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  • 2021 Suzuki Gixxer 250 and Gixxer SF250 in Vietnam

    2021 Suzuki Gixxer SF250

    While hinted at appearing in Malaysia in the near future, the 2021 Suzuki Gixxer 250 and Gixxer SF250 have been launched in Vietnam. This is a first for Malaysia’s ASEAN neighbour as this is the first time Suzuki is launching a 250 cc motorcycle in that market.

    Both the Gixxer 250 and Gixxer SF250 are mechanically similar with the Gixxer 250 being a naked sports while the Gixxer SF250 is a sportsbike with full fairing. As per standard styling dynamics, the Gixxer 250 comes with taller handlebars with the Gixxer SF250 has semi-raised clip-ons.

    Aside from the bodywork, or lack thereof, both quarter-litre Suzukis carry the same power plant, a SOHC, liquid-cooled single-cylinder displacing 249 cc. Power is claimed to be 26 hp at 9,000 rpm while 22.6 Nm of torque comes in at 7,500 rpm.

    2021 Suzuki Gixxer 250

    LED lighting is used on both the Gixxer 250 and Gixxer SF250 while an LCD instrument panel displays all the necessary information, including a gear indicator. The Gixxer is stopped with single hydraulic discs front and rear, and two-channel ABS is standard equipment.

    Suspension is done with conventional telescopic forks in front and a monshock at the back, adjustable for preload an the Gixxer 250 and SF250 rolls on 17-inch wheels shod with 110/70 front and 150/60 rear tyre. Seat height is set at 800 mm, while the fuel tank holds 12-litres.

  • Jaguar Land Rover Malaysia consolidates operations; new Range Rover, Jaguar I-Pace EV SUV coming soon

    Jaguar Land Rover Malaysia will consolidate its retail business operations in Malaysia to become the sole importer and dealer for the two British brands in the country, the company has announced in a statement.

    This will see the transfer of assets and staff from existing operations, Sime Darby Auto Connexion and Sisma Auto to the central business operations for both Jaguar and Land Rover brands at the joint dealership in Ara Damansara, Selangor, where it is the largest Jaguar Land Rover 4S facility in Southeast Asia.

    Jaguar Land Rover Malaysia will continue to run its northern region retail operations in Penang, on Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah. Meanwhile, the 167,586 sq ft flagship facility is home to both new and approved pre-owned vehicles from both brands for a broader selection under one roof.

    The Land Rover Defender 90 is set to arrive in Malaysia, as well as the soon-to-debut, all-new Range Rover and the fully electric Jaguar I-Pace

    “This consolidation will be a positive move towards better operational efficiency with elevated levels of premium services, which will help drive long-term growth for the company,” said Jaguar Land Rover Malaysia managing director Syed Ahmad Muzri Syed Faiz. The company plans to invest more in technology and will increase digitalisation over the next few years to improve its service capacity, it added.

    Aftersales support for both brands will receive continued investment from Jaguar Land Rover Malaysia, including to increase the number of master Level 4 technicians as well as electric vehicle technology-certified technicians, while sales and service advisors will similarly be trained for customer confidence, said the company.

    There are also a string of new arrivals to join the Jaguar Land Rover Malaysia product line-up “in the near future”, the company’s statement read. These will include the refreshed F-Pace SUV and XF sedan, the short-wheelbase Land Rover Defender 90 (to arrive next year), the I-Pace electric SUV as well as the soon-to-debut, fifth-generation Range Rover.


  • Valentino Rossi bids farewell to MotoGP – grazie Vale!

    An end of an era in MotoGP as Valentino Rossi, arguably the single person most responsible for making MotoGP and motorcycle racing in general a mainstream sport, made a final appearance in front of Italian race fans. Perhaps this is not quite accurate, as Rossi will still be involved in racing motorcycles through his VR46 academy and his race teams in Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP.

    In way of homage an gratitude, Sky VR46 Avintia and Sky Racing Team VR46 showed a farewell livery on its race bikes draped in the Doctor’s trademark fluorescent yellow. In the MotoGP race, Rossi crossed the finish line in tenth place with two races left in the 2021 MotoGP season – Portugal and Valencia.

    In a MotoGP career spanning 21 years from 2000 to 2021, Rossi started racing in the big leagues with his first appearance in the 125 cc Motorcycle Grand Prix class, riding an Aprilia RS125 for Scuderia AGV Aprilia and finishing ninth in the season. The following year, Rossi won the 125 cc championship with Nastro Azzuro Aprilia before moving up to the 250 cc class the following year.

    Now riding an Aprilia RS250, Rossi finished second in his debut 250 cc year, before winning the championship next year, in 1999. Moving up to the premier class, at the time still on 500 cc two-stroke race machines, Rossi rode a Honda NSR500 for Nastro Azzuro Honda, winning the last ever 500 cc Grand Prix championship in 2001.

    The following year, with the move to four-strokes, Rossi moved to Repsol Honda Team, a move that caused controversy amongst Italian race fans who were not particularly pleased to see their favourite riding for a Spanish team. Handing two world championships to Honda, back-to back, Rossi then began his riding partnership with Yamaha, winning the next two championships and extending his unbroken winning streak to five.

    A two-year lull followed, before Rossi returned with back-to-back championship wins, again, in 2008 and 2009 with Fiat Yamaha Team. A decline in Rossi’s racing fortunes followed, before he showed again strongly with three second place championship finishes in a row from 2014 to 2016 and a third place in 2018.

    While Rossi has remained fairly tight lipped about his plans after the 2021 MotoGP season, it is reasonably expected that he will be involved with top flight motorcycle racing in one form or another, as hinted at during his retirement announcement in July of this year. In the meantime, motorcycle race fans are wishing Rossi a big “thank you” for his two decades and a bit in MotoGP.

  • Auto Bavaria building RM120m BMW 4S dealership in Balakong – new centre will open doors in Q1 2023

    Auto Bavaria has broke ground on its new BMW 4S dealership in Balakong, which is set to open its doors in Q1 2023. The RM120 million 243,342 sq.ft. facility sits along the Silk Highway and will be designed with the latest BMW Retail NEXT concept.

    The Balakong 4S centre will be equipped with an extensive after-sales facility with a total of 30 productive bays, a body and paint centre, as well as BMW Premium Selection outlet for pre-owned cars.

    “As the Klang Valley develops and expands, we at BMW Group Malaysia have identified Balakong, Serdang, Cheras and its surrounding areas as new potentials where we are able to serve our customers better. It is only natural that we awarded Auto Bavaria the responsibility of representing us in the area. Auto Bavaria has been a valuable dealer partner for us here in Malaysia and they are also our premium partner in helping us achieve our ambitions in the country,” said Hans de Visser, MD of BMW Group Malaysia.

    “At Auto Bavaria, we are committed to making the premium ownership experience and brand promise of the BMW Group extend beyond the point of purchase. In benchmarking ourselves against the best BMW dealers in the world, we will continue to invest in new premises, services and talent through human resource re-engineering and re-training programmes for our talent force,” added Vi Thim Juan, MD of Auto Bavaria.

    At present, BMW customers and enthusiasts in the vicinity can head to the showroom located along Jalan Tengah, Cheras Selatan 118. The two-storey 3,600 sq.ft. facility has a three-vehicle showroom and customer lounge.

    Sime Darby-owned Auto Bavaria is the largest dealer group for the BMW brand in Malaysia, with more than 30 years of experience and six dealerships in the country.

  • AD: Grow your investments with Bank Islam’s Al-Awfar and win cash, cars, prizes worth over RM15m a year

    Fancy a chance in a perpetual lucky draw offering over RM15 million in cash and prizes yearly? That’s exactly what Bank Islam’s Al-Awfar investment account offers, and there are monthly, quarterly and half yearly special draws.

    Prizes for half yearly special draws include a Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Mazda CX-5, holiday or umrah packages and smartphones. Quarterly draws dangle a cash prize of RM1 million, and Al-Awfar Junior category customers aged 18 and below stand the chance to take home Apple products and consolation cash prizes. Al-Awfar customers also have the opportunity to win cash prizes through monthly draws.

    The more you deposit, the higher your chances of winning. The Al-Awfar Elite campaign that runs from now till December 31 multiplies your chances of winning in Al-Awfar draws. Deposit an additional RM10,000 to RM49,000.99 for 5x extra chances, and RM50,000 to RM99,000.99 for 7x extra chances. Deposits of above RM100,000 get their entries multiplied by 10x. Entries are based on the average balance in the Al-Awfar account.

    Customers who deposit RM200,000 and above will be entitled to the Bank Islam Sapphire Debit Card. More than just a debit card, the premium offering comes with exclusive benefits such as access to Plaza Premium Lounge at up to 14 airports in Malaysia and Singapore.

    In addition, Bank Islam’s Jom Pindah Gaji monthly campaign offers a total of RM100,000 to 13 winners every month. Customers only need to switch their salary account to Bank Islam. This campaign is open to public sector employees and all government agencies.

    Since its inception, the Al-Awfar Million draw alone has created 34 millionaires, with RM38 million in prize money disbursed. Meanwhile, the Al-Awfar monthly draw has given away 14,919 prizes worth over RM25 million over the years, while the special draws for 13 states have awarded a total of 11,860 winners with over RM12 million in cash.

    Want to have your share of the prizes? Al-Awfar by Bank Islam is open to all individuals, business entities, associations, religious bodies, schools, universities, clubs and organisations – all Malaysians are welcome. You’ll even get free Group Personal Accident (GPA) coverage if you sign up from now till December 31, 2021. More info on the Al-Awfar draws and prizes here.

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  • South Korea’s ENPlus to invest USD98.6 million in the Philippines to manufacture EVs, including e-jeepneys

    South Korean firm ENPlus has confirmed that it will invest five billion Philippine pesos (around USD98.6 million or RM408.9 million) to set up an electric vehicle manufacturing facility in the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) economic zone.

    This comes after PEZA director general Charito B. Plaza signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with ENPlus CEO and chairman Young Yong Ahn for joint ventures to provide and manufacture fuel-saving EVs, which include electric jeepneys.

    “ENPlus will be our first electric vehicle manufacturer to be registered under PEZA where they can avail special incentives for pioneering projects,” said Plaza. “ENPlus will invest PHP five billion to manufacture and operate facilities of electric cars and electric jeepneys in the municipality of Pulupandan (Port of Pulupandan) which is situated in Negros Occidental,” she added.

    PEZA will also provide a 30-hectare plot of land to link prospect industries to ENPlus for joint investment ventures and other related agreements for eligible projects.

    ENPlus’ primary business involves making fire-fighting vehicles and equipment, but it recently began expanding into EVs, prompting their decision to invest in the Philippines, reports Autoindustriya. Besides fire-fighting products, the company also develops and builds other special purpose vehicles, which will likely be beneficial when making e-jeepneys.

    “ENPlus really appreciates partnering with PEZA in supplying electric vehicles,” commented Young. “We are also thankful to the Philippines for [allowing us] to supply more than 100 units of pump trucks, water trunks, aerial ladder and rescue trucks last year in the country,” he added.

    “We’d like to make a better world and provide more fire trucks and electric vehicles to the Philippines. With this, we would like to expand our business in your country to manufacture environment and energy-friendly vehicles starting with your jeepneys since they are the most popular mode of transportation in your country,” he ended.

    ENPlus’ decision to invest in the Philippines is certainly encouraging as the country aims to become a hub for electric vehicles in the ASEAN region. The local House of Representatives recently passed House Bill 10213 (Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act) that is aimed at supporting the development of a national policy and regulatory framework to increase the uptake of EVs in the country.

  • Hyundai Staria Malaysia launch happening on Oct 27

    The Hyundai Staria will be launched in Malaysia tomorrow, October 27. Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors (HSDM) announced the date via teasers on its Facebook page, accompanied by graphics saying “A class of its own” and “Drive the future”.

    Order books for the futuristically designed MPV opened last week. We will be getting the Staria with seven seats and a 2.2 litre turbodiesel with 177 PS and 431 Nm of torque. The CRDi is mated to an eight-speed conventional automatic transmission sending drive to the front wheels. The van it replaces – the long-serving Starex – is rear-wheel drive.

    If the design of the Staria is galaxies apart from the Starex, so will be its positioning, and price. We’re getting the Premium variant, a seven-seater with individual Premium Relaxation Seats in the middle row. These two business class-style chairs can slide fore and aft and come with a one-touch relaxation mode that reclines the seat electrically and extends the ottoman.

    Click to enlarge

    The interior is so big that even with the VIP seats reclined, Hyundai says that there’s enough room for adults to sit in the third row. The Premium also comes with luxuries like 64-colour ambient lighting and a Bose sound system. Hyundai’s latest SmartSense ADAS suite should be present too.

    How big is the Staria exactly? Well, the Starex is one of the largest common vehicles on our roads, and the Staria – at 5,253 mm long, 1,997 mm wide and 1,990 mm tall – is 103 mm longer, 77 mm wider and 55 mm taller still. Its 3,273 mm wheelbase is 73 mm longer than the old van. The Staria is also much bigger than the Toyota Alphard/Vellfire, and will surely stand out at the lobby with its spaceship design.

    One important point is that the Staria is a more sophisticated MPV that the Starex, thanks to unibody construction and multi-link rear suspension. It also has revamped dampers and brakes, and Hyundai promises for a more comfortable ride. The Staria’s smooth head and streamlined body also improves aerodynamic efficiency.

    The Staria was launched in Thailand in July for the equivalent of RM256,800 for the highest spec SEL 11-seater. But we’re getting the top Premium with the fancy chairs and luxury goodies, so expect this jaw-dropping MPV to have a higher price tag, one that could be in excess of RM350k. CBU South Korea, of course. The Vellfire 2.5L from UMW Toyota Motor is priced at RM367,881 with SST exemption, by the way.

    Like big cars but prefer SUVs? The very busy Hyundai local distributor is also readying the Palisade for our market. The Palisade is Hyundai’s flagship full-size SUV that seats up to eight, and is powered by a 3.8 litre V6 engine. HSDM said earlier this year that the Palisade will arrive in 2021, and we spotted the SUV locally yesterday – check it out here.

    What do you think of the Staria as a luxury Alphard/Vellfire alternative?

    GALLERY: Hyundai Staria

  • Toyota Vios Hybrid coming soon with Rocky/Ativa e:smart Hybrid system; to match Honda City e:HEV?

    Toyota will be growing its range of electrified models even further, Autoindustriya reports, and this has been reported to be in the works as an e:Smart Hybrid electrified drivetrain to be introduced in a range of models.

    One such model that has been confirmed is the Daihatsu Rocky e:Smart Hybrid that has been confirmed to go on sale in Japan in November. Selected Toyota models will also be getting the e:Smart Hybrid electrified drivetrain, and sources have told Autoindustriya that Toyota intends to use the e:Smart Hybrid system in the Vios and Avanza.

    This opens up the likelihood for its adoption in the following generations of the B-segment sedan and MPV, where a Atkinson-cycle version (denoted in an illustration as WA-VEX) of the WA-VE 1.2 litre, three-cylinder naturally aspirated petrol engine is expected to serve internal combustion duty in combination with an electric drive motor of unspecified output.

    The base WA-VE engine in the Rocky produces 86 PS at 6,000 rpm and 105 Nm at 4,200 rpm. By comparison, the Perodua Ativa – sister car to the Rocky – packs a 1KR-VET 1.0 litre turbocharged three-cylinder rated to produce 98 PS at 6,000 rpm and 140 Nm of torque from 2,400 rpm to 4,000 rpm.

    A Vios with e:Smart propulsion brings it into the electrified B-segment sedan category, which would place it in the ballpark of the Honda City e:HEV, which pairs a 98PS/127 Nm 1.5 litre Atkinson-cycle engine with an integrated motor, while a second, larger motor rated at 108 PS and 253 Nm sends drive to the wheels.

    The Rocky e:Smart Hybrid has also been reported to feature one-pedal operation to handle both acceleration and deceleration, such as how the Nissan e-Pedal works. Additionally, insider information received by Autoindustriya has indicated that Toyota is also working on hybrid drive systems for larger models such as the Hilux, Fortuner and Innova, according to the report.

    Electrified versions of the Vios and Avanza would be in line with Malaysian Toyota distributor UMW Toyota Motor’s hybrid-driven aspirations of vehicle electrification, which has been confirmed to kick off with the local market arrival of the Corolla Cross Hybrid. What’s your take, dear readers – would your shopping list include a Vios Hybrid?

  • 2022 Honda HR-V to launch in Thailand in early Nov

    The third-generation Honda HR-V was first revealed in February this year and has since gone on sale in markets like Japan and Europe. Before 2021 comes to a close, the B-segment crossover will reportedly make its launch debut in Thailand in early November, according to Headlightmag.

    Honda Thailand has yet to provide an official launch date, but in the past weeks, camouflaged units of the latest HR-V have been sighted in the country. This, along with claims that sales personnel are being trained with the new model, are deemed as signs that a launch will take place within the mentioned timeframe.

    A November introduction would be timely, as the model can then be put on display at the Thailand International Motor Expo, with the 38th edition of the show set to take place in early December. A launch at the event is also another possibility, although this wasn’t mentioned in the source report.

    In Japan, the HR-V (known as the Vezel there) is offered with two powertrains, with the first being a 1.5 litre naturally-aspirated i-VTEC petrol engine that provides 118 PS and 142 Nm of torque. The mill is paired with a CVT, with front- and all-wheel drive available.

    The other option is the e:HEV hybrid, which features a front electric motor rated at 131 PS and 253 Nm. A 1.5 litre Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder petrol engine (106 PS and 127 Nm) acts as a generator with the help of an integrated electric motor, juicing up a lithium-ion battery that powers the propulsion motor – all-wheel drive is an option too.

    There are three interchangeable drive modes, automatically selected for the situation. From a rest, the HR-V pulls off in electric mode, seamlessly changing to hybrid mode when the engine is under high-torque demand, with the petrol engine going solo using a lock-up clutch when driving at higher, more constant speeds.

    Both powertrains could be offered with the Thailand-market HR-V to help bolster the local hybrid line-up that currently includes the Accord, City Hatchback and City. Other details like equipment and available trim levels will only be known when the crossover is launched.

    The second-generation HR-V still on sale comes in three variants, with prices starting at 949,000 baht (RM119,034) and peaking at 1.119 million baht (RM140,358). While Thailand will reportedly welcome the new HR-V soon, it’ll likely take a bit longer for us here in Malaysia, as Honda Malaysia is currently focused on introducing the City Hatchback.

    GALLERY: 2022 Honda HR-V (Europe market)

  • 2021 MV Agusta Superveloce Ago Limited Edition

    Honouring Italian racing legend Giacomo Agostini, MV Agusta has released the limited edition 2021 MV Agusta Superveloce Ago, based on the MV Agusta Superveloce 800 first released in 2020. To be produced in a limited run of only 311 units, signifying Agostini’s 311 race victories, the first 15 units of the Superveloce Ago will come with a unique plate commemorating his 15 world titles.

    Every Superveloce Ago also comes with a race kit that contains a custom built Arrow exhaust mimicking the look of the exhaust pipes of racing motorcycles of five decades ago. The triple exhaust, with two pipes exiting on the right of the Superveloce Ago and one on the left, is finished in black and is road legal for use in Europe.

    Also included in the race kit is a dedicated ECU with race map, edition series bike cover, fuel cap with limited edition carbon plate, leather tank strap, pillion seat cover, red hand grips and MV Agusta certificate of authenticity. As a special touch, the first 15 units of the Superveloce Ago will also feature Agostini’s signature on the tank, further making that edition particularly collectible.

    Paintwork on the Superveloce Ago copies the Agostini’s racing MV Agusta of the 1960s, finished in scarlet topside and silver body panels. A bold yellow roundel with the number ‘1’ adorns the side of the Sueprveloce Ago, marking Agostini’s championship wins across the 350 and 500 Motorcycle Grand Prix racing classes.

    The Superveloce Ago is powered by MV Agusta’s three-cylinder, liquid-cooled, 12-valve, DOHC mill with titanium intake and exhaust valves displacing 798 cc. Power output is claimed be 147 hp at 13,000 rpm with a peak torque of 88 Nm at 10,100 rpm.


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Last Updated 21 Oct 2021