.

    It’s available in UX 200 and UX 250h hybrid guises, both featuring Toyota’s new Dynamic Force 2.0 litre naturally aspirated engine. The third UX 300e pure EV variant was introduced later, featuring an electric motor that makes 204 PS and 300 Nm of torque. At full charge, the 54.3 kWh lithium-ion battery provides up to 400 km of range.

  • Gov’t allocates RM60 mil to help e-hailing drivers during Covid-19 – RM500 each to 120k individuals

    Prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has announced a massive RM230 billion economic stimulus package, of which RM25 billion will be channelled to ease the burdens of the rakyat and businesses in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

    Among the several initiatives listed (and there are many of them), RM60 million will be directed to 120,000 e-hailing drivers in the country, who will each receive a one-off payment of RM500. This is to assist them during the movement control order (MCO) period, which has seen a significant reduction in ridership as a result.

    The move builds upon an earlier stimulus package worth RM20 billion that was announced in February, which will see taxi drivers be given a one-off payment of RM600 each from April 1, 2020.

    Prior to this latest announcement, Bank Negara Malaysia ordered all banks to grant an automatic six-month moratorium (deferment) of all loan/financing repayments – including car loans (hire purchase agreements) – from April 1 to ease the burdens of customers who have been affected financially by the health crisis.

  • MCO: Partial closure of LDP Petaling Jaya toll lanes

    Litrak, the operator of the Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong (LDP), has announced a temporary partial closure of lanes at the Petaling Jaya toll plaza, southbound. This is in line with the current movement control order (MCO) aimed at flattening the coronavirus curve.

    Specifically, it’s the five rightmost lanes (Express Lanes towards Putrajaya, Shah Alam and Puchong, or yellow lanes) at the Petaling Jaya toll plaza, southbound, that will be closed, starting from 3 pm today (March 27) until further notice. This temporary partial closure will be co-ordinated by the police with full cooperation from the LDP, the concessionaire said.

    Motorists that will be affected are those coming from Petaling Jaya and Bandar Sunway towards Kesas, Lebuhraya Bukit Jalil, Puchong, Shah Alam and Putrajaya. However, bear in mind that this isn’t a full closure and you still can use the lanes on the leftmost side of the toll plaza. Adhere to police instructions and follow the temporary traffic signages on site.

    Expect a tighter second phase of the MCO soon, with more stringent enforcement and tighter regulations, as there are still people not complying with the order. Once again, we remind everyone that if it is absolutely necessary for you to get provisions, medical supplies and food, please make it fast and limit the distance travelled. Also, remember the one person per car rule. Let’s heed the call to just stay at home.

  • GALLERY: Ducati Streetfighter V4S super naked bike

    photo: Simon Palfrader©/Red

    It looks like the world has to wait a little longer for the public release of the 2020 Ducati Streetfighter V4S, with almost every country closing borders and imposing lockdowns. However, Ducati has released an image gallery of its premier naked sports bike, the Streetfighter V4S.

    Shown at the Ducati World Premier in Rimini, Italy, last year, the Streetfighter V4S takes the Stradale V-four engine from the Panigale V4 and puts it in naked sports clothing. It also takes the electronics suite from the Panigale V4 to give what Ducati calls, the “Fight Formula”.

    Continuing the successful formula of the Ducati Streetfighter 848, the Streetfighter V4S is essentially a superbike in naked clothing, a trend begun back in the late 80s when riders took GSX-Rs, stripped the fairings off and installed Renthal handlebars. In this case, the Streetfighter V4S has raised handlebars and a mid-mount footpeg position, placing the rider more upright.

    This does not mean Ducati has forgotten aerodynamics, claiming that the biplane aerofoils mounted on the sides of the fairing generate 28 kg of downforce at 270 kmph. Which rider would be foolhardy enough to attempt 270 kmph on a naked sports bike, we don’t know, but it’s there and Ducati says it helps prevent the front wheel from floating at speed.

    Motive power comes from the Desmosedici Stradale mill, displacing 1,103 cc and putting out 208 hp, the same as the fully-faired Panigale V4. In case a power to weight ratio of 1.17 is inadequate, adding the optional Akrapovic exhaust bumps power up to 220 hp with weight going from the standard Streetfighter V4’s 178 kg to 172 kg.

    Naturally power has to be controlled and this is done with 6D inertial measurement unit (IMU) that gives cornering ABS, Ducati’s EVO2 traction control, slide and wheelie control – we tried the Panigale V4’s slide control at Sepang circuit and can confirm it is a lot of fun – as well as launch and engine braking control. Three riding modes are available – Race, Sport and Street – controlled by buttons on the left handlebar pod and a full-colour TFT-LCD screen displays all the necessary information.

    For braking, Brembo’s road-going best, the Stylema Monobloc calliper, is used, clamping twin 330 mm discs on the front wheel. Suspension for the Streetfighter V4 uses a Showa Big Piston Front (BPF) upside-down fork and a fully-adjustable Sachs monoshock at the back with a Sachs steering damper keeping front wheel shimmy under control.

    Things in the suspension department are turned up a notch for the Streetfighter V4S, which comes with Ohlins NIX-30 front forks and Ohlins TTX36 monoshock, controlled by Ohlins Smart EC electronic suspension. Also setting the Streetfighter V4S apart from the base model is an Ohlins electronic steering damper and forged aluminium Marchesini Wheels.


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Latest Fuel Prices

RON 95 RM1.38 (-0.06)
RON 97 RM1.68 (-0.06)
RON 100 RM2.19
VPR RM2.44
EURO 2M RM1.68 (-0.07)
EURO 5 RM1.78 (-0.07)
Last Updated 28 Mar 2020


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