Latest Stories

  • Goodyear completes acquisition of Cooper Tires; to further strengthen position in North America, China

    The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has completed its acquisition of Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, the company said in a statement, following the announcement of the acquisition in March this year.

    At the initial announcement, the company stated that Goodyear will own around 84% of the combined company, and the remaining 16% equity will be held by Cooper. The combined company will be based in Akron, Ohio, while a presence in Findlay, where Cooper headquarters are located, will be maintained.

    “We are excited to officially bring together Goodyear and Cooper together and unite our shared focus on customers, innovation and high quality products and solutions. This combination strengthens Goodyear’s ability to serve more customers globally, and provides increased scale to support greater investments in new mobility and fleet solutions,” said Goodyear chairman, CEO and president Richard J. Kramer.

    The combining of the two brands’ portfolios will enable the combined company to leverage Goodyear’s strength in the original equipment and premium replacement tyre markets, while combining with the Cooper brand’s strength in the mid-tier light truck and SUV segments, according to the statement.

    This acquisition further strengthens Goodyear’s market lead in the United States while “significantly growing” its position in the broader North American market, and will see its presence nearly doubled in China. This will at the same time create a broader distribution network for Cooper replacement tyres, which will be part of Goodyear’s network of 2,500 retail outlets worldwide.

    Reiterating its initial announcement, Goodyear expects to see approximately US$165 million (RM679 million at recent exchange rates) in run-rate cost synergies within two years of this deal’s completion. A further net present value of US$450 million (RM1.85 billion) or more is expected to be generated through utilising Goodyear’s available US tax attributes, with further savings to come from manufacturing-related savings.

    Opportunities for the expansion of selected Cooper facilities are expected to increase capital efficiency and flexibility, the statement said, adding that additional revenue growth opportunities are expected to result from the addition of the Cooper brand to the Goodyear global distribution network.

    With the integrating of business models, organisational structures and distribution channels, Cooper’s common stock will cease to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the statement said.

     
  • VIDEO: Geely Vision Starburst designer Brandon Pan explains the concept car and new design direction

    Last week, Geely unveiled the Vision Starburst, a new design vision described as a “new and alternative expression” of the carmaker’s Expanding Cosmos design philosophy. Created by Geely Design Shanghai, the fascinating showcar will serve as a design board for future Geely models.

    The inspiration for Vision Starburst comes from the phenomena where brilliant nebulas and magnificent elements come together, merging, fusing and finally bursting into new stars. Every new design concept is the result of the combination, fusion, and eruption of different ideas which become new star products that enrich the market, Geely says.

    In the walk-around video above, Brandon Pan, exterior design director at Geely Design Shanghai, elaborates on the cosmic inspiration, as well as interesting ideas about the face of cars. Today’s concept of the headlamps as the eyes of a vehicle’s face has been overturned as Geely designers imagine future vehicles seen through high-tech sensors. Without the headlamps as eyes, it will “free designers from past limitations,” Pan says.

    Moving inside, the interior door panels are designed to match the characteristics of the exterior. “Cosmic Ray” light strips help to unify interior and exterior design. On top of the floating centre console, the shifter takes on an aerodynamic geometric shape that’s hollow. Four lines of light illuminate to display different gear settings.

    What’s cool is that the instrument panel isn’t a standalone screen, but it melds with the ambient lights on the dash and door panels to create a “borderless visual experience” for the user. Borderless instruments and seamless info transmission will change the way humans interact with machines, Pan says. A whole new sensory experience, in fancier words.

    “With our Vision Starburst, we want to explore where technology will take the future of car design,” he adds. However, Geely has said that this showcar will not be made into a production car. “What we have here is not a vision for specific models. The elements you see here will not replace our Expanding Cosmos design language, but offer an alternative design vision which we look forward to exploring more,” he ended.

    What do you think of the Starburst and Geely’s new design philosophy? For an interesting insight on the carmaker’s current look, here’s executive VP of design Peter Horbury explaining animals and car faces.

    @paultancars

    ##New ##Geely Vision Starburst concept. Previewing the ##next generation of Geely ##Auto and ##Proton ##cars. ##paultancars ##paultan ##fyp ##foryou ##foryoupage

    ? Z Cars Lost – Love Is Over

     

  • Plug-in hybrid cars are not fake electric cars – Daimler CEO says latest PHEVs are greener, offer more range

    Daimler AG CEO Ola Kallenius has gone on record to defend plug-in hybrid vehicles from climate groups who claim that PHEVs are “fake electric cars, built for lab tests and tax breaks, not real driving.” Activists say these PHEVs are mostly driven in non-electric mode, which can sometimes make their CO2 emissions higher than regular combustion engined cars due to the extra weight from the battery pack.

    In an interview with Automotive News Europe, Kallenius said the latest technologies in plug-in hybrid cars offer far greater range than their predecessors, meaning they will be driven in fully electric mode a lot more frequently than before.

    “When it comes to plug-in hybrids, we are now on the third generation of those cars, but a lot of the talk about them is still based on data from the first generation where the batteries were smaller and the range was shorter,” he said. The latest W206 Mercedes C-Class (pictured above) has a massive 25.4 kWh battery pack that provides up to 100 km of zero emissions range, doubling that of the W205 C 300 e.

    Now that PHEVs ship with larger batteries, customers can use them in the spirit as they were intended. “Many customers can drive back and forth to work for the whole week in full electric mode,” Kallenius said, adding that those who use the Mercedes me app can opt to share their fuel consumption data to see how they fare in real-world driving.

    Mercedes-Benz is also actively trying to change people’s driving behaviours by gamifying the eco-driving graphics in the instrument cluster, which it hopes will encourage more drivers to chase for ‘high scores’.

    There could be a competitive edge to this, where drivers try to outdo one another, but the goal is to make sure the discrepancy between individual fuel consumption during real-world driving and the certification numbers achieved during testing is within the same ballpark.

    Hyundai Europe CEO, Michael Cole also defended PHEV tech. Using the latest Tucson as an example, the plug-in SUV offers up to 56 km of fully electric range on a single charge. which is “probably more than enough to cover the daily commute of most people in Europe,” he said. “I still think the technology offers a CO2 reduction in real terms, with a lot of customers using it to travel emissions free a good share of the time under the right conditions.”

     
  • Toyota Gazoo Racing takes 1-2 finish in 100th World Endurance Championship race at 8 Hours of Portimao

    Toyota Gazoo Racing has added another feather to its endurance racing cap, marking its 100th outing in the World Endurance Championship with a 1-2 victory at the 8 Hours of Portimao endurance race with the GR010 Hybrid Le Mans Hypercar.

    The winning car #8 at the Portuguese round was piloted by the trio of Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley, with Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López at the controls of the #7 car.

    This milestone outing at the 8 Hours of Portimao follows the factory Toyota team’s successful outing in the premier Hypercar class season opener at the Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, where the team took the race win as well as third place.

    Rounding out podium finishers was the #36 Oreca-built Alpine A480 Gibson LMP1 racer, piloted by Nicolas Lapierre, Andre Negrao and Matthieu Vaxiviere. Starting from pole position, the Alpine trio finished in third, one minute and six seconds behind the #7 Toyota.

    Just 10 seconds separated the top three at the initial round of fuel stops, which saw Buemi briefly take the race lead as the #36 Alpine pitted earlier, its smaller fuel tank giving it less range between stops, while conversely benefiting from a lighter fuel load and shorter stops each time.

    Conway and Hartley took to the wheel at their respective cars’ driver changes just before the two-hour mark. Still only a 10-second gap between the three race cars, the Alpine held the lead with 75 laps of the race completed. Hartley was held up behind an LMP2 car, as Buemi had been earlier, costing the #8 Toyota second place.

    Through a combination of fuel stops and encountered traffic, the two Toyotas traded places several times during this stint. Heading into the halfway mark, Kobayashi and Nakajima took over driving duties, both Toyotas leapfrogging the Alpine through pit stops. Thereafter, Kobayashi held a 10-second lead over Nakajima.

    The leading Toyota pair of cars were reeled in by the Alpine once again during a safety period, brought about by a Ligier LMP2 that veered into the gravel. The Alpine took second place from the #8 car of Nakajima, then putting pressure on the #7 of Kobayashi before a refuelling stop was required. The #7 car in the hands of Lopez then took the lead from Buemi, who was saving fuel.

    Lopez took advantage of a full-course yellow flag to refuel with 30 minutes to go in the race, re-emerging three seconds behind Buemi in the #8 car. Lopez in the #7 Toyota closed in on Buemi with pace to spare and thus took the race lead, though orders came in to reverse the order and so the duo traded places again.

    With 300 laps completed, Buemi took the chequered flag at Portimao in the #8 Toyota followed by Lopez in the #7 car. Toyota makes it two wins from two races, and heads into the Monza round in Italy with a 22-point lead in the teams’ World Championship stakes. The drivers’ standings now sees the Buemi, Nakajima and Hartley trio of the #8 car grow their lead to 20 points above their team mates in the #7 car.

    GALLERY: Toyota GR010 Hybrid Le Mans Hypercar

     
  • 2021 Subaru Forester facelift makes its debut in Japan – revised styling; hybrid and turbo boxer engines

    Subaru has given the fifth-generation Forester its first mid-cycle refresh, more than three years after the SUV first made its global debut. Pre-orders for the refreshed SUV will begin in Japan this August, with customers being able to choose from four trim levels – Touring, X-Break, Advance and Sport.

    The main styling changes are seen at the front, as the Forester sports new headlamps that are more upright and angular in design. Each cluster features a trailing bit that points towards a more prominent grille, which has a new insert within its hexagonal shape.

    The bolder look is further accentuated by a front bumper that slightly protrudes just below the lighting clusters, while the rectangular-shaped sections for the fog lamps carry a new multi-slat insert within them – the Sport variant gets its own design here.

    The lower intake gets a slight tweak to provide more visual depth as well, with the bumper guard now layered on top of the frame that anchors the base of the bumper. As for the rear, it appears to remain unchanged from the pre-facelift model, as the C-shaped taillights and lower apron are carried over. The same applies to the interior, with the general layout of controls and equipment being the same, although there are some new trim and upholstery options, depending on variant.

    As for engines, the Touring, X-Break and Advance trim levels all come with Subaru’s e-Boxer hybrid powertrain as standard. This consists of an FB20 2.0 litre naturally-aspirated flat-four engine that drives all four wheels via a Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system, with the hybrid component being an electric motor placed within the Lineartronic CVT.

    On paper, the boxer engine develops 145 PS (143 hp) at 6,000 rpm and 188 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm, while the e-motor is rated at 13.6 PS (13.4 hp) and 65 Nm. The e-motor draws power from a lithium-ion battery that has an energy capacity of 4.8 Ah, and contributes to fuel consumption of either 18.6 km/l (JC08 standard) or 14 km/l (WLTC standard).

    The e-Boxer variants also receive an active front grille shutter and a feature called e-Active Shift Control, which senses the acceleration and G forces of the car to ensure the engine speed provides improved acceleration feel, or to improve engine braking on a hill descent.

    Meanwhile, the Sport variant is the only one that comes with a 1.8 litre turbocharged flat-four engine. The CB18 unit, which doesn’t get any form of electrification, is the same one used in the latest Levorg and puts out 177 PS (174 hp) from 5,200 to 5,600 rpm and 300 Nm from 1,600 to 3,600 rpm. It gets the same CVT and AWD pairing as the e-Boxer, although the fuel consumption rating is 16.5 km/l (JC08 standard) or 13.6 km/l (WLTC standard).

    In terms of equipment, the Touring and X-Break variants come with 17-inch alloy wheels, while the Advance and Sport are fitted with larger 18-inch units instead. Other available features include X-Mode, LED headlamps with steering-follow function, fabric or leather upholstery, a powered sunroof.

    All variants also come standard with Subaru’s EyeSight suite, which the company says has wider operating ranges and utilises a revised stereo camera setup with an expanded field of view. The safety and driver assist systems the are included are autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, false start suppression control as well as lane departure warning and assist.

    Further system offered as an option are emergency pre-crash steering assist, rear vehicle detection, adaptive headlamps, a smart rear-view mirror and drive monitoring. Subaru also says all trim levels benefit from improved suspension to achieve both “suppleness and sportiness at a high level.”

    GALLERY: 2020 Subaru Forester e-Boxer (UK market)

     
  • Forza Horizon 5 revealed – set in Mexico, features Mercedes-AMG One; coming to Xbox Series X, S Nov 5

    Fans of the Forza Horizon series got their first look at the next instalment during the 2021 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) over the weekend. Forza Horizon 5 will take players to the arid landscape of Mexico, utilising the next-generation power of Microsoft’s new Xbox Series X and S.

    The open-world racing game series is known for its diverse environments that gamers can hoon in to their hearts’ desires. This latest instalment, however, pushes the boundaries with what is claimed to be the franchise’s largest game world yet, featuring deserts, rainforests, cities, seaside towns, volcanoes and even a few Mayan ruins thrown in for good measure.

    These vistas have been built to microscopic detail – down to the individual needles of each cactus, developer Playground Games says. Helping to increase the level of realism and immersion are next-gen features such as high dynamic range (HDR) sky maps and ray-traced reflections in the Forzavista showcase mode, along with a new 60 FPS performance mode that delivers increased frame rates.

    Season changes, a feature that was introduced in Forza Horizon 4, has been revamped with new weather conditions such as dust storms and tropical rainstorms. Other new gameplay improvements include a Horizon Arcade for challenges and minigames, an EventLab for building your own races and an AI-based Forza Linc system that recognises the kinds of events you gravitate to and finds likeminded players.

    Of course, a racing game is nothing without cars, and Forza Horizon 5 features probably the most highly-anticipated hypercar of the year – the Mercedes-AMG One. The trailers give us our first look at the Formula 1-engined road racer in production form, albeit still covered in camouflage as a Forza Edition car. One can spot the fan-like shrouds on the centre-lock wheels, which we haven’t seen before.

    Aside from the One, there are a number of other brand new cars, such as the Ford Bronco, Land Rover Defender and Porsche Taycan. There’s also a few off-road race machines in the mix, including a Safari-style Porsche 911 that took class victory at the 2017 Mexican 1000, as well as the Bronco R that raced at the Baja 1000. Playground Games is also promising new customisation options for cars and drivers alike.

    Forza Horizon 5 will be available in Standard, Deluxe and Premium versions, with the latter getting an Early Access release on November 5; the other variants will go on sale on November 9. The game will also be available on the Xbox Game Pass subscription service and will be offered with a Premium Add-On bundle that includes the Early Access release. Aside from the consoles, the game will also be offered on PC.

     
  • Lamborghini nearly sold out for 2021 – customers are going on a big spending spree as pandemic gloom lifts

    Lamborghini has revealed that its allocation for the year is almost sold out. This is on the back of an easing pandemic, combined with the free-spending attitude among consumers who have been confined to their homes for the past few months, Bloomberg reports.

    Company CEO Stephan Winkelmann said Lamborghini is set for a strong growth this year. To date, approximately 10 months of its production capacity have been sold, he said in an interview at the recent Milano Monza auto show. “Despite a two-month shutdown due to the pandemic, Lamborghini ended 2020 as its second-best year ever,” Winkelmann said. Deliveries for Q1 2021 surged by nearly 25%.

    Demand for models like the Aventador continue to be high, but it is no secret that Lamborghini will be electrifying some of its cars in the next few years. It is spending a record 1.5 billion euros (RM7.5 billion) to offer plug-in hybrid versions of each model by 2024, while a fully electric supercar is set to arrive in the second half of the decade.

    Siàn

    Granted, Lamborghini is not as aggressive with its electrification plans as other automakers, but Winkelmann said it has to “choose the right moment, when we think the market is ready and we think we can really be the best.” The CEO reiterated that Lamborghini is not for sale, and there are no plans to list the company.

    Meanwhile, Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös himself said that “many people have witnessed how quickly life can end, and so it’s good to enjoy life today and not to postpone it to any later years.” There’s nothing quite like a pandemic to remind yourself that life is short, huh?

     
  • Government to spend additional RM4.22 billion in fuel subsidies this year due to increase in global oil prices

    The government says an additional RM4.22 billion is expected to be spent this year on fuel subsidies as a result of the increase in global oil prices, The Malay Mail reports. The amount will be used to maintain the ceiling prices that have been set for RON 95 petrol, diesel, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) as well as cooking oil, said finance minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz.

    Currently, RON 95 has a capped price of RM2.05 a litre, while that for diesel is RM2.15 per litre, the ceiling prices for both having been revised on February 10 this year. As for LPG, its price of RM1.90 per kg has been in place since June 2015, while that for cooking oil (RM2.50 per 1kg pack) remains from that set in 1997.

    In a statement issued yesterday, he said that the government remains committed to maintaining these ceiling prices. “The government is prepared to bear this increased subsidy expenditure to maintain the welfare of the people and the continuity of businesses, especially small business traders,” he said.

    “A total of RM3.78 billion has been allocated for the year 2021 but based on the current global market prices, the government is expected to accommodate subsidies of up to RM8 billion, which is RM4.22 billion higher than the original allocation,” he added.

    In 2019, the government spent RM6.32 billion in subsidies, but this dropped to RM2.16 billion last year. The reduced spending was due to global crude oil prices falling significantly as a result of an “oil war” among oil-producing countries, which saw the barrel price dropping below US$20 at one point in April last year. Pump prices also fell to RM1.25 a litre for RON 95 and RM1.46 for diesel that month, and the lack of fuel consumption last year also had plenty to do with reducing subsidies.

    Separately, former finance ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Kassim called on the government to rethink its decision on such subsidies. He said that the disadvantage of a price subsidy was that even the high-income group would benefit, and it would be better for the government to do targeted income subsidies as was done previously so that only the poor would benefit. “The best way to help the poor is to subsidise their income without wasting government funds,” he said.

     
  • 2021 MotoGP: Austrian, Styrian GP with full audience

    While major sports events around the world have been operating without a live audience or with limited capacity since the Cover-19 pandemic, it appears Dorna, organisers of MotoGP, think the situation will change. This will happen at the upcoming Austrian rounds of the 2021 MotoGP this August.

    On the racing schedule is the Styrian Grand Prix on August 9 and the Austrian Gran Prix on August 15, which will be open to spectators. However, this is on condition that spectators intending to attend the events at Red Bull Ring – Spielberg are vaccinated and test free of or recovered from Covid-19.

    Beginning with the Catalunya race on June 6, MotoGP has been allowing spectators. While spectators will be allowed into the stands, the MotoGP paddock will still be under restricted access, preserving the Cover-19 free bubble with preventive measures such as virus testing and wearing of face masks enforced.

     
  • Hyundai to axe its Tau NA V8 – next-gen Genesis G90 could get turbo and all-electric powertrains instead

    Hyundai Motor Group will discontinue its 5.0 litre Tau naturally-aspirated GDi V8 engine, according to a report by South Korea’s Daum. As a result, the next-generation Genesis G90, which is expected to be unveiled later this year, will not be offered with a V8, in a move that is similar to the latest Kia K9.

    On the current, first-generation G90, the Tau V8 is rated to deliver as much as 425 PS (419 hp) and 520 Nm of torque, with drive going to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission, or with a HTRAC all-wheel drive system, to all four wheels.

    The report tips the Smartstream G 3.5 litre twin-turbo V6 from the GV80 and GV70 to be the new top-level powertrain to replace the Tau V8. In the SUVs, the V6 mill outputs 380 PS (375 hp) and 530 Nm, with the option of rear- or all-wheel drive – an eight-speed auto is standard.

    Aside from a downsized engine, the all-new G90 is also said to be offered with an all-electric powertrain. Considering the carmaker has already revealed the Electrified G80 in April, this is certainly a possibility. The zero-emission version of the G80 offers up to 500 km of range on a single charge and supports fast charging up to 350 kW, with a dual-motor setup providing a 0-96 km/h (0-60 mph) time of just 4.9 seconds.

    Spyshots of the forthcoming G90 suggest the model will sport a revised profile and redesigned grille, while retaining the dual-tier headlamps and taillights of current Genesis models. A more luxurious interior is also part of the upgrades, along with new technologies like a rear-wheel steering system as well as improved safety and driver assistance systems.

    GALLERY: Second-generation Genesis G90 spyshots

     
 

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Last Updated 10 Jun 2021