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  • Perodua Youth Training Programme sees 17 new grads

    Perodua-Youth-Training-Programme

    The Perodua Youth Training Programme (PYTP), the car company’s longest running corporate responsibility programme, recently saw its 25th convocation with 17 graduates receiving the Malaysia Skill Certificate Grade II. With it, they are recognised as assistant mechanics by the Malaysian Ministry of Human Resources.

    “The PYTP is a Perodua annual corporate responsibility programme, which is under our ’empowering youth through education’ pillar,” said Perodua president and CEO, Datuk Aminar Rashid Salleh. “We believe in sharing our success with Malaysia. We believe that knowledge and self-reliance are the best tools to empower our youths,” he added.

    Over 500 youths have graduated from the PYTP since it started in 1999. Of the 500 graduates, 397 were subsequently employed by the Rawang-based carmaker.

    The PYTP takes in SPM candidates who are more inclined towards vocational and technical learning as opposed to academic pursuits. Perodua provides lodging, food, transportation, basic medical facilities and a monthly allowance for the chosen students. This year’s PYTP included seven students under the National Higher Education Fund Corporation’s (PTPTN) Perbadanan Tabung Kemahiran (PTPK) scheme.

     
  • SPYSHOTS: 2017 Suzuki Swift Sport seen testing

    SSS-spied-1

    Following the sighting of the 2017 Suzuki Swift earlier this year, our spy photographers have spotted the go-faster variant of the upcoming hatchback, the Swift Sport undergoing hot weather testing in Europe. The first thing you might have noticed are the LED daytime running lights, set within the headlamp assembly.

    Distinguishable by a deeper front spoiler with a larger air intake up front, deeper skirts along the sides and large, twin exhaust pipes at the back, the Swift Sport is set to receive a force-fed powerplant, marking the current Swift Sport as the end of the line for the naturally-aspirated, go-faster Swift.

    Just like its regular Swift sibling, the Swift Sport appears to have its rear door handles relocated to the rear edge of the window frame, giving its rear doors a cleaner look. As before, the Swift Sport receives a larger wheel-and-tyre combo compared to the standard variant, with suspension and braking components expected to be uprated items to match the Swift Sport’s greater performance.

    SSS-spied-6

    Providing that straight-line performance is a 1.4 litre Boosterjet turbocharged engine, which produces 138 and 220 Nm of torque in its application in the Suzuki Vitara. The turbocharged unit is expected to be paired with a six-speed manual, possibly also with the option of a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

    While the standard Suzuki Swift is expected to make a Paris Motor Show debut later this year, the upcoming Swift Sport is predicted to make an official appearence midway through 2017.

     
  • 2017 Kia Rio – fourth-gen hatch set for Paris debut

    4th Gen Kia Rio Teasers-03

    The 2016 Paris Motor Show has been confirmed as the venue for the 2017 Kia Rio’s world debut, and the Korean carmaker has released a couple of official teaser renderings of the fourth-generation hatchback ahead of the September event.

    While the current B-segment hatchback‘s general form and design has been maintained (no bad thing), the new model’s straight lines and smooth surfacing give it a distinctive new character, Kia says.

    There’s a longer front overhang and bonnet, longer wheelbase, and upright C-pillar compared to the outgoing Rio UB. The result is a more confident and balanced appearance, says its maker. Not mentioned, but the U-shaped LED DRLs with brow and “triple 7” rear LED signatures are pretty cool.

    Click to enlarge

    The new Rio’s design was led by Kia’s design centres in Germany and California, in close collaboration with the company’s main design centre in Namyang, Korea. Kia promises “class-leading practicality and safety technology, the latest connectivity features, and more assured and engaging ride and handling characteristics.”

    There’s also a sketch of the new car’s dashboard, and it’s a lot more modern in appearance, with a wide swathe of trim across the dash like on the Carens. Sporty and minimalist too, with a big touchscreen HU, AC controls and a row of rocker switches the only elements on the centre stack. We like what we see so far.

    The new Rio – which takes on the Volkswagen Polo, Ford Fiesta, Renault Clio and Peugeot 208 in Europe – is a very important model for the company. In fact, it’s Kia’s global best-selling model, with more than 473,000 sold worldwide in 2015. This next-gen car will enter production towards the end of 2016 for Europe.

    Also fresh are the spyshots below. The few details visible under the camouflage match those on the sketches.

    GALLERY: 2017 Kia Rio spyshots

     
  • 2017 Ducati Scrambler to get 1,100 cc enduro model?

    Ducati_Scrambler_49

    Reports and pictures have emerged on the internet of an enduro-styled version of the Ducati Scrambler, a retro-styled naked sports motorcycles. The new Scrambler, spotted testing in an undisclosed location, is said to sport a 1,078 cc air-cooled twin.

    Scuttlebutt earlier in the year had said the possibility of an 1,100 cc Scrambler was strong, based on the Desmodue V-twin last seen in the Ducati Monster Evo. This was according to Ducati project manager Frederico Sabbioni, who hinted that any Scrambler would stay true to the bike’s design philosophy of a two-valve, air-cooled engine.

    1-76 DUCATI SCRAMBLER

    It was seen from pictures that the new “super-sized” Scrambler was sporting taller upside-down forks, perhaps to give the “Scrambler 1100 Enduro”, as foreign press are calling it, more off-road capability. Also spotted was a spoked front wheel that looked decidedly larger than the current 18-incher on the Scrambler.

    Assuming that the front wheel is a 19- or 21-incher, that would certainly give the Scrambler 1100 greater confidence in handling rough terrain off the beaten track. An 1,100 cc Scrambler would also be a logical progression of the Scrambler range, based on Ducati’s previous success in the evolution of the Monster series.

    6-44 DUCATI SCRAMBLER

    This could mark a new direction for Ducati, with the 2016 launch of the very capable Multistrada 1200, as a company that is looking at both the road and off-road markets, especially in the long-distance category.

    The 2016 Ducati Scrambler is available in Malaysia in two flavours. The 803 cc Full Throttle, Urban Enduro and Classic models at RM69,999 and the Icon at RM63,999, while the 399 cc Scrambler Sixty2 retails at RM52,999. All prices include GST.

     
  • Airbus working on CityAirbus flying car to beat jams

    RallyMexico01

    The idea of flying cars – no, not the rallying kind – have been bandied about for a long time, and now, passenger aircraft company Airbus is looking at a more localised need where aviation appears to come in handy: congestion in cities. Airbus calls it Project Vahana, “an autonomous flying vehicle platform for individual passenger and cargo transport,” and so far the company’s studies have concluded that the autonomous flight programme is feasible.

    In other words, Airbus is working on a flying car. Most will undoubtedly be asking the same thing: can these unmanned drones operate safely?

    “If we really want to resolve this fundamental question, we have to demonstrate the system under real conditions. This view is shared by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore,” said Bruno Trabel of Airbus Helicopters, explaining why Singapore was chosen as the location for demonstrating the flight systems.

    Despite there being no legal precedents allowing flights of unmanned aircraft over populated areas, Airbus is going ahead with the testing of drones over the National University of Singapore (NUS) in mid-2017, having signed a memorandum of understanding allowing Airbus Helicopters to test a drone parcel delivery service over the campus grounds.

    UrbanMobility_pic5_medium.2016-06-28-16-34-45

    The CityAirbus, in principle, would be made affordable by sharing. Airbus says that a flight would cost each passenger the equivalent of a normal taxi ride, albeit one that is faster, more environmentally sustainable and exciting. “A taxi ride through a new city is a nice experience as it is, but flying over that city would be much more thrilling,” said Marius Bebesel, head of helicopter demonstrators at Airbus Helicopters.

    Working with experts from strategy, engineering and finance teams from al over Airbus, Jörg Müller from the Airbus Group’s corporate development department discovered a big opportunity for the Airbus Group. “When looking at the transport needs of business travellers to and from airports or between business districts, you quickly realise that the potential demand corresponds to about 100 times the yearly production of Airbus Helicopters. And that this would only require replacing one out of a hundred ground taxis,” Müller said.

    In practice, the benefits are tangible. Airbus illustrates the long-haul passenger as an example: after a flight on a commercial passenger aircraft, he or she can get on board an aerially operated vehicle in in nine minutes, compared to a taxi ride which might otherwise consume 90 minutes in gridlocked traffic.

    Flying taxis might sound like science fiction, however the Airbus Group believes that the vision is already taking shape. “I’m no big fan of Star Wars, but it’s not crazy to imagine that one day our big cities will have flying cars making their way along roads in the sky. In a not too distant future, we’ll use our smartphones to book a fully automated flying taxi that will land outside our front door – without any pilot,” said Tom Enders, Airbus Group CEO.

     
  • New Proton Persona 5-star ASEAN NCAP body cutout

    Proton_Persona_Cutout-15

    At the launch of the 2016 Proton Persona yesterday, the national carmaker put extra emphasis on the new model’s safety credentials, highlighting the aspect repeatedly. Proton also displayed a cutout of the new B-segment sedan outside the launch hall, and here’s a gallery of it.

    UPDATE: The cutout is now at the Proton showroom in Mutiara Damansara, should you want to have a closer look

    The cutout served to highlight the body structure of the new Persona, which utilises hot press formed (HPF) steel, a process that was first used on the Preve. The heating and subsequent rapid cooling results in high tensile steel, enabling Proton to build stronger, yet lighter cars – this Iriz-based Persona is around 20 kg lighter than the old one, despite having a stronger and safer body.

    ASEAN NCAP has awarded five stars to the new Persona, applicable to all variants – Standard, Executive and Premium. In the Adult Occupant Protection test, the Persona is rated at 14.07 points out of a possible 16. In the Child Occupant Protection test, it’s 82% compliance. These are the exact scores obtained by the Iriz (see result sheet below) – the safety body did not crash test the Persona as it’s deemed a variant of the five-door hatchback.

    “Although the Persona is an extended rating, ASEAN NCAP had verified the results by examining the crash data from the development test by Proton at MIROS PC3 and comparing it with Iriz’s crash data,” said ASEAN NCAP chairman Prof Dr Wong Shaw Voon.

    All variants of the Persona come with ABS (with EBD and brake assist), electronic stability control (ESC), hill-hold assist and Isofix child seat anchors (with top tether). The airbag count stands at six for the Premium and two for the Executive and Standard.

    Proton has also released a video to underline the strength of its HPF steel. The clip, which is embedded above, features our bomba boys and their tools – including a sledgehammer, grinder and the jaws of life – versus two kinds of steel, regular and HPF.

    For more on the new 2016 Proton Persona, check out our walk-around video tour, full launch report and preview test drive report.


     
  • Mercedes-Benz C350e plug-in hybrid in M’sia soon – Airmatic, 0-100 km/h 5.9 sec, 2.1 l/100 km, RM299k est

    Mercedes-Benz C 350 e 2

    Mercedes-Benz Malaysia has previewed its plug-in hybrid sedan, the Mercedes-Benz C 350 e, ahead of its launch in between four and six weeks’ time – with deliveries starting end-October or early November. Likely a response to the BMW 330e (which will be launched this weekend), today’s reveal showed that the car will not be positioned as a like-for-like rival, but more as a higher-priced, value-added alternative.

    Unlike the BMW, which is expected to retail between RM240k and RM260k, the C 350 e will carry an indicative pricing of RM299,000. This positioning will put it slightly under the RM307,888 C 300, which it will replace in the local C-Class lineup. A wallbox charger will be offered as an option, priced at around RM7,200.

    Propulsion will come from the ubiquitous 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine in a similar tune to the C 250, making 211 hp and 350 Nm of torque. Providing additional power is an 80 hp/340 Nm electric motor sandwiched between the engine and the 7G-Tronic Plus seven-speed automatic transmission, resulting in a total system output of 279 hp and 600 Nm.

    Mercedes-Benz C 350 e 3

    As a result, the C 350 e will go from 0-100 km/h in just 5.9 seconds, while combined fuel consumption is rated at 2.1 litres per 100 km on the European NEDC cycle. The car has an all-electric range of 31 km, with a maximum speed of 130 km/h in this mode. Carbon dioxide emissions sit at just 48 grammes per kilometre.

    The electric motor is juiced by a 6.2 kWh high-voltage water-cooled lithium-ion battery fitted at the rear of the car, resulting in a stepped boot floor and reduced luggage space from 475 litres to 335 litres. Charging time is around 1 hour 45 minutes through the wallbox or around two hours using a standard 230 V domestic socket. The charging port is located under the right tail light.

    The car shown here is a pre-production car from Thailand, in Exclusive trim – local-spec cars will receive the full AMG Line kit with aggressive front and rear bumpers and deeper side skirts, as well as the same 19-inch AMG multi-spoke alloy wheels as the C 300. The cabin will also receive the AMG interior design, including an AMG flat-bottomed multifunction steering wheel.

    Most of the kit will be identical to the C 300, including a panoramic sliding sunroof, the 590 W, 13-speaker Burmester surround sound system and Thermotronic three-zone automatic climate control. Additional kit will include Airmatic air suspension, a 360-degree camera system and a climate pre-conditioning system that will allow you to programme the climate control to turn on at a preset time.

    Here are the specifications of the C 350 e in detail:

    • Indicative pricing of RM299,000 (C 300 was RM307,888)
    • 2.0 litre direct-injection, turbocharged engine
    • 211 hp and 350 Nm of torque (C 250 power level)
    • 80 hp and 340 Nm electric motor
    • Total system output of 279 hp and 600 Nm
    • 0-100 km/h in 5.9 seconds
    • 2.1 l/100 km on the NEDC cycle
    • All-electric range of 31 km, up to 130 km/h
    • 6.2 kWh high-voltage water-cooled lithium-ion battery
    • 2.0 hours charging time with 230 V domestic socket
    • 1 hour 45 minutes with optional wallbox (around RM7,200)
    • 335 litre boot (down from 475 litres in non-hybrid form)
    • Airmatic adjustable air suspension
    • 360-degree Surround View camera
    • Climate pre-conditioning system
    • Rest as per C 300 AMG Line:

    • AMG Line package with 19-inch multi-spoke wheels
    • Open-pore Black Ash wood interior trim
    • Artico faux leather seats, dashboard and door cards
    • COMAND Online
    • 13-speaker, 590 W Burmester sound system
    • Thermotronic three-zone automatic climate control

    We’ve driven the Mercedes-Benz C 350 e in San Francisco – read the review here.

     
  • Malaysia July 2016 vehicle sales data by brand – overall down 26%, but Volvo up 109%, Porsche 422%!

    Perodua_Bezza_GearUp_Fullcar-3

    Sales figures by brand for the month of July 2016 have been released by the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA), and the overall trend has been of a decline to the tune of 26.5%.

    Perodua, top as usual, posted sales of 15,121 units in July compared to 20,044 units in June, a reduction of 4,923 units or 24.6%. Proton, meanwhile, takes fourth overall (behind Honda and Toyota) with a dip of 44.5% with a July sales figure of 3,866 units, down 44.5% compared to June. Toyota is up to third, selling 5,028 units in July (-26.1% compared to June). Honda, in second, took a smaller hit, selling 7,827 units (-15.4%).

    Mazda posted a reduction of 47% – only 686 units were sold in July compared to 1,295 units sold in June, and Ford followed closely with drop of 46.7%, with 495 units sold in July compared to 928 units sold in June. German brand Volkswagen recorded a dip of 49.2%, making sales of 234 units in July compared to 461 units in the preceding month.

    W205_Mercedes-Benz_C-Class_vs_F30_BMW_3_Series_ 026

    The premium sector recorded drops as well, with Mercedes charting 940 units for July compared to 1,234 units in June, BMW posting July sales of 689 units compared to 760 units in June, and Audi selling 51 units in July compared to 55 units the month before.

    Growth was recorded as a minority occurrence for July; Subaru posted a growth of 21.4% with 591 units sold compared to 487 in the month before, while Volvo increased its sales for July by 109% to 71 units from 34 units in June. Porsche took the biggest leap forward in July with 47 vehicles sold, compared to 9 units in June, making a 422% growth figure.

    Click on the image below for an enlarged version.

    July-2016-Malaysian-car-sales

     
  • New Tesla Model S P100D with 100 kWh battery is the ‘quickest production car in the world’ – 0-60 in 2.5s

    Tesla-Model-S-P100D

    The Tesla Model S P90D was already a really quick beast, and now the electric automaker has gone one further with a 100 kWh battery pack for the Model S, coming together as the new Tesla Model S P100D. The enlarged-capacity battery pack boosts the Model S’ 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) sprint performance, shortening the elapsed time to 2.5 seconds from the P90D’s 2.7s.

    On those figures, the automaker claims that the Model S P100D (only available in dual-motor AWD layout, with Ludicrous mode) is the world’s quickest-accelerating vehicle currently on sale, as it says cars such as the Porsche 918 Spyder and Ferrari LaFerrari are already sold out of their limited production runs.

    More usefully, the new 100 kWh battery pack increases range on the Model S to 613 km in the NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) cycle, or 507 km under the EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency) test, making it the the first EV to go beyond 300 miles (482 km) and the longest range production EV by far, Tesla says.

    2016-tesla-model-s-facelift

    The improved battery pack is also available on the seven-seater Model X SUV, which boosts the 0-96 km/h sprint time to 2.9 seconds. With the 100 kWh battery, the Model X has a range of 542 km (NEDC), or 462 km according to the EPA. Of course, both have access to the Tesla Supercharger network and will get free over the air upgrades.

    Inside, Tesla says that the Premium seats already in its Model X SUV is now also in the Model S; not just for the range-topping P100D, but also for the P90 and the P90D. Badge aside, the P100D looks identical to other facelifted Model S variants. It starts from $134,500 (RM542,763) while the Model X P100D starts from $135,500 (RM546,799).

    Tesla-Model-x-14

    There’s an upgrade path, too, for owners who have already ordered a P90D with Ludicrous Mode. Those with a car on order can step up to the 100 kWh battery for $10,000 (RM40,356), while those who have already taken delivery of their P90D Ludicrious will have to pay $20,000 (RM80,708) for the swap.

    P100D customers will also be helping others, doing charity. “While the P100D Ludicrous is obviously an expensive vehicle, we want to emphasise that every sale helps pay for the smaller and much more affordable Tesla Model 3 that is in development. Without customers willing to buy the expensive Model S and X, we would be unable to fund the smaller, more affordable Model 3 development,” Elon Musk’s company said.

    Read our review of the Tesla Model S.


    GALLERY: Current Tesla Model S in Malaysia

     
  • 2017 Volkswagen CC – images of second-gen leaked

    2017 VW CC leaked 1

    Here’s what appears to be official images of the upcoming second-generation Volkswagen CC, courtesy of Autoblog.nl.

    A more stylish four-door coupe sister to the Passat sedan, the CC (previously known as Passat CC) was quite a hit in Malaysia a couple of years ago. The same recipe is being used for this new model, with a coupe roofline that’s more sloping than before. Even the new wheels have the familiar turbine design. Word is that the CC will morph from a sedan into a hatchback. Looks a lot like an Audi A5 Sportback too.

    The next-gen CC was never in doubt – VW previewed the car with the Sport Coupe Concept GTE at Geneva 2015, and we recently saw spyshots of the car testing in Europe. The car seen here is clearly influenced by the Geneva showcar, especially at the front end with that wide grille, but things have been toned down slightly for production, if what we’re looking at is finalised. Also the same are the headlamp design and garnish that connects the front doors and wings.

    2017 VW CC leaked 2

    The new CC will ride on the same underpinnings and MQB platform as the Passat B8, and it should adopt the same powertrain options as well. Besides the usual TDI and TSI motors, there’s also a 215 hp/400 Nm Passat GTE plug-in hybrid variant, so the CC might get PHEV tech this time around. The Sport Coupe Concept GTE combined a V6 TSI engine and two electric motors for 380 hp, good for 0-100 km/h in 5.2 seconds.

    The next VW CC is set to surface next year. Autocar reports that Wolfsburg is contemplating changing the CC name for a more striking moniker.


    GALLERY: Next-gen Volkswagen CC spyshots


    GALLERY: Volkswagen Sport Coupe Concept GTE

     
 

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