Latest Stories

  • 2020 Kia Mohave – interior sketch of ladder-frame SUV

    Last week, Kia released the first images of the 2020 Mohave, and now a sketch of the interior has surfaced on the company’s Korean website. In case you haven’t heard, the massive body-on-frame three-row SUV has been given a heavy facelift, and it looks like the cabin will also receive a comprehensive makeover.

    In fact, most of the panels and switchgear appear to be brand new, despite the bodyshell being largely identical to the outgoing model. The ultra-modern dashboard, which replaces the previous car’s dated design, follows the template set by newer Kia models like the Cerato and Stinger, with horizontal air vents, a large 12.3-inch centre touchscreen (linked to the UVO infotainment system) and a tall centre console.

    There are also large swathes of wood trim, plus stitching on the dashboard and door cards. The steering wheel, meanwhile, has been lifted from the facelifted Sorento, with four spokes and a round protrusion on the square boss. The car also boasts new features such as a 12.3-inch instrument display, a head-up display, a hands-free powered tailgate and a rotary selector for the Mohave’s various on- and off-road drive modes.

    These updates round off a substantial facelift, which also includes an exterior redesign. The front end sees the fitment of a full-width “tiger nose” grille with vertical bars and integrated four-projector LED headlights, while the rear end adopts the in-vogue full-width tail light design.

    Kia has also confirmed that the Mohave will retain its 3.0 litre S2 turbodiesel V6, which makes 260 PS at 3,800 rpm and 559 Nm of torque from 1,500 to 3,000 rpm. It’s paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive and a locking differential for hardcore off-roading.

  • Chief engineer of the Toyota 86 and Supra wants to partner with Porsche to revive the MR2 – report

    Akio Toyoda, who is the current president of the Toyota Motor Corporation, has previously expressed his desire to have a new trio of sports cars known as the “Three Brothers,” just like it did in the 90s with the Supra, Celica and MR2.

    So far, Toyota has two sports cars to fulfill Toyoda’s vision, with the 86 and A90 Supra forming two thirds of the “modern Three Brothers.” The Japanese carmaker has yet to confirm if a third member is on the way, and to a further extent, there’s no word if the Celica or MR2 nameplate will be revived.

    It’s widely regarded that the revival of the Celica is represented in the modern day by the 86, and the A90 Supra is the direct successor to the A80. That just leaves the MR2, which has seen plenty of speculation over the months, with some referring to the S-FR concept, while others speak of electrification for the classic mid-engined model.

    Looking at Toyota’s recent track record, the 86 was co-developed with Subaru, while the Supra emerged from a partnership with BMW (the German brand has the Z4). Hypothetically, if Toyota had to pair up with another company for a revival of the MR2, who would it be?

    This was the exact question that Autoindustriya posed to Toyota chief engineer Tetsuya Tada, and the answer might surprise you, as the man behind the 86 and Supra, replied, “Porsche!”

    Of course, one shouldn’t take Tada’s answer as gospel, but it would be possible for Toyota to team up with Porsche for a mid-engined sports car, as Tada did say the Boxster was used as a benchmark for the Supra. Given the low-volume nature of sports cars, especially for something like a new MR2, sharing technology and costs does help lessen the burden on both parties. Production of the MR2, which spanned three generations over 23 years, ended in 2007.

    It would certainly be interesting if Toyota and Porsche partnered up for a new MR2, completing the modern Three Brothers that Toyoda is looking forward to, don’t you think? Let’s just hope that Tada is working behind the scenes to make things happen, and not just pulling our leg.


  • Targeted fuel subsidy to be announced in two weeks

    The mechanism involved in the targeted fuel subsidy for RON 95 petrol will be announced in early September, according to domestic trade and consumer affairs (KPDNHEP) minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail. He said the announcement on the matter will be made once cabinet approves the scheme, the New Straits Times reports.

    “Everything, including the implementation mechanism, will be revealed during the press conference which is expected to be held in less than two weeks, if everything goes according to schedule,” he said earlier this week.

    The fuel subsidy was initially supposed to be announced in Q1 this year, but its implementation date kept being brought forward. The government has since come up with a new plan to ensure that only those eligible for the subsidy will get it.

    During Budget 2019, finance minister Lim Guan Eng had said that the government planned to subsidise owners of vehicles and motorcycles with engine capacities below 1,500cc and 125cc respectively a subsidy rate of 30 sen per litre for RON 95 petrol. This would be capped at 100 litres per owner of a vehicle and 40 litres for those with motorcycles.

    The new scheme will no longer utilise this method, and will instead switch to cash being directly given to lower income B40 households already enlisted for the cost of living aid (BSH) scheme, similar to that being done for the current BSH programme.

    Currently, the government is subsiding RON 95 petrol for all users, capping the price of the fuel at RM2.08 a litre. It has been previously reported that the price cap on RON 95 petrol will be lifted once the targeted fuel subsidy scheme comes into effect.

  • Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia appoints Kurt Leitner as new company MD, replaces Florian Steiner

    Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia (VPCM) has announced the appointment of Kurt Leitner as its new managing director, who will work alongside the company’s other managing director, Erik Winter. In addition to his role here, Leitner will also serve as managing director of Volkswagen Group Singapore.

    Leitner replaces Florian Steiner, who has moved on to take up a new role in Europe after four years as VPCM’s managing director. He (Leitner) will focus on human resources, information technology and finance, while Winter will continue to lead VPCM’s sales, aftersales, dealer network and marketing operations.

    Leitner brings with him many years of experience, having been with Porsche Holding Salzburg – the managing company of VPCM – since 1988. Among the various management positions held by Leitner within the Porsche Holding Salzburg network include managing director at Porsche Romania for four years, general manager at Porsche Chile and PGA Ellada, as well as CEO of Porsche Finance Group Romania.

    “I am very excited to be in this part of the region, living both in Malaysia and Singapore and working with people from different cultures and backgrounds. This will be a new journey and learning experience for me and I hope to make the most of it during my time here” said Leitner.

    “Leitner is a great addition to the management team as he has an abundance of automotive retail and finance experience. Malaysia’s automotive scene is fast paced, and I believe that he will fit right in,” added Winter.

  • Mercedes-Benz Malaysia to commence export of Pekan-assembled C180 Avantgarde to Philippines

    Mercedes-Benz Malaysia (MBM) has initiated its export efforts with the rollout of the Mercedes-Benz C 180 in sole Avantgarde trim for the left-hand drive Philippines market. The first batch will be shipped this month, according to the company. The export to the Philippines is more feasible than for the market to establish its own plant, said president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Malaysia Claus Weidner.

    The C 180 for the Philippines market is powered by a 1.6 litre M274 turbocharged engine producing 156 hp and 250 Nm of torque, channeled to the rear wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission; this is similar to the pre-facelift C 180 Avantgarde for the Malaysian market (the facelifted CKD local lineup consists only of the C 200, C300 and AMG C 43), which was also locally assembled.

    Thus equipped, the C 180 Avantgarde clocks a 0-100 km/h acceleration time of 8.6 seconds. The Philippines-bound car is kitted with 17-inch wheels shod in 225/50R17 tyres and LED headlamps, while the interior receives Artico leather upholstery, aluminium trim and ambient lighting. Infotainment is courtesy of a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10.25-inch media display, with support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Active brake assist is also included.

    Exact annual export numbers for the left-hand drive C 180 that is bound for the Philippines have not been revealed, though this will be in the ballpark of ‘low three figures’, said vice president of sales and marketing at Mercedes-Benz Cars Malaysia, Michael Jopp.

    The Philippines was chosen as the first ASEAN left-hand drive market to receive MBM’s LHD export models as it is a growing segment for premium cars, according to Weidner. For now, the company is also looking to reach into additional export markets, though specific countries have not been named.

    The C 180 was chosen to be the first export to the Philippines as its relatively basic specification made it more suited to the country’s less prohibitive standards for vehicles, and the selection of a sole variant helps simplify matters on that front, Weidner added.

    GALLERY: Pre-facelift W205 Mercedes-Benz C 180 Avantgarde, Malaysian market

  • July 2019 Malaysian vehicle sales go up by 19.5%

    After a quiet June, car sales in the country picked up again last month. Data from the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) revealed that 50,853 vehicles were sold in July, 8,327 units – or 19.5% – more than the 42,526 units that were managed in June, aided by a longer working month.

    On a year-on-year basis, however, the July figures are 25.7% lower compared to the same period last year, in which 68,466 units were shifted, a difference of 17,613 units. The strong performance in July 2018 can be explained by the zero-rating of the goods and services tax (GST), which saw a dramatic spike in car sales during the three-month tax-free period.

    The year-to-date numbers of 347,187 units up to July is also slightly behind that of 358,065 units recorded in the corresponding period last year.

    The association said the outlook for August should see sales volume at the same level as it was in July. The year-on-year numbers is expected to be lower than that of August 2018, which was the last month of the “tax holiday.”

  • SPYSHOTS: 2021 Kia Optima borrows Stinger cues

    The current Kia Optima may still look fresh, but in actual fact it’s four years old now. Given the shorter lifespans of Korean cars, this means that a brand new model is on the horizon, and these spyshots show that a fifth generation of the brand’s D-segment sedan is indeed under development.

    Despite the camouflage, the mule is recognisably an Optima, sporting the striking criss-cross C-pillar design that was introduced on the third-generation TF model – and which now also appears on the Stinger. It’s a good job, then, that the flagship rear-wheel drive sports sedan has repaid the favour by lending some of its styling cues to its littler sibling.

    Nowhere is this more evident than in the front end, where it’s clear that the new Optima will look even more aggressive compared to the outgoing JF. The slim “tiger nose” grille, large centre air intake and slim BMW-style corner air inlets are reminiscent of the Stinger, and the slim headlights also look to have been separated from the grille, just like the larger model.

    Moving further back, the mirrors have been moved from the corners of the side windows to the tops of the door panels (again, just like the Stinger), while the rear end features broad tail lights and a number plate recess that now sits on the bumper. The diffuser sports fake twin tailpipes on the cars you see here.

    The next Optima will be based on the latest Hyundai Sonata and should come with the same engines, including new Smartstream 2.5 litre naturally-aspirated and 1.6 litre turbocharged petrol engines, along with the Smartstream 2.0 GDi HEV hybrid powertrain.

  • Hyundai 45 electric concept teased, Frankfurt debut

    Hyundai is bringing a new electric concept car to the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show, which will redefine the design direction for its zero-emission models. It’s called the 45, and it harks back to Hyundai’s first car, the Giugiaro-designed Pony – which incidentally is celebrating its 45th birthday next year.

    The inspiration for the show car is clear to see in the sole teaser image, with an angular design that is a stylistic departure from Hyundai’s organic Sensuous Sportiness design language. The strong stance of the car is accentuated by the triangular shape of the rear end, and the full-width light panel – which puts on a light show at startup – is a cheeky throwback to South Korea’s first motor vehicle.

    Not much else has been revealed about this car, but it will share the stage with two other world premieres for the brand, including the next-generation i10 and a new all-electric race car.

  • 2019 Perodua Axia open for booking – now with VSC & ASA, new SUV-inspired Style variant, from RM24k

    The Perodua Axia, which has been around in current facelifted form since early 2017, has been given another update, and the 2019 Perodua Axia is now open for booking. There’s plenty to talk about – from new segment-first equipment, to new variants and an SUV-inspired offshoot, plus revised pricing, so let’s start.

    The Viva-replacing Axia has been with us since September 2014, and it received a midlife facelift in January 2017. For all its life, the Axia has had two unique faces – a normal one and a sportier one for the SE and Advance. This split is no more – now, all Axia variants share the same face, with trim differences.

    The outgoing Axia range had four trim levels (E, G, SE, Advance) and two of those (G and SE) had manual or auto options (base E was MT only, top Advance was AT only). In the 2019 Axia range, Perodua has added two new variants, and deleted the manual option for the SE, which means that other than the “driving school spec” E, all Axias come with a four-speed automatic. The new range reads E, G, GXtra (new), Style (new) SE and Advance.

    There’s demand for a manual E, which is still the cheapest new car on sale in Malaysia, but little appetite for a stick shift higher up the the range, Perodua says. Like before, the 5MT and 4AT are paired with a 1.0 litre three-cylinder engine. The 1KR-VE VVT-i engine makes 67 hp and 91 Nm of torque at 4,400 rpm. Claimed FC is unchanged – 22.5 km/l for the MT and 21.6 km/l for the AT. But why is the new Style variant rated lower at 20.8 km/l? More on that later.

    We move on to equipment. Like before, all variants above the E come with ABS and EBD, but Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) makes its debut in the 2019 Axia. The active safety system, and P2’s anti-theft bag hook are available from the GXtra up. That’s very welcome, but the big news here is the introduction of the Advanced Safety Assist (ASA) 2.0 safety pack on the range topping Axia Advance.

    First seen on the Myvi and then the Aruz (in 2.0 form), P2’s ASA safety suite includes Pre-Collision Warning (PCW), Pre-Collision Braking (PCB), Front Departure Alert (FDA) and Pedal Misoperation Control (PMC), all working with the assistance of a stereo camera located at the top of the windscreen.

    First seen on the Aruz SUV, ASA 2.0 adds on pedestrian detection to the the original ASA (Myvi) set, along with improvements in working range and parameters. The operational speed of PCW is now from from four km/h to 100 km/h (was four km/h to 30 km/h), and it detects pedestrians as well (from four km/h to 50 km/h, ASA was only for vehicles).

    Should the driver not respond to the PCW’s audio visual warning by braking or steering away, PCB takes over by automatically braking the car. Known in general as autonomous emergency braking (AEB), the system provides two-stage braking intervention, first applying weak primary braking and then hard braking as a collision is imminent.

    The PCB operates from four km/h to 80 km/h for vehicles and from four km/h to 50 km/h for pedestrians. Perodua says that at speeds of up to 30 km/h (10 km/h higher than the Myvi), PCB will help prevent a crash. At medium speeds (30 to 80 km/h for vehicles, 30 to 50 km/h for pedestrians), the system would have trimmed enough speed to help lessen the impact.

    Elsewhere, FDA and PMC are as per the Myvi – FDA informs you when the car in front has departed in a traffic jam or queue by buzzing an alert, while PMC provides an override of engine output in cases where the system detects an object in front of the vehicle, within a four metre distance. It helps prevent the accidental stepping of the wrong pedal (gas instead of brakes) in parking situations.

    The model’s airbag count remains at two, and the Axia’s four-star ASEAN NCAP rating is maintained, but the addition of VSC and ASA 2.0 is a big deal in this segment.

    Away from safety kit, the G spec gets two speakers and 14-inch alloys. For many, the GXtra is where it really starts – besides the above-mentioned VSC and anti-snatch bag hook, it adds on front and rear parking sensors, driver’s seat height adjustment, electric side mirrors with auto retract, and two rear speakers (for four in total).

    As mentioned, going for the SE will no longer get you a unique face, but it’s still the “sporty” variant in the range thanks to chrome trim on the front grille, plus skirting on the front bumper and sides with red accents. Other SE-onwards equipment include safety and solar window tint, and keyless entry with push start. Like before, the top Advance is based on the SE, but it adds on ASA 2.0 and a touchscreen head unit with reverse camera.

    Lastly, the bigger surprise than VSC/ASA. It’s not often that one catches Perodua experimenting, but here’s an all-new variant that hasn’t been done before on any of its model lines. The Axia Style gets SUV-inspired looks, which brings to mind the Volkswagen CrossPolo, Hyundai i20 Active and Honda WR-V. All three examples are basically regular B-segment hatchbacks dressed up as SUVs, and they have no more off-road ability than the stock Polo, i20 and Jazz. The Axia Style is like that.

    We’ve seen the Axia Style at a private preview earlier this month, but because no photography was allowed, I’ll try my best to describe the new variant. Like those global B-segment examples, the Style wears SUV-style black plastic cladding around the lower body, with silver painted sections at the lower front and rear bumpers that mimic skid plates. Adding to the desired effect are black roof rails, although they’re merely decorative.

    The new Axia Style uses an SUV-inspired template set by the VW CrossPolo and Honda WR-V

    The Style’s front end is slightly different from the rest of the range, thanks to black carbon-textured stickers around the “mouth”, giving it a face that reminds us of the blue-coloured previous-gen Myvi SE. There’s also a unique dotted grille insert and an exclusive Style colour – orange.

    The Style also stands taller than other Axias, by 15 mm to be exact. This added height is not because of raised suspension, but only from the 15-inch alloys (an inch up) and thicker tyres combo, plus the roof rails. The result of this is slightly compromised fuel economy: 20.8 km/l vs the standard car’s 21.6 km/l.

    Inside, the Axia Style is unchanged save for unique “denim” fabric for the seats, which have a “fish scale” pattern and contrast stitching. The Style is actually not the range topper, and aside from its unique “SUV bits,” equipment count is largely similar to the GXtra, with the addition of keyless entry and push start. Perodua is expecting 20% to 25% of total Axia sales – which are skewed towards women (in contrast, most Bezza buyers are men) – to come from the Style.

    Lastly, pricing – the company has revealed the estimated on-the-road prices (without insurance) for the 2019 Perodua Axia ahead of its arrival in showrooms – and they’re a couple of thousand ringgit higher than before. Here are the estimated prices of the six variants in the Axia range:

    • Axia Standard E – RM24,090
    • Axia Standard G – RM33,490
    • Axia GXtra – RM34,990
    • Axia Style – RM38,890
    • Axia SE – RM38,890
    • Axia AV – RM43,190

    By the way, the 2019 Proton Saga is priced from RM32,800 to RM39,800, so the Axia range starts lower but tops out higher than its booted rival. Model-for-model, discounting the base and range-topping Axia models (the Saga isn’t offered in a bargain basement variant, nor does it come with autonomous emergency braking) and the Saga Standard MT (the Axia is auto-only from Standard G and up), the Perodua is slightly cheaper.

    Here is the variant breakdown so far:

    2019 Perodua Axia 1.0 Standard E – RM24,090 estimated
    Gets as standard:


    • 1.0 litre VVT-i SOHC engine
    • 998 cc naturally-aspirated three-cylinder
    • 67 hp at 6,000 rpm
    • 91 Nm at 4,400 rpm
    • Five-speed manual transmission
    • Ventilated brake discs (front), drums (rear)


    • 14-inch steel wheels


    • Four-way manual front seat adjustment


    • Dual airbags
    • Rear ISOFIX child seat anchors
    • Four-star ASEAN NCAP safety rating

    2019 Perodua Axia 1.0 Standard G – RM33,490 estimated
    Adds on:


    • Four-speed automatic transmission


    • 14-inch alloy wheels


    • Two speakers


    • ABS with EBD

    2019 Perodua Axia 1.0 GXtra – RM34,990 estimated
    Adds on:


    • Power-adjustable and folding door mirrors
    • Driver’s seat height adjustment
    • Anti-snatch hook
    • Four speakers


    • Stability control
    • Traction control

    2019 Perodua Axia 1.0 Style – RM38,890 estimated
    Adds on:


    • Unique front and rear bumpers
    • Black body cladding
    • Roof rails
    • 15-inch alloy wheels
    • Keyless entry


    • Push-button start
    • “Denim” fabric upholstery

    2019 Perodua Axia 1.0 SE – RM38,890 estimated
    Adds on:


    • Chrome grille garnish
    • Front and side skirts
    • 14-inch alloy wheels


    • Solar and security window tint

    2019 Perodua Axia 1.0 Advance – RM43,190 estimated
    Adds on:


    • Autonomous emergency warning and braking with pedestrian detection
    • Front Departure Alert
    • Pedal Misapplication Control
    • Reverse camera
  • Ford Ranger Weekend Sales Carnival from Aug to Oct

    Sime Darby AutoConnexion (SDAC) has announced it will be holding a Ford Ranger Weekend Sales Carnival, a roadshow happening at Ford showrooms across Peninsular Malaysia until October. Held over five weekends, it will showcase some of the features of the range-topping Wildtrak and Raptor variants.

    Visitors will be able to experience the Wildtrak’s semi-automated parking assist and take part in a One Finger Challenge that shows off the pick-up’s Easy Lift Tailgate. They will also be able to check out the Raptor’s hardcore Fox Racing Shox dampers using a mirror panel.

    The company is also offering various deals on the Ranger, including a chance to win an athletic bicycle for those who book any variant throughout the campaign period. Meanwhile, customers who book the Wildtrak or Raptor from now until September 30 will receive free maintenance for two years and a RM1,000 Petronas gift card. The Wildtrak variants will also be given a RM3,000 rebate during this period.

    The roadshow, which kicked off in Damansara last weekend, will take place in Klang on August 26 and 27, Petaling Jaya on September 6 and 7, Taiping on September 28 and 29 and Seri Kembangan on October 5 and 6. An East Malaysian roadshow will take place at a later date.


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Last Updated 10 Aug 2019


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