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  • Liberalisation of comprehensive motor insurance – Bank Negara expects no massive shift in pricing

    The phased liberalisation of motor and fire tariffs announced by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) last year, which kicked off with the first phase on July 1, 2016, is set to move to the next phase on July 1 this year.

    Phase two of the programme, which is working towards the eventual removal of motor and fire tariffs by 2019, will see premium rates for motor comprehensive being liberalised, with pricing being determined by individual insurers and Takaful operators based on a risk-based assessment system.

    From July 1, 2017, how much one pays for insurance will no longer be determined by fixed price lists, but by his or her risk profile. This means that theoretically, no two insurers will have identical pricing for a motor comprehensive policy.

    Premium rates for motor third-party policies will however continue to be regulated and subject to tariff rates, with a gradual increase in pricing over time – the insurance industry has stated that the segment is “substantially underpriced” at present and immediate detariffication will result in a sharp price hike.

    While insurance companies haven’t yet revealed specifics of how their motor comprehensive premiums will be tailored and more importantly, how this will translate into pricing for the consumer, BNM has suggested some initial details on how the liberalised landscape will shape up.

    At a press briefing on the subject last Friday, the central bank said that the move towards liberalisation has long been overdue, and the switch to a risk-based assessment system will bring about innovation and be much more beneficial to consumers.

    “The reality is that the premiums that are collected today and the claims that are paid, particularly for bodily injury claims, have a great disparity. It has been there for a long time, when you consider that we have not touched pricing since 1978. Over the long term, this is not going to be sustainable,” BNM assistant governor Jessica Chew said.

    She explained that the opening of the market “will allow insurers to take into account a broader set of risk factors, and what it will do is to reduce the cross subsidisation between business classes as well as risk groups.”

    It is also targeting at improving safety on the road, incentivising good risk management and inculcate safer driving habits. What this will do is reward good drivers with no history of claims or reckless driving and bring about higher premiums to those with the opposite, ensuring that things – and pricing – are more equitable and fairer than that in place now. “This will allow consumers from the low-risk groups to enjoy lower premiums,” she said.

    Under the new environment, more risk factors are set to be taken into account in determining premiums. Other than the sum insured, cubic capacity of the engine as well as the age of vehicle and the driver, premiums may be driven by other factors. These could be safety and security features in the vehicle, duration that the vehicle is on the road geographical location (areas with higher incidents of theft) and traffic offences on record.

    Similar to the system employed in countries like the UK, factors such as these will define the risk profile group of the policy holder, which will then help determine the premium. Since insurers and takaful operators will have different ways of defining the risk profile group, the price of a motor policy will differ from one insurer to another.

    Enhancements to consumer protection will also be introduced, to ensure proper governance over product design and pricing. Insurers are expected to assess the risks appropriately and consistently for fair treatment of consumers. The standard scope of coverage disclosure will be increased, so consumers can easily compare between insurers to make informed purchasing decisions.

    While insurers will be able to determine how their products are fleshed out as well as the rates of the premiums, consumers don’t have to fear a sharp spike in pricing with the removal of tariffs. The central bank will provide the necessary input to ensure that pricing in the new market doesn’t become a free-for-all.

    “All insurance companies will have to file their products and their rates with BNM, which we will then look at. This will give us the opportunity to review the risk factors that they take into account and how they are actually being translated into the pricing. We will ensure that the adjustments are both reasonable and gradual. Excessive adjustments are something that we will be seeking to tamper,” Chew explained.

    The central bank expects that there will be no massive shift in pricing, and if anything believes that prices may go down in the short term as a result of competition between insurers.

    For consumers, this will mean more choices to pick from at competitive prices, with the ability to shop around for coverage that best meets their insurance needs. “Consumers should benefit from the more liberalised market where you have more control over what you pay for,” Chew said.

    Modernisation will bring about a more varied and improved landscape, bringing about better service quality and customer experience. “We need this environment because only then can we see more innovation in our market and this will allow consumers to have more choices in terms of the types of cover they want to buy instead of a standardised product,” she added.

    Still, mirroring the earlier call made by the General Insurance Association of Malaysia (PIAM), the central bank advises consumers shouldn’t just be looking at pricing as the only factor when purchasing a motor insurance plan, and that they should pay attention to all aspects of coverage, including exclusions.

  • BARU: Artikel dalam Bahasa Malaysia

  • Malaysia vehicle sales data by brand for March 2017

    The Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) has released sales data for last month by brand, and it appears that the vast majority of auto brands in the country recorded an uptick in sales.

    The first quarter of this year recorded a 7.29% or 9,572-unit increase over the same period last year, which was likely driven by the introduction of new models to the market in each of the first three months of the year.

    Topping the March chart is Perodua, with 19,459 vehicles sold last month, representing a 17.2% increase over the 16,603 units sold in February. Meanwhile, Proton registered a marginal dip to 6,070 units sold last month, compared to 6,099 in February. The other passenger car brand which saw a dip in sales was Ford, with 439 vehicles sold last month compared to 474 sold in February.

    Among the non-national makes, Honda held station in second place with 10,994 vehicles sold last month, a 42.9% gain over the 7,695 units sold in February. The biggest gainer for the month of March is Renault with a 200% gain from February to March, selling 66 vehicles last month compared to 22 in the month before.

    Other brands which made big strides last month include Mitsubishi with a 114.2% increase, Subaru with a 122.5% increase, and Porsche with a 133.3% increase compared to February. Elsewhere, gains were also made by Mercedes (+27.9%), BMW (+30.8%), Toyota (+36.0%), Nissan (+45.2%), Isuzu (+60.0%), Mazda (+77.8%), and Volkswagen (+78.5%).

    Click to enlarge.

  • UMW Toyota Motor opens new body and paint centre in Kuching, Sarawak – 10 bays, full-sized paint oven

    UMW Toyota Motor has announced that its new body and paint centre in Kuching, Sarawak, is now fully operational. Located at the Pending Industrial Area, the facility is operated by Boulevard Jaya and complements the Toyota sales and service centre located along Jalan Datuk Tawi Sli in Kuching.

    The new body and paint centre was set up with an investment of approximately RM16 million, which includes the cost of purchasing about three aces of land. Within the built-up area of one acre, there are 10 bays as well as a full-sized paint oven to ensure a proper paint finish on vehicles that adheres to the standards set by Toyota.

    Owners can also have their vehicles damaged in an accident repaired by trained personnel, using body alignment equipment approved by Toyota Motor Corporation. Assistance with insurance claims are also provided at the facility.

    “As the authorised distributor of Toyota vehicles in Malaysia, we have a responsibility to ensure that when our customers require repairs to their vehicle after an accident, they can get the best services from trained personnel. This ensures that vehicle will be restored in accordance with Toyota’s high standards,” said Akio Takeyama, deputy chairman of UMW Toyota Motor.

  • Vehicle sales performance in Malaysia, Q1 2017 versus Q1 2016 – a look at the winners and losers thus far

    With the first three months of the year past us, it’s time to take a moment and see how the automotive market is performing thus far. Here, we compiled sales data from the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) for the first quarter of 2017 (Q1 2017).

    Overall total industry volume (TIV) for Q1 2017 saw an improvement compared to Q1 2016 with 140,839 units sold. This represents an increase of 7.29% or 9,572 units from Q1 2016, likely spurred by the introduction of several new models in January, February and March.

    Perodua, unsurprisingly, sold the highest number of cars in Q1 2017 with 50,265 units, a 6.54% or 3,084-unit increase from Q1 2016. However, its market share did decline by a small bit, down to 35.7% compared to 35.9% in the same period last year.

    Honda continues to be the second highest contributor to TIV as well as the number one non-national brand on the list, selling 27,283 units in Q1 2017. When compared to Q1 2016, the figure indicates a massive 45.30% or 8,506-unit hike, and its market share grew to 19.4% from 14.3% in Q1 2016.

    Moving on, national carmaker Proton experienced a marginal increase in sales for Q1 2017, with 19,376 units, a gain of 0.79% or 151 units compared to Q1 2016. It too saw a decline in market share, capturing just 13.8% compared to 14.6% in Q1 2016 – this despite launching four new models (Perdana, Persona, Saga, Ertiga) last year.

    One of the biggest gainers here is Toyota, which experienced a 61.54% sales growth in Q1 2017 from Q1 2016. The brand managed to shift 16,503 units in Q1 2017, and its market share stood at 11.7% (up from Q1 2016’s 7.8%).

    Other Japanese brands like Nissan and Mazda didn’t fare as well, with both facing a decline in sales of 44.41% and 41.39%, respectively. In Q1 2017, Nissan managed to sell 5,989 units and had market share of 4.3% (down from 8.2% in Q1 2016), while Mazda shifted just 2,082 units and accounted for 1.5% of the market (down from 2.7% in Q1 2016.

    Moving on to European marques, Mercedes-Benz took the sixth spot on the list, with Q1 2017 sales numbered at 2,988 units, an increase of 11.62% from Q1 2016. The Three-Pointed Star also saw a bump in its market share to 2.1% from 2.0% in the same period last year.

    Meanwhile, BMW also benefitted from a sales growth in Q1 2017, selling 325 more units compared to the same period last year. Its 2,138 units sold in Q1 2017 resulted in a higher market share of 1.5%, which is 0.1% more than in Q1 2016. Volvo also enjoyed an increase in sales by 1.6% to shift 191 units, although its market share remained unchanged in both periods at 0.1%.

    Other notable brands include Kia (up 21.07% to 1,086 units), Subaru (up 25.07% to 878 units) and Renault (up 27.52% to 139 units). On the other hand, decliners include Audi (down 55.52% to 125 units), Mitsubishi (down 24.30% to 2,178 units), Ford (down 23.75% to 1,499 units) and Hyundai (down 17.21% to 1,299 units).

    Click on the table below to view an enlarged version.

  • Lotus Exige Cup 380 – 53 kg lighter, limited to 60 units

    Building upon the Exige Sport 380 as a base, the Lotus Exige Cup 380 goes further in its quest for weight reduction towards improved performance. Powered by the same 3.5 litre supercharged V6 engine in the Sport 380, it also produces the same 375 hp at 6,700 rpm and 410 Nm of torque at 5,000 rpm here. A close-ratio six-speed manual gearbox is the sole transmission option for the Cup 380.

    The Cup 380’s performance gains come from its weight reduction and aero enhancements. Its dry weight tips the scales at 53 kg less than the Sport 380, and the aerodynamic alterations add up to provide 200 kg of downforce at the Cup 380’s top speed of 282 km/h.

    This is achieved by the extensive use of carbon-fibre components such as the new front splitter, front access panel, bargeboards, roof, diffuser surround, new larger aperture air-intake side pods, one-piece tailgate and a straight-cut, ‘high efficiency motorsport-derived’ rear wing.

    The one-piece tailgate – a sort of tip of the hat to the Evora Sport 410 – in particular saves 6.5 kg, and the omission of gas struts saves a further 1 kg, while the carbon-fibre side pods save 0.5 kg. Inside, the one-piece inner door panels, HVAC console and face-level vent surrounds can also be specified in carbon-fibre, which together save an additional 1 kg.

    A wider set of rear tyres have been specified on the Exige Cup 380, where a pair of 285/30 ZR18 rears measure 20 mm wider than those on the Sport 380. Front tyres are 215/45 ZR17 units as before. The weight savings and increased grip result in a lap time of 1 minute 26 seconds at Lotus’ own track in Hethel, a record for a road-legal Exige, the company says.

    Four user-selectable ESP modes – Drive, Sport, Race and Off – offer a choice of configurations, and the latter three modes increase throttle response, lower the car’s slip thresholds and remove understeer recognition to hand more control to the driver, while a six-position traction control selector gives the choice of 1% to 12% wheel slip in the first five settings, and fully off in the sixth. An exhaust bypass valve also reduces back pressure at higher engine speeds.

    Harnessing the Cup 380’s performance are Nitron two-way adjustable dampers, with Eibach adjustable anti-roll bars front and rear. Braking duties are handled by AP Racing forged four-piston calipers with two-piece grooved brake discs.

    Further options are available on the Exige Cup 380, including a titanium full exhaust system which saves 10 kg, while an FIA compliant roll cage, full race harness, electrical cut-off and fire extinguisher controls can be added. The passenger airbag can be deleted, and similarly a non-airbag steering wheel can be specified. Further personalisation can be commissioned via the Lotus Exclusive programme.

    Available in Essex Blue, Metallic White, Metallic Silver, Metallic Grey and Metallic Black, the Exige Cup 380 comes as a coupe body only, and is limited to 60 units worldwide. The Lotus Exige Cup 380 is priced at £83,000 (RM467,470 – direct conversion, before local taxes) in the United Kingdom, and €109,900 (RM518,241) in Germany.

    GALLERY: Lotus Exige Sport 380

  • Honda Malaysia launches biggest 4S centre in Johor; records 45% sales increase in Q1 2017 from last year

    Honda Malaysia (HM), together with Kah Motor, has opened the biggest Honda 4S centre in Malaysia, which is located in Tebrau, Johor (No.20, Jalan Kencana Emas 2, Kawasan Perindustrian Tebrau III). Built with an investment of RM40 million, the facility comes with a total build-up area of 142,389 square feet.

    It features 37 service bays which are capable of servicing up to 36,000 units per year, as well as 14 body repair bays. Amenities include a large lounge with a cafe counter, an executive lounge, complimentary Wi-Fi services, kid’s corner and a surau.

    According to HM, the Southern region (Johor, Melaka and Negeri Sembilan) contributed about 20% of its total sales in 2016 with more than 18,600 units, and was the second highest sales contributor. Johor accounted for 70% of the region’s sales last year, and the City was the best-selling model in the state.

    The increased sales in Johor has resulted in higher service intakes, with more than 128,000 units in 2016, an increase of 15% from 2015. “The opening of this new, expanded 4S Centre with more facilities is indeed very timely to support the increasing demands and provide more convenience to our growing customer base,” said Honda Malaysia president and chief operating officer, Roslan Abdullah.

    “With Kah Motor’s enlarged service capacity of 100 vehicles per day, we will be able to serve customers’ after sales service requirements even more efficiently. At the same time, the expansion to integrate a Body and Paint Centre into one location adds further convenience for customers,” he added.

    In the first quarter (Q1) of 2017, HM recorded a 45% year-on-year increase in sales compared to the same period in 2016. It continues to maintain its number one position in the non-national segment and second position in overall total industry volume (TIV). HM also achieved a market share of 20.5% in March this year, the highest market share in its sales history.

  • Haval H6 Coupe and H9 for Malaysia – 2.0L turbo engines, CBU, pricing expected to start from RM115k!

    We previously reported on the arrival of the Haval H6 Coupe and H9 in Malaysia back in January, and now, we have some information relating to the models’ specifications for our market. This comes straight from Ahmad Azam Sulaiman, CEO of Go Auto, who spoke to our sister site during Auto Shanghai 2017.

    Firstly, both SUVs are slated to land in Malaysia by Q3 or Q4 this year as fully imported (CBU) models from China. As for pricing, the H6 Coupe is expected to be priced at around RM115,000, while the H9 could retail for RM140,000.

    Focusing on the H6 Coupe, the SUV will occupy the same segment as the Volkswagen Tiguan 1.4 TSI as well as the Hyundai Tucson T-GDI, powered by a 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with direct injection. The mill churns out 194 hp and 315 Nm of torque, and sends drive to the front wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch transmission.

    In its domestic market (China), the H6 is available with the 1.5 litre turbo petrol engine, which is mated to a six-speed automatic, and all-wheel drive is available as an option. However, Go Auto says it has no plans to bring the blown 1.5L version as it would directly compete against its own H2 that is already on sale here.

    Inside the cabin, there’s plenty of soft-touch materials, leather upholstery and pleasant-looking plastics, as my colleague Farid pointed out. A detailed list of equipment fitted on the display car wasn’t provided but from what we can see, there’s a TFT-LCD colour display, electrically adjustable front seats, an Audi-esque gear selector (with paddle shifters), dual-zone climate control, smart key and push-start button.

    As for the H9, the ladder-frame SUV will replace the H5 when it arrives, packing a direct-injected 2.0 litre turbo four-pot. In the H9, the engine outputs 158 hp and 324 Nm of torque, which is more than the H5’s 2.0L VGT turbodiesel (148 hp/310 Nm), paired with a ZF-sourced six-speed auto and all-wheel drive system.

    The H9 is available in three trim levels – Standard, Luxury and Super Luxury – although Go Auto has yet to decide which will be destined for Malaysia. Among the premium features available on the H9 is a retractable running board that automatically presents itself when the doors are open to help with entry and exit.

    Other bits of kit shown here include a colour display screen for the infotainment system, automatic air-conditioning (with second-row blower), push-start button and even an Infinity audio system. The H9 will compete against the Isuzu MU-X, Toyota Fortuner and Ford Everest.

    GALLERY: Haval H6 Coupe 2.0 GDIT

    GALLERY: Haval H9 2.0L Turbo 4×4

  • Autonomous car dev turn to GTA for quicker progress

    What could possibly go wrong, one may ask, when development of real autonomous cars turn to a computer game such as Grand Theft Auto for help. The idea isn’t as ludicrous as it may seem, because there aren’t enough hours in a day to rack up mileage in the real world in order to teach cars to drive on their own, according to a Bloomberg report.

    “Just relying on data from the roads is not practical. With simulation, you can run the same scenario over and over again infinitely, then test it again,” said Davide Bacchet of Nio, the startup company of EP9 fame, which aims to bring an autonomous car to the US market in 2020.

    It’s said that the benefits of computer game simulation are two-fold: the software in games are able to generate data that is very close to what will be encountered in real life, and the virtual environment allows simulations to be conducted much more quickly than in real-world exercises.

    The game “is the richest virtual environment that we could extract data from,” said Alain Kornhauser, a Princeton University professor of operations research and financial engineering, who advises the Princeton Autonomous Vehicle Engineering team.

    Meanwhile at Toyota’s research institute in California, its engineers try to simulate the toughest conditions possible by running what’s known as the Quick Brown Fox test: extensive tests conducted in the most challenging weather and traffic conditions.

    Despite obvious limitations, the human brain is still superior to a computer when it comes to assessing real-world risk, such as anticipating a child running in chase of a ball that has bounced across a street. There lies the challenge for all parties aiming for a market lead in autonomous mobility – to make computer systems better and safer drivers than humans.

    Simulation should be “an acceptable equivalent to real-word testing,” albeit followed up with validation, Gill Pratt, chief executive officer of the Toyota institute told a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee. It would appear that this is a path increasingly adopted by developers of autonomous systems, with the apparent benefits of time-saving progress.

  • AWAS – traffic offenders will not be charged twice

    Motorists need not fear about being charged in court twice for a single offence registered under AWAS, the automated awareness safety system that integrates AES (Automated Enforcement System) and the Kejara demerit points system. The system went online on April 1.

    Transport minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said traffic offenders will not be charged separately for the summons and demerit points they receive for an offence, The Star reports.

    He refuted claims that the system’s workings would make all AWAS-related offences a case of “double jeopardy,” saying such a situation would not arise because offenders will only be charged once.

    “Double jeopardy is when you are charged in court twice for the same offence, which is not the case here. Offenders will only be charged in court once for an offence. There is no double jeopardy, because the Act states we can issue a summons and demerit points. All this is already addressed in the JPJ Act,” Liow explained.

    He said that the deduction of points will only be made under the Kejara system. “The public should not confuse police and JPJ enforcement because it is different from Kejara,” he said. He added that Kejara was currently used for two offences (traffic and speeding), but will be expanded to other offences in future.

    Liow added that though some information was already availble on the Road Transport Department (JPJ) website, more details on the matter were needed. He said he had instructed JPJ to provide a clearer explanation on how these offences are processed, and assured the public that more details will be provided soon.

  • Petronas dealers free to offer discounts on fuel prices

    According to a report by The Star, Petronas will allow its dealers to lower fuel prices at their pumps below the weekly ceiling price set by the government. However, it stressed that dealers looking to do so must seek the approval of the domestic trade, cooperatives and consumerism ministry (KPDNKK), and discuss such a move with Petronas Dagangan (PetDag) beforehand.

    “If dealers decide to sell at a lower price, they are responsible for their margins and not us. It is all tied up with sales volumes and margins,” said Mohd Ibrahimnuddin Mohd Yunus, PetDag managing director and CEO. He added that the price-setting mechanism does not impact PetDag’s earnings.

    “Last year, we cut our inventory day to four to five days from six a year earlier. We are looking to cut our inventory days further, especially with higher volatility in world crude oil recently,” PetDag chairman Md Arif Mahmood chimed in.

    “It is not a new mechanism that is giving us more money. It is still under the same managed float system. The only difference is that this is just a shorter timeline and is better when it comes to managing the volatility of global crude prices,” he explained.

    The weekly fuel price announcements began three weeks ago, and fuel retailers are currently not allowed to offer discounts on fuel, and must follow the retail price set by KPDNKK. As of now, RON 95 is priced at RM 2.27 per litre; RON 97 at RM2.54 per litre; Euro 2M diesel at RM2.21 per litre; and Euro 5 diesel at RM2.31 per litre.


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