Latest Stories

  • Decision on Hafizh Syahrin’s MotoGP job next week?

    With the announcement Malaysian MotoGP racer Hafizh Syahrin, nicknamed “El Pescao”, would not have his ride contract with Red Bull KTM Tech3 Racing renewed for 2020, speculation has been rife amongst his huge local fanbase as to what his fate might be. Some have said a return to Moto2 would be on the cards while others have suggested a shift to another race series is more likely.

    However, Hafizh is currently the best Malaysia has at the top flight of two-wheeled motorsport and while he has his detractors who imply he got there more because of politics than ability, Malaysia does have the option of having Petronas SIC Racing competing in all three MotoGP classes.

    Hafizh’s future in motorcycle racing is currently in the limbo and an unnamed source close to the issue has told paultan.org that a meeting will be held between Malaysian Minister of Youth and Sports Syed Saddiq, Petronas SIC Racing team principal Datuk Razlan Razali and team sponsor Petronas.

    Despite having a bad year in MotoGP, Hafizh Syahrin is felt to have not been given enough development time with the KTM RC16, a fact borne out by the fortunes of Tech 3 team mate Johann Zarco this season. The question that should be asked is, if not Petronas, then who, but Petronas is currently having a good season in the middle standings and could see no reason to jeopardise its team development purely on the grounds of nationalism.

     
  • Goodyear Malaysia launches solar panel use for electricity at corporate office, production plant

    Goodyear Malaysia has launched its array of 6,680 solar panels as one of its largest sustainability initiatives, officiated by the minister of energy, science, technology, environment and climate change Yeo Bee Yin. The array of solar panels is to power the company’s corporate office and production plant in Shah Alam, as part of its efforts to reduce its carbon footprint.

    The solar panel system has the capacity to produce 2.5MW of electricity daily, and is connected to six low-voltage (LV) substations at Goodyear’s Shah Alam location. This will aid in Goodyear’s direct reduction of electricity costs and its dependence on the conventional power grid, while helping the company reduce carbon emissions by 1.98 million kg annually, estimated over 25 years.

    Each panel is made of 375W bifacial monocrystalline perc double glass solar modules, says Goodyear Malaysia. “As a leading tyre manufacturer globally, we are aware of the potential impact from our business operations on our environment, which is why we are embarking multiple initiatives to protect our people, our consumers and the planet,” said director of Goodyear Asia Pacific manufacturing operations Ramon Le.

    The solar panels installed at the Shah Alam facility helps the company significantly reduce the amount of electricity used, Goodyear Malaysia said. The firm is still purchasing electricity from Tenaga Nasional, however Goodyear expects to have excess electricity that it will channel back into the grid once its solar electricity generation setup is fully optimised, Le said.

     
  • 2019 Nissan Leaf – buying vs leasing, which is better?

    You’ve read all the tech details of the second-generation Nissan Leaf, which was officially launched in Malaysia earlier today, so if you’re considering the all-electric hatchback, you’re already aware that Edaran Tan Chong Motor (ETCM) is offering two ways in which you can get one.

    The first is the conventional route, in which the car can be purchased, and there’s the alternative path, in which you can lease the Leaf via a car subscription plan. The question is, does the leasing plan make better financial sense, or should you opt for the traditional manner of going via the hire purchase channel?

    From a cost point of view, the conventional method of buying a car is straightforward and transparent – the fully-imported CBU Leaf is priced at RM188,888, on-the-road without insurance. As indicated in our launch report, the Leaf gets complete import tax exemption, and is only faced with 10% excise tax and SST.

    The Leaf comes with a three-year/100,000 km warranty and three-year/60,000 km free service maintenance, while the vehicle’s lithium-ion battery gets an eight-year/160,000 km warranty for peace of mind ownership.

    As for the car subscription plan, this is pretty much a “pay and use” format, but unlike a traditional hire purchase scheme, you;re merely renting the car for the duration and don’t end up owning it at the end of the cycle. For this, it’ll cost you RM3,500 a month to lease the EV, set on a three-year leasing contract. The monthly rate is the same for an individual or a company choosing to subcribe to the Leaf.

    As such, the monthly leasing rate adds up to RM42,000 a year, or RM126,000 for the tenure of the 36-month contract, which makes the option a more cost effective one when viewed in direct fashion. Of course, there’s no vehicle to offset funding for a new one, and you’ll have to start over again at the end of the three years.

    You can choose to buy the car at the then current market value based on negotiations made, and ETCM will help you to apply for a hire purchase scheme if you choose to do so. Or, you could opt to subscribe for another new Leaf – according to the company, there will likely be other EVs and new subscription options by that time.

    Do note that there’s a mileage cap with the subscription plan, with use being limited to 100,000 km of travel over the three-year contract period – there’s no specific mileage you’re allowed to use in a year, just that the total over 36 months can’t exceed the stipulated cap. Apparently, there’s a charge if you exceed 100,000 km of use, but the company hasn’t detailed how much that will be.

    A point to note is that the leasing plan has some other costs involved. A two-month security deposit is needed, as is a one-month advance payment, which means you’ll have to come up with RM10,500 to get the lease going. The deposit is refundable, so that doesn’t figure as additional cost in the final analysis.

    Also, the lessee will have to pay for the yearly road tax and insurance for the duration of the contract, much like a conventional HP plan. We were told by ETCM that the road tax for the Leaf is RM187 a year (there was no specific mention of this in our launch report, the pricing merely indicating OTR), and the insurance – which will have to go through ETCM – for the Leaf in the first year will cost above RM5,000. Again, while this is extra cost to note at point of entry for leasing, you’d also have to do the same for the HP route.

    Elsewhere, while the car comes with the aforementioned three-year/60,000 km free service maintenance, customers will have to pay for wear and tear replacement items such as tyres, wipers and brake pads, if these are needed over the period.

    As mentioned in the launch report, the Leaf comes with a single-phase 6.6 kW AC home wallbox charger as standard, and this applies to both purchase and leasing, with installation being free in either case. The process will require a technician to inspect the wiring on location to ensure suitability, and in the case of leasing, one should bear in mind that the wallbox will be removed once the contract is over and the lessee chooses not to extend with another EV subscription plan.

    It was announced that Leaf adoption will also come with an owners privilege programme thrown in at no extra cost, in which there is 23 days of complimentary usage a year of the X-Trail, Serena and Navara for other travelling needs, during the first three years of ownership.

    The company says that the courtesy programme is also included for the leasing plan, also for the same period. All that’s needed to secure the use of a complimentary vehicle is two weeks advance notice, which can be done online or by calling the customer service centre.

    So, which sounds like the more appealing route, and not just from a cost viewpoint – conventional hire purchase, or the subscription plan? Share your views in the comments section.

     
  • Berjaya denies Suzuki distributorship rumour – report

    Those excited by the prospect of the new Suzuki Jimny becoming a reality here might have to wait a bit longer, because Berjaya Corporation has come out to deny that its executive chairman Tan Sri Vincent Tan will fly to Japan early next month to sign a distributorship agreement with Suzuki, The Sun reports.

    This follows a news report by the New Straits Times yesterday, which indicated that Berjaya had plans to reintroduce the Suzuki brand in Malaysia, with sources saying that an agreement would be inked with the Japanese automaker next month.

    “Berjaya Corp wishes to clarify that this statement is not true at all. The board of directors of Berjaya Corp is also not aware of and has not deliberated on the arrangement,” the company announced via a statement today.

    The brand was last represented in Malaysia by Suzuki Malaysia Automobile, with local assembly of the Swift hatchback being carried out by Hicom Automotive Manufacturers in Pekan, Pahang.

    In June 2015, Suzuki signed a memorandum of understanding and licence agreement with Proton and DRB-Hicom for the production of motor vehicles. Sales and assembly of Suzuki models in Malaysia were halted under a rationalisation plan, and in January 2016 it was announced that all 29 Suzuki dealerships in the country would be converted to Proton Edar outlets, ending the brand’s official sales presence in the country.

    The collaboration was to have allowed Proton access to Suzuki’s models, platforms, powertrain and automotive technology, with the Japanese carmaker providing specific technical assistance for the selected products and scope, but the union resulted only in the Proton Ertiga being introduced for the Malaysian market. The MPV, which is based on the Suzuki Ertiga, was last seen in Ertiga Xtra form.

     
  • C8 Chevy Corvette: RHD model confirmed for Australia

    More news on the C8 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. During its unveiling, Chevy announced that the new mid-engined sports car will be available in right-hand drive format for the first time, allowing it to be introduced in markets such as the UK, Japan, and Australia.

    Well, it appears that Holden’s chairman and managing director, Dave Buttner, declared: “The news that Corvette will now be built in right-hand-drive for the first time ever – and will be exported to Australia – is hugely exciting for our team at Holden and any Australian who loves high performance cars.”

    General Motors has yet to confirm other RHD markets for the Corvette, though one can expect the UK and Japan to be among the earliest to receive it. To recap, the C8 gets a mid-mounted, naturally-aspirated LT2 6.2 litre V8 that produces 495 hp at 6,450 rpm and 637 Nm of torque at 5,150 rpm, making it the most powerful base Corvette ever.

    It’s also the fastest, going from zero to 60 mph (97 km/h) in under three seconds when fitted with the Z51 Performance Package. Unfortunately, the previous seven-speed manual will no longer be offered, replaced instead by an eight-speed dual clutch transmission developed by Tremec.

    Features comprise of LED headlights with daytime running lights, huge mixed wheels (19-inch up front, 20-inch behind) shod with Michelin Pilot Sport all-season rubbers, LED tail lights, customisable 12-inch digital instrument display and a squared-off two-spoke steering wheel.

    Items that are fitted as standard include eBoost electro-hydraulic brake booster and a nose lift system, electronic limited-slip differential, version 4.0 of the optional Magnetic Ride Control dampers. Those wanting more can opt for the Z51 package which adds on a number of performance-enhancing features, such as the two-piece rear spoiler that produces up to 180 kg of downforce.


     
  • China’s BAIC Group acquires 5% stake in Daimler AG

    Daimler AG has officially announced that China’s BAIC Group now owns an equity interest of approximately 5% in the German company, further cementing the partnership between both companies that has existed since 2003.

    “We are very pleased that our long-standing partner BAIC is now a long-term investor in Daimler,” said Ola Källenius, chairman of the board of management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.

    “This step reinforces our successful partnership and is a signal of trust in the strategy and future potential of our company. The Chinese market is and remains a crucial pillar of our success – not only for sales, but also for our product development and production,” he added.

    Over the years, the two companies have cooperated in the production, research and development, and the sale of passenger cars, vans and trucks. Daimler currently holds a 9.55% stake in BAIC since it first invested in the company in 2013, as well as a 3.01% interest in BAIC BluePark New Energy Technology.

    Even with the investment, BAIC is not the largest shareholder in Daimler, as that honour goes to Zhejiang Geely Holding founder Li Shufu, who has a 9.69% stake.

     
  • Car-sharing users increasingly rent cars to eat, sleep

    It seems that car-sharing users in Japan are renting cars to do a range other things other than driving them, such as taking a nap, practice singing, or even do facial stretches to reduce the size of their face. Following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, rental cars were also used to recharge cellphones.

    The Asahi Shimbun reports that Times24, a leading car-sharing service provider with over 1.2 million registered users, discovered that customers utilise its rental cars to nap or use as a workspace. Another person used the car to store bags and other personal belongings when nearby coin lockers were full.

    Orix Auto, a car-sharing operator with 230,000 registered users, is also facing difficulties to figure out what some customers were actually doing with its rental cars. When asked to examine mileage records, Orix said several percent of its rented vehicles “travelled no distance.”

    A company public relations official said: “We have no clear idea how they actually used our vehicles. The only thing we can say is that data show a number of people who rent cars without driving them.” Other car-sharing operators similarly reported that some rented cars logged unusually low mileage after they were returned.

    Survey results by other firms reveal the number of customers who rent cars for reasons besides driving is steadily rising. A 31-year-old employee who lives near Tokyo said: “I rented a car to eat a boxed meal that I bought at a convenience store because I couldn’t find anywhere else to have lunch.”

    “Usually the only place I can take a nap while visiting my clients is a cybercafe in front of the station, but renting a car to sleep in is just a few hundred yen (below RM50), almost the same as staying in the cybercafe.”

    In 2018, another service provider NTT Docomo found that one of eight users (sample size of 400 individuals) rented a car for purposes other than transportation. A large number of respondents said they slept or rested in vehicles, followed by those who said they used cars to converse with friends, family, and business clients on the phone.

    NTT Docomo said “cars can be used for private space. People used our vehicles in more ways than we expected.” Currently, the bulk of car-sharing users do use the cars for transportation purposes, but the number of those who rent it for other purposes is rising.

    While this may sound good for business, operators actually lose money because customers pay more if they rack up more mileage. Also, those who spend time sitting in an idling car could adversely affect the environment.

    “Motorists should shut off their engines when they’re not driving, and we do not recommend our customers rent vehicles for purposes other than travelling. We believe it’s best for our cars to be used for driving,” an Orix PR official said.

    In terms of cost, customers are only required to pay 400 yen (RM15) for a rental duration of 30 minutes. It’s very easily accessible as well – users can reserve the vehicles at any given time, even for immediate use. Once booked, they only need to pick up the car at one of the firm’s 12,000 parking places across Japan.

     
  • FIRST DRIVE: 2019 B9 Audi A4 facelift sampled in Italy

    With competing brands such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz flashing out fancy new technologies and design for the respective G20 3 Series and W205 C-Class facelift, Audi just can’t afford to stay quiet. Which is why the Ingolstadt-based automaker has unveiled the B9 A4 facelift.

    The refreshed compact executive sedan has been thoroughly reskinned, complete with new LED headlights and tail lights. The cabin has also been given a proper update, courtesy of the brand new Audi virtual cockpit, a new 10.1-inch touchscreen display, and a slightly more practical centre console.

    In terms of powertrain, the Malaysian-bound model is set to be powered by the 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine from before, albeit detuned slightly from 252 hp to 245 hp (peak torque remains the same at 320 Nm). However, there is a new 12-volt mild hybrid system to help improve fuel economy.

    If you find the car good looking, well, you’re definitely not the only one. But all things considered, just how does the Audi A4 facelift stack up against the venerable BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class? Find out in our video review, here.

    GALLERY: B9 Audi A4 45 TFSI quattro

     
  • Ghosn sues Nissan, Mitsubishi for RM69 million in damages for ‘grave mistakes’ in dismissal – report

    It has been three months since former chairman of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance Carlos Ghosn addressed the public on video following his first arrest last year, and as many would have expected, Ghosn has countered with a court case against Nissan Motor and Mitsubishi Motors, Reuters quoted a report by Dutch newspaper NRC.

    The former alliance chief is seeking 15 million euros (RM69 million) in damages from the automakers. Japanese prosecutors charged Ghosn with financial misconduct, essentially under-reporting his income, while Nissan and Mitsubishi claimed that Ghosn improperly received $9 million (RM37 million). Ghosn has denied these charges, and resigned from his positions at Renault in January.

    “In the Netherlands, if you want to fire an executive you have to first tell him what he’s being accused of, and you have to provide him with the evidence for the accusations. Neither of those things has happened,” lawyer Laurens de Graaf told the Dutch newspaper. Ghosn was granted bail early in March after his first arrest, although he was re-arrested shortly thereafter.

    Prosecutors who charged Ghosn for financial misconduct last year also charged Nissan for filing false financial statements, and the automaker said that it took the situation extremely seriously. The district court in Amsterdam is reviewing the case but has not set a trial date yet, NRC reported.

     
  • Volvo issues recall for 507,000 cars over fire risk

    Volvo has announced a recall involving 507,000 vehicles worldwide due to a faulty engine component that, in extreme cases, could result in a fire, Automotive News Europe reports. In its own investigations, the Swedish automaker has identified that the plastic engine intake manifold may melt and deform, although cases are very rare.

    “In the very worst case, there is a possibility that a localised engine bay fire may occur,” Volvo said. The cars affected by the recall were manufactured from 2014 and 2019 and have a 2.0 litre four-cylinder diesel engine, Volvo said. The affected models are the S60, S80, S90, V40, V60, V70, V90, XC90, and XC60.

    So far, no reports of accidents or personal injuries have been detected. Volvo added that all customers will receive a letter, urging them to contact their local retailer for corrective measures. When asked to provide details of the potential financial impact, company spokesman Stefan Elfstrom refused to comment on the cost. All rectification costs related to the recall will be borne by the automaker.

     
 

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Last Updated 20 Jul 2019



 

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