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  • VW ‘Polo P’ project – imparting skills to young drivers

    Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia (VPCM) today launched the “Polo P” project, dedicated to educating and empowering newly-licensed probationary drivers with skills and knowledge to stay safe on the road.

    The Polo P project will take place at selected college and university campuses. Over the course of a weekend, young participants will be taught basic car maintenance, visual checkpoints, proper sitting and steering positions, and defensive driving, which includes emergency braking and a slalom course.

    All driving exercises will be conducted in the Volkswagen Polo hatchback, which VPCM says is the perfect ride for the young, and young at heart. The B-segment five-door hatch is powered by a 1.6 litre MPI engine with 105 PS and 153 Nm of torque. The naturally aspirated four-pot is mated to a six-speed conventional automatic transmission with Tiptronic. Claimed combined fuel consumption is 6.3 litres per 100 km.

    The Polo P project kicks off this weekend at UTAR’s Sg Long campus. The initiative will head to Nilai University on April 8-9, Taylor’s University Lakeside Campus on July 8-9 and Sunway College (Johor Bahru) on July 19-20.

  • DRB-Hicom announces that all of Proton’s FSP bidders remain in the running – is Geely still in the picture?

    Ah, the tangled tango continues to twirl. It seems that every automaker that submitted a bid to become Proton’s foreign strategic partner (FSP) is still very much in the picture, which means that Zhejiang Geely‘s reported exit from the scene may just be conjecture.

    The automaker’s parent, DRB-Hicom, confirmed via a statement issued earlier this evening that all bidders are still in the running, and it was in the process of evaluating these bids. The corporation reiterated that the process is a complex one and that it intends to ensure that the chosen FSP will result in a win-win situation for all parties.

    It added that because each party will be looking to secure the most beneficial deal that aligns with its own plans, the nature of negotiations means that it is a common occurrence that a lot of discussion and strong debate takes place, depending on what is put on the table. Undoubtedly, opinion as well.

    On Tuesday, a report broke the news that Geely had pulled out of its bid for a partnership with Proton. Geely president An Conghui had reportedly said that the automaker had pulled out of negotiations with Proton, but did not elaborate on the reasons for the decision. Earlier, Geely chairman Li Shufu had indicated that the Chinese company was planning to withdraw its bid due to DRB-Hicom’s indecision regarding the partnership.

    Based on this latest announcement by DRB-Hicom, it would seem that the status quo is restored, with Geely and Groupe PSA being the leading contenders to become Proton’s FSP. The duo are the only known automakers named as being involved in discussions with the national carmaker.

    The French company has confirmed it submitted a bid for a partnership with Proton, announcing last month it was in talks with the Malaysian carmaker for a deal. The French automaker has been on a business expansion exercise of late, and a partnership with Proton will offer it access to the latter’s Tanjung Malim production facilities, which it can utilise as an export base for South East Asian operations.

    Geely is also looking at the plant as a base to build right-hand drive versions of its Lynk & Co 01 SUV for export to various RHD markets such as the UK and Australia. It was also reported that Geely has plans to establish Proton as an entry-level brand within its overall structure, and that it was also intent in securing Lotus as part of the tie-up.

    The announcement of which automaker will become Proton’s FSP is expected to be made by May, according to the latest news on the timeline. Until the fat lady sings, however, expect more speculation and conjecture to crop up. Because, really, you can expect no less.

  • Mazda Mega Carnival – Mazda 3 now from RM99,000

    Over the next three weekends, official Mazda distributor Bermaz is holding a Mazda Mega Carnival that promises discounts on the Mazda 3 and CX-5. The former can now be had from as low as RM99,000, around RM7,000 cheaper than the original retail price of the base GL sedan model.

    The company is also offering deals on its pre-owned vehicles, with prices starting from RM60,000. Selected showrooms will organise test drives, and customers will receive instant gifts when they sign up, as well as be in the running to win Mazda Bonanza Vouchers worth over RM300,000 in total.

    The first Mazda Mega Carnival will take place this weekend, March 25 and 26, at the Mazda Puchong showroom in Bandar Puteri. Then, it will move to Mazda Kajang on Jalan Semenyih and Mazda Shah Alam in Padang Jawa on April 1 and 2, before ending at Mazda Ampang along Jalan Ampang and Mazda Glenmarie on April 8 and 9.

  • Ford Ranger 3.2L WildTrak Jet Black edition – RM142k

    Sime Darby Auto Connexion (SDAC) has announced a limited edition Ford Ranger WildTrak, dressed up in a Jet Black scheme. Previously only available in Pride Orange and Cool White, the edition sees the 3.2L WildTrak Automatic 4×4 High Rider going the black route. The special T6 facelift also gets twin grey racing stripes running from bonnet to tail complete the cosmetic work.

    No mechanical changes to the 3.2 litre five-cylinder Duratorq TDCi mill, with the Puma P5AT retaining its 197 hp at 3,000 rpm and 470 Nm of torque at 1,750 to 2,500 rpm output numbers, or to the 6R80 six-speed automatic transmission.

    The interior continues on as is, likewise specifications and kit. The 3.2L WildTrak comes equipped with a SYNC 3 infotainment system, the first Ford model to get the system locally. Key features of the system, which takes over from SYNC 2, include an eight-inch touchscreen with capacitive touch technology that allows ‘pinch and swipe’ capability on select features as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration and Spotify, Pandora and Google Maps+ compatibility.

    The Ford Ranger 3.2L WildTrak Jet Black limited edition is priced at RM141,588 on-the-road without insurance, a slight hike from the RM139,838 asked for the standard 3.2L WildTrak.

  • PLUS toll plazas to go fully electronic effective April 26

    toll plaza plus

    Motorists travelling on highways operated by PLUS will have to pay their toll charges via PLUSMiles, Touch ‘n Go or SmartTag effective April 26, as cash transactions will no longer be accepted by that date, according to a Bernama report. The exercise is a continuation of the initiative which was implemented in 2008, and will involve 71 toll plazas between Juru (Penang), and Skudai (Johor).

    “The system is much faster than the cash method, with SmartTAG and Touch ‘n Go lanes capable of handling up to 1,000 and 600 transactions per hour, respectively,” said managing director Datuk Azman Ismail in a statement today. Towards the end of last year, PLUS announced that all of its highways will adopt the electronic toll collection system by 2017.

    Currently, 94% of motorists on the Juru-Skudai stretch of the highway pay for tolls electronically, and PLUS will take measures to ensure that journeys on its highways are smooth with minimal interference from the electronic toll collection systems, Azman said.

  • Ford F-150 Raptor – UK gets RHD conversion option

    The Ford F-150 Raptor nameplate is hugely popular in its native United States, and now the American pick-up truck is available in the United Kingdom as a right-hand-drive model. The right-hook Raptor is an optional conversion courtesy of a Sutton Bespoke programme, which costs 36,000 pound sterling (RM199,111) on top of the Raptor’s 78,000 pound sterling (RM431,401) on-the-road price in the UK.

    As in the United States, the converted F-150 Raptor is powered by a 3.5 litre, EcoBoost turbocharged V6 petrol engine with 450 hp and 691 Nm of torque at its disposal, channeled to all four wheels via a 10-speed automatic transmission. The UK-market Raptor is available in two forms, a two-door SuperCab with rearward opening aft doors, while the SuperCrew model sports full-sized rear doors with more cabin space.

    The right-hand-drive conversion uses precision-sculpted mouldings of interior components, which are then applied to the interior by craftsmen who will create a mirrored configuration of the vehicle’s dashboard appearance and steering assembly.

    Additional options can be specified upon request, which include 10-way electrically-adjustable and heated seats, dual-zone climate control, all-around camera setup, twin-panel moonroof, as well as a trailer package with Ford Backup Assist for reversing with a trailer attached.

    Services rendered by Sutton Bespoke isn’t limited to the right-hand-drive conversion. The specialist operation can also offer a performance kit for the 3.5 EcoBoost V6 engine, bringing its outputs to over 590 bhp. As standard, the 2017 F-150 Raptor is fitted with FOX Racing dampers, and offers 13 inches of suspension travel at the front, with 13.9 inches of travel at the rear.

    GALLERY: 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor

  • 2017 Yamaha YZF-R6 power figure released – 116.7 hp

    The last man standing in the supersports 600 class, the 2017 Yamaha YZF-R6, has had its horsepower number officially released – 116.7 hp at 14,500 rpm. This is coupled with a claimed torque figure of 61.7 Nm at 10,500 rpm, all coming from a 599 cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled inline-four.

    With Honda removing the CBR600RR from its line-up this year, and Suzuki following suit with the GSX-R600, only Yamaha and Kawasaki are left from the Japanese big four that still offer a pure 600 cc supersports machine in the catalogue. With the Kawasaki ZX-6R overdue for an update, Yamaha has been pro-active and done this to the YZF-R6.

    Coming with six-mode traction control, and an additional “off” mode for track use, Yamaha has built-in traction control to suit all levels of rider. The software is designed to eliminate any unnatural feeling when it intervenes, and also compensates for rear tyre wear to give consistent performance.

    This is coupled with the YZF-R6’s up-shift only quickshifter, to give efficient acceleration through the six-speed gearbox. Up front, the R6 gets a front end with styling cues taken from Yamaha’s flagship superbike, the YZF-R1.

    On the suspension side of things, 43mm YZF-R1 type front forks with YZF-R6 specific settings are installed, working together with 320 mm diameter YZF-R1 type front brakes with radial four-pot calipers. Suspension is fully-adjustable front and rear, where the back is suspended with a KYB monoshock.

    New for 2017 is an aluminium 17-litre fuel tank that shaves weight on the YZF-R6, while also aiding rider movement and at the same time giving the rider grip when in the racing position. A magnesium sub-frame shaves more grammes off the YZF-R6, reducing weight by 1.2 kg over a similar steel assembly, and bringing wet weight to 190 kg.

    This weight-loss also extends to the magnesium engine head and case covers, and the aluminium frame and swingarm. A titanium exhaust end-can caps off the Yamaha YZF-R6, emphasising the reason for this machine is performance and handling.

    Coming in Race Blu and Tech Black, the YZF-R6 will come with an extensive range of official performance accessories, some of which are intended for racing purposes only. The 2017 Yamaha YZF-R6 will be released worldwide in April. However, our source in Hong Leong Yamaha Malaysia has confirmed that the YZF-R6 will not be officially imported.

  • Volvo S90, V90 launched in M’sia: T5 and T6 R-Design, semi-autonomous driving as standard, from RM389k

    After teasing the Volvo S90 and V90 for nearly a year on its website, Volvo Car Malaysia has finally launched the two cars. The executive sedan and wagon come to the market in fully-imported (CBU) form first, before locally-assembled (CKD) units arrive later on. Also set to arrive later on are the T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid models to take advantage of hybrid and electric vehicle tax breaks, but it’s petrol only for now.

    Both models are identical in spec, and are available in T5 and T6 AWD R-Design trims. The S90 T5 is priced at RM388,888, while the more powerful T6 retails at RM453,888. Meanwhile, the V90 T5 and T6 are both RM5,000 more expensive than their sedan counterparts, at RM393,888 and RM458,888 respectively. All prices are on-the-road without insurance, inclusive of a five-year/120,000 km warranty.

    All models get Volvo’s signature “Thor’s Hammer” LED headlights – with Active Bending Lights and Active High Beam Control on the T6 – as well as with LED tail lights with Adaptive Brake Lights. The T5 variants roll on 18-inch turbine design alloy wheels.

    The T6 tacks on an R-Design appearance package consisting of a more aggressive front bumper, a unique gloss black grille, deeper side skirts, satin silver door mirror caps and a body-coloured rear diffuser with quad exhaust exits. A set of 19-inch diamond-cut five-spoke alloy wheels are also included in the package, as are front fog lights with cornering function.

    Buyers get a choice between five exterior colours – Onyx Black, Ice White, Osmium Grey and Bright Silver are shared among all variants. The T5 variants get another Mussel Blue option, while the T6 R-Design models receive the signature Bursting Blue hue.

    Inside, the T5 gains comfort seats in either Charcoal (black), Amber (tan) and Blonde (cream) leather, along with Iron Ore or Dark Flame Birch decorative trim. Meanwhile, the T6 is available exclusively with sportier contour seats with Charcoal Nubuck and perforated Nappa leather, as well as a choice of Metal Mesh and carbon fibre inlays and Charcoal headlining. There are R-Design steering wheel, gearlever and pedals, too.

    Standard kit includes keyless entry and start, automated parking, dual-zone automatic climate control with CleanZone filtration and rear air vents, 12-way power-adjustable front seats with lumbar and driver’s side memory, rear booster cushions, a 12.3-inch instrument display, Sensus Connect infotainment with a nine-inch portrait-format touchscreen, a 10-speaker, 330 W sound system and a reverse camera.

    Stepping up to the T6 nets you illuminated door handles, puddle lamps, laminated side windows, a power sunroof (panoramic for V90), rear sunblinds, a head-up display, paddle shifters, Navigation Pro with Road Sign Information, a 360-degree camera, sport chassis and a Nappa leather-wrapped key fob. Strangely enough, the range-topping S90 omits the T5’s rear booster cushions, although the V90 T6 retains them.

    In terms of convenience, all models come with power-folding outer rear seats and headrests and grocery hooks, along with a tonneau cover on the V90; the V90 T6 adds a grocery bag holder. All V90 models feature a powered tailgate with handsfree operation, while a powered bootlid is only offered on the S90 T6.

    Safety-wise, all models come with the IntelliSafe suite of active safety features, including City Safety autonomous emergency braking – which operates at speeds between 4 and 70 km/h and can detect vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and large animals.

    Also fitted as standard is Volvo’s Pilot Assist semi-autonomous driving with Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Queue Assist and Lane Keeping Aid (LKA) to keep the car in the middle of its lane and at a set distance from the car in front at speeds of up to 130 km/h.

    Other features include Driver Alert Control (DAC), Run Off Road Mitigation and Protection with Road Edge Detection, Lane Departure Warning, Rear Collision Warning and Mitigation, Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) and Cross Traffic Alert (CTA).

    All this is on top of the usual active and passive safety features, including six airbags, seat belt pretensioners on all seats, ABS with EBD and brake assist, stability control with Active Yaw Control, Understeer Control Logic and brake-operated Dynamic Torque Vectoring, hill descent control, Ready Alert Brake (RAB) and Fading Brake Support (FBS).

    The S90 measures 4,963 mm long, 1,879 mm wide and 1,443 mm tall, with a wheelbase of 2,941 mm. The V90, on the other hand is 27 mm shorter at 4,936 mm and 32 mm taller at 1,475 mm. Open the S90’s bootlid and you’ll find a 500 litre boot; do the same for the V90 and you’ll be staring at a 913 litre load bay, expandable to 1,526 litres with the rear seats folded.

    Powering the T5 is a 2.0 litre Drive-E turbocharged petrol four-cylinder engine, producing 254 hp at 5,500 rpm and 350 Nm from 1,500 to 4,800 rpm; an Aisin eight-speed automatic transmission sends power to the front wheels. The T6 gains a more powerful version of that engine, adding a supercharger to push outputs to 320 hp at 5,700 rpm and 400 Nm between 2,200 and 5,400 rpm. There’s also an all-wheel drive system.

    Browse full specifications and equipment of both the Volvo S90 and V90, as well as get the best deals on a new car on

    GALLERY: Volvo S90 T5 with optional appearance package

    GALLERY: Volvo S90 T6 AWD R-Design
    GALLERY: Volvo V90 T5
    GALLERY: Volvo V90 T6 AWD R-Design

  • Minimal weekly fuel price changes acceptable – PDAM

    The recent move to a weekly fuel price announcement should not pose problems if the changes are not too great, said Datuk Khairul Annuar, president of the Petrol Dealers Association of Malaysia in a report by The Star. Dealers’ fuel stock would be sold at a loss if the ceiling price is reduced by more than 10 sen compared with the week before, he said.

    “We are hoping the weekly change will be five sen and below, and that the quantum is not too big so that it will not affect our profitability,” he said in an interview. Earlier this week, it was reported that changes in fuel prices will be announced every Wednesday, beginning March 29. Each new price announcement will be enforced the next day.

    Consumers’ buying patterns would not be adversely affected if the weekly change was not too great, Khairul said, adding that the domestic trade, co-operatives and consumer affairs ministry (KPDNKK) had assured they would control the price war should there be any change in fuel price at the pumps, as any change from the ceiling price would require the ministry’s approval.

    “Small players will go out of business if it is free competition,” he said. The PDAM was initially unhappy with the move to weekly price revisions, but later welcomed the decision.

  • Geely was keenly eyeing Lotus, looking at building Lynk & Co 01 SUV in Tanjung Malim with Proton deal

    Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely, reported to have withdrawn its bid to acquire a controlling stake in Proton, was said to be looking at the national carmaker’s Tanjung Malim plant as a base to build right-hand drive versions of its Lynk & Co 01 SUV if the deal had gone through. The offering from its new sub-brand would have been set for export to various markets like the UK and Australia.

    According to Autocar, Geely also had plans to establish Proton as an entry-level brand within its overall structure. A source from the Chinese carmaker told the publication on the sidelines of the Geneva Motor Show earlier this month that the Chinese carmaker was also intent in securing Lotus as part of the tie-up.

    “Geely has established itself as a reputable middle-class brand in China thanks to its links with Volvo. The purchase of Proton would give it a new entry-level point, which is considered crucial to further growth,” the source told the publication.

    As for Lotus, Geely had been eyeing the British sports car maker very keenly. “My chairman is desperate to buy a sports car maker. We’ve spoken to Aston Martin and others, but Lotus has always been the target,” he added.

    On Tuesday, a report indicated that Geely had pulled out of negotiations with the national automaker, the move being confirmed by Geely president An Conghui. An did not elaborate on the reasons for the decision, but earlier this month, the Chinese carmaker’s chairman Li Shufu had indicated that it was planning to pull out of the bidding process due to DRB-Hicom’s indecision regarding the partnership.

    Securing a partnership with Proton would have allowed Geely access to Proton’s underutilised facilities as a production and export base, expanding the company’s presence in the South East Asian region by tapping into right-hand drive (RHD) markets via Proton. Sources had indicated that Geely promised DRB-Hicom some of the latest vehicle technologies it has developed with Volvo’s input as part of the deal.

    The announcement of Geely’s withdrawal from the chase means that Groupe PSA remains as the leading – and thus far, the only publicly known – contender to become Proton’s foreign strategic partner. The French company – which is on a global expansion exercise – confirmed it submitted a bid for a partnership with Proton, announcing last month it was in talks with the Malaysian carmaker for a deal.


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