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  • Proton dealer network upgrade – 79 outlets now 3S/4S

    Proton, as part of its major turnaround plan, has announced that it will push for more dealerships to be upgraded to 3S or 4S facilities. As of May 18, approximately 79 outlets have achieved the 3S/4S status, which equates to 72% of the 109 dealerships targeted for the year.

    According to Proton, it is nearing the goal earlier than expected. Company CEO, Li Chunrong said “this is absolutely good news, a wonderful moment for Proton, and with the upgrading taking place, we are confident that we are on steady grounds to provide world class excellence by delivering best sales and service experience for our customers.”

    Li also said “I wish to thank new investors who joined us as dealers of the Proton family. While all of us were tirelessly making plans to drive Proton forward, we are very encouraged by the fact that we have the support of new investors along the way, who are game to take on the challenge of being a Proton dealer.”

    “This can only mean one thing – that we still have strong brand presence in the market and because of this, many came on board to sail on the Proton journey into the future with us. Thank you for believing in us. Now we can all charge ahead and be the driving force of the brand,” he added.

    Proton’s vice president of sales and marketing, Abdul Rashid Musa said “everywhere, business are focused on customer satisfaction to ensure sustainability, and Proton is definitely gaining momentum to reap rewards in the future from current plans that have been put in place. For this reason, I encourage dealers to upgrade their outlets to 3S and 4S so that we could all be in a thriving business together and progressively benefit from it.”

    Proton dealer Datin Fauziah Ahmad said “we need to upgrade further to be in tandem with the standard requirements, but most importantly we understand the need to upgrade as we needed to portray a better appearance and image for the product, the Proton brand and the upgrade to a 3S outlet will ultimately serve its purpose as we will be able to serve customers better.”

    Proton’s first SUV will be based on the Geely Boyue facelift

    Another dealer, Dato Sri Ngu Ung Yong said “Proton is our national car and it is our duty to make it successful again. Moreover, with the partnership with Geely and new management, we trust Proton is in a good position for a turnaround.” Ngu will be upgrading his premise to a 4S outlet.

    The upgrading works are being done in anticipation of Proton’s upcoming SUV model, which will come with features like adaptive cruise control and an autonomous emergency braking system.

    Currently, Proton is still taking applications for those interested in operating a dealership, although the number is very limited. “Proton received overwhelming response from dealers who are keen to upgrade their dealer outlets to 3S and 4S, in addition to requests by new dealer investors who are confident of the direction and future of Proton,” said company head of network planning, Dr Ho Tuck Sum.

  • AD: Be rewarded when you purchase a MINI this Raya with Ingress Auto – low interest rates, RM500 fuel card

    Be rewarded when you add a little MINI excitement to your Hari Raya celebration this year, as Ingress Auto is offering exclusive deals as part of its Ramadhan and Raya campaign, which will be held from May 25 to June 25.

    For starters, enjoy low interest rates* on selected MINI models as well as savings with 0% GST pricing, allowing you to keep more of your duit raya. There’s also the option to complement your shiny, new MINI with official MINI accessories or lifestyle gadgets*, should you prefer those instead.

    However, the rewards don’t stop there, as a RM500 petrol card* is also, well, on the cards, to help cover that balik kampung trip. Additionally, complimentary tinting and coating* are also offered to ensure your new MINI is well equipped for the journey ahead.

    If you’re looking to add that MINI thrill to your life, Ingress Auto is holding a special event this weekend (May 26-27) at its MINI Bangsar showroom. Come by from 10am to 6pm on those dates so you can get a little more familiar with the entire MINI family and find the perfect one (refreshments will be served). To sign up for the event, just fill up this form and you’re all set. Alternatively, you can also visit Ingress Auto’s official Facebook page for more information.

    *Terms and conditions apply.

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  • Shell kicks off Raya Charity Campaign 2018, partners Mastercard to help underprivileged children in M’sia

    Shell has announced its Shell Raya Charity Campaign 2018, an initiative that aims to make a difference in the lives of underprivileged children in the country. The campaign, which began in 2015, is now in its fourth year running and will take place over nine days.

    On 19 May, 26 May, 2 June and 9 until 14 June 2018, Shell will donate 1 sen (RM0.01) for every litre of fuel pumped at any Shell station nationwide. An additional donation of 1 sen (RM0.01) per litre will be made by Mastercard when motorists pay using their Mastercard.

    The funds will be donated to seven selected charitable organisations across the country: The Kalsom Movement (Nationwide), Yayasan Chow Kit (Klang Valley), Majlis Kebajikan Kanak-Kanak Malaysia (East Coast, North, South of Peninsular), Project T.R.Y (Transforming Rural Youth, Sabah), Pertubuhan Ibu Bapa Kanak-Kanak Keperluan Istimewa Sarawak, Montfort Youth Training Centre (Sabah), and HAUS (Sarawak).

    The donations thus far have allowed the charitable bodies to fund educational programmes, renovate facilities and upgrade office equipment.

  • PLUS Kuala Kangsar service centre closed till May 30

    PLUS has announced that the Kuala Kangsar toll plaza customer service centre on the North-South Expressway will be temporarily closed until May 30. The closure is aimed at facilitating upgrading works at the centre, which will be operating as usual from 7am on May 31.

    As such, drivers are advised to utilise other customer service centres or self-service kiosks at selected toll plazas or R&Rs to reload their Touch n Go card during the period.

    Of course, motorists can also reload their TnG card via 10,000 reload centres available nationwide including at ATM machines, shopping centres, 24-hour convenience stores and petrol stations.

  • JPJ Kedah expects high demand for KEN number plate

    The recent free-for-all landscape for special series vehicle number plates may have ended, but there’s always the regular running number plate series to fall back on. One that is expected to be popular is the upcoming KEN number plate series from Kedah.

    The Kedah Road Transport Department (JPJ) is expecting over 2,500 tender applications for the KEN series that will be open for bidding at the end of this month. Its director Ismasuhaimi Shariff said that the number of applications for KEN is expected to be the highest ever for the state, and prices could go up to RM500,000.

    “The tender application for the KEN series of registration number plates will be open to the public at the latest by the end of May and we expect to get a lot of applications compared to previously. In terms of price, previously the bids reached RM300,000 for a number, but this time we expect bids up to RM500,000, while the single digit numbers would exceed RM100,000,” he told reporters.

    If your name is Ken, this would be a great opportunity.

  • Wörthersee Treffen 2018 – for the love of Volkswagen

    The first thing you’ll notice is there’s no way the infrastructure is capable of handling the ludicrous amount of traffic. The second is that despite this, no one’s is urging the car ahead to get a move on nor are they blaring their horns on the regular.

    Welcome to the Wörthersee Treffen (‘Treffen’ meaning ‘meeting’ in German), one of the largest car events in the world that pays homage to Volkswagen and three special letters – GTI.

    For over three decades, the event has been considered a mecca of sorts for Volkswagen fans and enthusiasts around the world. As was the case years ago, the venue remains unchanged, with the small of town of Reifnitz, on the shore of Lake Wörthersee in Austria, welcoming scores of travellers looking to be a part of the famed meeting.

    First time visitors might think that the heavy corporate presence by Volkswagen indicate the annual event was founded by the German automaker, but that is far from the truth. In actuality, the event’s origins has very little input from the German automaker and has more to do with a specific German celebration known as Vatertag, or Father’s Day.

    Back in 1981, a group of Golf GTI owners decided to forgo the usual tradition of heading out into the wilderness and drinking themselves silly as part of Father’s Day tradition. Instead, they decided to savour their preferred fermented beverage while also showing off their cars by gathering at said town. This marked the start of the inaugural Treffen, and over the years, the numbers have continued to grow.

    The increasing popularity of the event soon caught the eye of Volkswagen, who has since continued to be firm supporters. However, the support goes far beyond just placing a few banners and calling it a day.

    For several years now, the brand has given back to its fanatical community by unveiling a number of special and unique vehicles, with the most recent being the stunning Golf GTI TCR Concept.

    In past iterations, other brands under the Volkswagen Group umbrella like Audi, Seat and Skoda also flexed their automotive muscles at the event, but that wasn’t the case for this year’s show.

    Instead, there’s just the Volkswagen pavilion for the 37th edition greeting visitors as they disembark the jetty – travelling by boat is the preferred way of getting to Reifnitz. Should you prefer to go by road, be prepared to endure a long queue of interesting cars inching their way to the site.

    The pavilion itself it is an impressive sight, with a wide array of GTI and motorsports models for fans to get up close with, including a one-off, twin-engined Golf built to take on the 1987 Pikes Peak hillbclimb. There’s also the W12-powered Golf (Top Gear fans will remember this) stacked on top of a Mk1, and many more.

    Aside from the cars, there’s no shortage of things to see and do as well. The centre of attention is the main stage, where select fans are given the opportunity to present their love for all things Volkswagen in front of a massive crowd, from personal project cars to unique stories relating to the brand.

    This year was particularly special as it marked the first time a Malaysian VW society were given the chance to present something, and Volkswagen Club Malaysia were determined to make a lasting impression on the multi-national audience.

    Represented by club president Kevin Tan along with fellow members Adi Irwan Ishak and Richard Tan, the group presented a well-crafted video highlighting the club’s various activities, including track days, go-kart sessions and just cruising around Negaraku (#MYpride).

    The end of the video was followed by encouraging applause from the crowd, and then a brief interview for the spectators to get a little more insight into the club. A proud moment for club and country, and a moment that will forever be remembered.

    Volkswagen’s acknowledgement of their most loyal fans by giving them a platform to speak up is further emphasised in other areas of the pavilion, whereby projects by various owners are on display, including concepts created by Volkswagen’s apprentices at its Wolfsburg and Zwickau bases.

    Of course, while you can spend a lot of time in the pavilion, you’ll want to walk around the town itself, which essentially becomes the world’s most diverse parking lot. Everywhere you look, there is something that will demand your attention, and if you’re curious, an eager person to explain their creation.

    There are no set rules about what modifications are deemed acceptable as everyone has their own preferred style. Is that Golf fitted with Lamborghini brakes and Porsche wheels? Yes it is! Why is that Mk1 slammed within milimetres of its life to the ground? Why not? Oh look, a Golf GTI is towing the shell of another Golf GTI! What’s over there? A beautifully restored Mk1 just as Giugiaro designed? The purists will be satisfied.

    Regardless of your tastes, you can’t ignore the passion, dedication, time, talent and resources these owners invest to transform their vehicles to represent their own individuality, if not their ability to keep these machines continuously running from the time when A-ha’s Take On Me topped the German charts.

    While in the past the vehicles were primarily Golfs, it has since expanded to include models from other makes as well. These can vary from the odd supercar or two, to a classic you never knew existed, and even a tractor. A tractor!

    Whether parked by the side of the road, or part of the traffic jam parade (Fandrive) looping on less than a kilometre of tarmac around the town, the vehicle owners present are just pleased to be seen, and if they have a loud exhaust system installed, heard as well.

    The chance to brush shoulders and share tales with fans from other countries adds to the warm nature of the event. Vehicles present wore license plates from Italy, Poland, Hungary, Latvia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, England and there was even an owner who shipped his Golf all the way from the United States just to drive to the event.

    The festivities aren’t just limited to the town of Reifnitz either, as there will be no shortage of cars to gawk at in the other town around lake Wörthersee, as you’ll see shortly.

    If you’re a big fan of Volkswagen, or if you’re looking to make a pilgrimage of the automotive nature, the Wörthersee Treffen is certainly one of the things you must do in your lifetime. For further convincing, please refer to the massive gallery we’ve curated from our time there.

  • Suzuki Nex II in Indonesia – from RM3,913 to RM4,109

    Introduced last April in the Indonesia market, pricing for the 2018 Suzuki Nex II has been released. Available in several variants, the Nex II is priced from 13.95 million rupiah (RM3,913) to 14.65 million rupiah (RM4,109).

    The price of the Nex II will seem attractive if converted directly to Malaysian Ringgit because it is designed to be a starter two-wheeler and made easy to own. The first generation Suzuki Nex was launched in Malaysia in 2012 at a price of RM4,218.

    Powered by a single-cylinder SOHC 113 cc power plant, the engine is fed by EFI and power gets to the ground via a CVT transmission. Weighing in at 113 kg, the Nex II uses a single disc brake in front and a drum at the rear, with fuel carried in a 3.6-litre tank.

    The main difference between the Nex II models offered by Suzuki in Indonesia is colour but the higher-end versions come with LED headlight, USB charging port, striped graphics on the body, meter cover and rim stripes.

  • Citroen C5 Aircross – SUV finally debuts in Europe

    More than a year after the Citroën C5 Aircross was revealed for the Chinese market, Europeans are finally getting the chance to own one as the SUV is headed for the Continent at the end of this year.

    The extroverted styling, inspired by the Aircross concept from 2015, remains of course. The dual-tier LED headlights and grille, distinctive (and protective) Airbumps along the side and prominent C-shaped chrome window surrounds. Buyers can choose from seven body colours, wheels measuring from 17 to 19 inches in diameter and three Color Packs with coloured inserts on the front bumper, Airbumps and roof bars.

    Also retained is the horizontal dashboard design with “soft and warm materials,” vertical air vents, a 12.3-inch digital instrument display and an eight-inch central touchscreen, plus a wide and tall centre console that provides the front occupants with a cocooned feel. There are also three individual sliding, reclining and folding seats, along with a boot measuring between 580 and 720 litres depending on the seat positions.

    Available features include Nappa leather upholstery, a panoramic sliding sunroof, wireless smartphone charging as well as the ConnectedCam Citroën dash cam. As for safety, Citroën claims that the C5 Aircross comes with 20 driver assistance features. These include the Highway Driver Assist that uses Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go and Active Lane Departure Warning to provide Level 2 semi-autonomous driving.

    Built on the PSA Group’s EMP2 platform, the five-seater C5 Aircross has a wheelbase spanning 2.73 metres – putting it smack in the middle between the Peugeot 3008 (2.68 metres) and the seven-seater 5008 (2.84 metres). Its 4.5-metre length also puts it between the two cars.

    The C5 Aircross is fitted with two innovations as part of the Citroën Advanced Comfort programme, including padded Advanced Comfort fabric upholstery for the seats and Progressive Hydraulic Cushions in the suspension. The latter consist of hydraulic bump stops that slow down body movement to avoid sudden jolts at the end of travel, enabling the springs and dampers to be made softer and thus, comfier.

    Attention has also been paid to soundproofing the engine bay and insulating the cabin from road and wind noise, including the incorporation of double-laminated front windows.

    Engines run the gamut of two petrols and three diesels, all of which conform to the Euro 6.2 standard. On the petrol side, there’s the 1.2 litre PureTech turbo three-cylinder with automatic start/stop (S&S), in 130 PS and 180 PS flavours. The 1.6 BlueHDI four-pot turbodiesel, meanwhile, comes with either 130 PS (with or without S&S) or 180 PS. Transmissions include a six-speed manual and an eight-speed EAT8 automatic.

    Closer to home, the C5 Aircross will arrive in locally assembled (CKD) form in Malaysia next year, following the PSA Group’s purchase of a majority stake in Naza’s assembly plant in Gurun, Kedah.

  • New Honda Fit EV – electric Jazz due for 2020 return

    The previous generation Honda Fit, which we know as the Honda Jazz, had a battery-powered variant called the Fit EV. It made its debut in 2011 with a 20 kWh battery and 122 km range (US EPA), but there hasn’t been an electric version of the third-gen GK since it debut in 2013. That might change in the near future.

    According to Nikkei Asian Review, Honda will team up with Chinese battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology to develop new batteries for use in a Fit-based EV. The “new Fit EV” is planned for launch in China by the first half of 2020.

    The business publication says that it will be an affordable electric car that will cost “slightly more than two million yen” (RM72,735). To keep prices down, the EV will use a small battery that will give it a range of around 300 km. To compare, the current second-gen Nissan Leaf‘s 40 kWh battery is good for 400 km in Japan’s cycle and 378 km in the European cycle.

    The Fit EV was launched in 2011 with a US EPA range of 122 km per charge

    The report adds that the next Fit EV will be sold in a couple of unspecified markets, besides China. Honda is aiming for sales of over 100,000 units per annum.

    Recently, Honda joined forces with fellow Japanese carmakers Toyota and Nissan, the Japanese government, and battery makers in a programme to develop solid-state batteries for EVs of the future. The programme is aimed at returning Japan to the forefront of automotive battery tech, as other countries have eroded its once dominant position in the field.

    The current Honda Jazz is available in electrified hybrid form, and Malaysia is the only market outside of Japan to get the Jazz Hybrid. It combines a 1.5 litre petrol engine, a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with integrated electric motor, and a lithium-ion battery pack.

  • The end of the ‘kopi-o’ license culture – automated system for driving tests to be introduced next year

    The transport ministry is planning to introduce an automated system for driving tests, one that will see learner drivers taking their on-road practical test on a circuit without an examiner sitting next to them. L-drivers will instead be monitored – and their driving skills evaluated – remotely from a control room via multiple cameras on the circuit.

    This automated process, which seeks to minimise human intervention and eradicate the kopi-o licence culture as well as pakej sampai lulus or ‘guaranteed to pass’ packages, could be introduced from as early as next year, The Star reports.

    Transport minister Anthony Loke said the ministry was looking at working towards full automation for road tests. He said that the Road Transport Department (JPJ) will roll out the automated system in stages, starting in a few months.

    He added that the ministry wants driving institutes to install dashboard cameras in all their test cars so that there will be proof of record of a driver’s skills. “Should an applicant fail and he believes it was because he did not pay duit kopi (under-the-counter bribe), he can appeal with evidence from the dashboard cameras,” he told reporters.

    Loke also said that the government is looking into the matter of overcharging of learning packages by driving institutes. He said that the cost of packages offered by driving schools were often far more expensive than the stipulated cost.

    He said that according to that defined by the JPJ, a B2 motorcycle licence should cost RM350, while a D manual car licence is priced at RM1,150 and an DA automatic car licence is supposed to go for RM1,250. He however observed that some driving schools collected up to RM2,200 per applicant, allegedly to ensure that the entire process of obtaining a licence progressed without a hitch.

    “Institutes can offer additional services – for example, transport to and from the institute – but these must be optional and clearly stated in an itemised bill to licence applicants. There must be no more hidden costs or I will cancel their (driving school) licences,” he stated.


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Last Updated 10 May 2018


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