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  • Mazda 2 begins production in Thailand; first cars bound for Australia with ASEAN units to follow

    2014 Mazda2 19

    Mazda Motor Corporation has officially announced in a press release that production of the new Mazda 2 has begun at its Thai production facility, Auto Alliance Thailand (AAT). The first batch of cars to roll off the production line will be headed for the Australian market. AAT is the second facility to produce the Mazda 2 after initial production began at Mazda’s Hofu plant.

    Mazda’s AAT plant has been producing the Mazda 2 since September 2009 and has churned out a total of 182,663 units as of July 2014. The Mazda 2 that is currently on sale right now is assembled at the same plant in Rayong, Thailand – which is also where the Ford Fiesta is built.

    Following up from the Aussie-bound units, AAT will begin production of the new 2 for the ASEAN market as well as other countries in the Oceania region. In Mexico, the company’s new plant, Mazda de Mexico Vehicle Operation (MMVO) will complete the global supply system when it begins production within 2014.

    The arrival of the new Mazda 2 is not far away with local distributor, Bermaz, already aiming to price the car competitively. Check out our driving impression of the new Mazda 2 here.

  • Mazda 2 aimed to be priced under RM90k, Mazda 3 CKD to arrive early 2015, CX-3 expected end-2015

    Local Mazda distributor Bermaz is aiming to price the upcoming 2015 Mazda 2 below RM90,000, according to a recent investor’s report from RHB Research.

    The company was previously said to be unable to push the price of the Thai-built new supermini – which is expected to arrive early next year – below the RM100,000 mark due to the expensive SkyActiv technology the 2 now employs, which would put the car above virtually all its competitors.

    The new target price will undoubtedly be more palatable for buyers and put the car firmly in contention with class mainstays such as the Ford Fiesta and Honda Jazz – the former tops out at RM93,888 for the 1.0 EcoBoost model, the latter at RM85,314 for the 1.5 V.


    Despite this development (and presumably due to the still-ongoing nature of the discussions), RHB Research is estimating a conservative 2016 sales figure of just 5,000 units for the new 2.

    Early-2015 is also when the locally-assembled Mazda 3 is slated to arrive, delayed from its previously expected debut next month. RHB Research predicts a sub-RM120,000 price tag for the CKD model, a significant reduction from the current Japanese-built 2.0 litre model which retails at RM138,159. A 1.5 litre model, previously reported to come in at under RM90k, was not mentioned in the report.

    mazda minagi 1A rendering of the Mazda Minagi concept that eventually became the CX-5

    Pricing the 2.0 litre model at under RM120,000 would undercut rivals such as the RM131,608 Volkswagen Jetta 1.4 TSI, the RM133,230 Honda Civic 2.0 Navi and the RM136,098 Toyota Corolla Altis 2.0 V (with the Additional Safety Package).

    The same report also mentioned that the yet-to-be-launched Mazda CX-3 will arrive by the end of next year, taking the fight to the Ford EcoSport, the Peugeot 2008 and the soon-to-arrive Honda HR-V/Vezel. Looks like the burgeoning local B-segment crossover market is set to be the one to watch!

  • W205 Mercedes-Benz C-Class launched, from RM286k


    Exactly 10 months after it was revealed to the world (and merely nine since it made its public debut), the W205 Mercedes-Benz C-Class has arrived in Malaysia. The new compact executive sedan comes in two flavours for our market – the C 200 Avantgarde for RM285,888 and C 250 Exclusive for RM314,888 (both on-the-road, without insurance).

    The available engine options for this “baby W222 S-Class” mirror those offered on the facelifted W212 E-Class range – 2.0 litre turbocharged direct injection four-cylinder units, paired to a seven-speed 7G-Tronic Plus automatic transmission. Power, of course, is sent to the rear wheels.

    With 184 hp and 300 Nm of torque (same power but with 30 Nm more than the model it replaces), the C 200 gets from 0-100 km/h in 7.3 seconds (0.5 seconds faster than before), on to a top speed of 235 km/h. Efficiency us up too, from 6.4 litres per 100 km (15.6 km/l) to just 5.3 litres per 100 km (18.9 km/l).


    In the C 250, the same engine is boosted to 211 hp and 350 Nm, getting from 0-100 km/h in 6.6 seconds (seven hp and 40 Nm more, 0.6 seconds quicker than before). Top speed is up by 10 km/h, now limited to 250 km/h. It’ll also average 5.3 litre per 100 km (18.9 km/l), with an ECO start/stop function standard on both models.

    You can check out our in-depth car comparison tool on to see how the W205 C-Class fits in terms of engine outputs and performance against all of its closest rivals, in this case the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Infiniti Q50 and Lexus IS.

    Both fully imported (CBU) from South Africa (with CKD models set to come later), the two models have distinctly different designs inside and out, owing to their own trim lines (Avantgarde/Exclusive). Two sets of faces are available like on the outgoing model, but this time it’s the lower variant that gets the more sporty treatment.

    LED headlights (but not the full-fledged adaptive system) are standard on both models, but the C 200 Avantgarde comes with a sports grille with a centrally-mounted star, while the C 250 Exclusive has Merc’s traditional grille and standing hood ornament. The latter has what Mercedes calls the Airpanel – active louvres that open or close (depending on cooling requirements) to improve aerodynamic efficiency. The louvres are closed in their default position when parked.

    Further model differentiators include the front splitter/valance shapes, silver highlights on the (fake) lower intakes on the Avantgarde, wheel designs (both 17-inchers with run-flat tyres) and the exhaust/diffuser combination round the back (chrome lines on the Avantgarde, real exhaust outlets on the C 250 Exclusive).

    They are quite different inside too, with the C 200 Avantgarde having a piano black centre console instead of the C 250 Exclusive’s wood decor. The former gets aluminium door trims (wood on C 250), while the latter has leather-covered dashboard and door panels, plus an analogue clock integrated into the centre cluster (the clock is only available in the Exclusive trim line). The seat rib pattern is unique to each trim line, while the C 200 Avantgarde has perforated leather on its steering wheel. Buyers can choose between black, grey or cream upholstery (depending on the chosen exterior colour).

    Equipment-wise, both variants get the basic Audio 20 CD with Touchpad system, fitted with a Garmin MAP Pilot navigation system. This is linked to the free-standing tablet-like screen, which houses a 7.0-inch display – not the larger 8.4-inch unit that comes with the full COMAND Online package available internationally.

    You also get an Agility Select Switch (affects the steering weight, throttle response and transmission maps), powered front seats with memory, rear (powered) and side (manual) window blinds, LED Ambient Lighting (with three colour options), auto lights and wipers, cruise control, reverse camera and Active Parking Assist (auto-park feature) on either model.

    They’re not all the same, however. The C 200 Avantgarde gets an Agility Control suspension that’s lowered by 15 mm, compared to the C 250 Exclusive’s comfort setup. Both are passive systems, as the adaptive Airmatic suspension that has made its way on to the C-Class isn’t available locally. The range-topper also adds on a sunroof, Air Balance (active fragrancing, air ionisation) and proper keyless entry (over the C 200’s keyless engine start).


    On the safety front, the W205 C-Class comes with seven airbags (front, side, curtain and driver’s knee bag), Collision Prevention Assist Plus (partial autonomous braking at speeds of up to 200 km/h, able to prevent rear end collisions at up to 40 km/h), Isofix anchors on the rear seats and Mercedes-Benz’s usual PRE-SAFE system.

    Dimensionally, too, this is a step-up from the outgoing W204 model. It’s now 4,686 mm long (+95 mm longer) and 1,810 mm wide (+40 mm), and it sits on a 2,840-mm wheelbase (+80 mm). By using more aluminium in its construction, though, it’s also lighter by as much as 100 kg. The boot can hold 480 litres of luggage, and the rear seats can be folded down flat for extra space.

    For more on the W205 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, read Anthony Lim’s thorough review from the press drive in France, or refer to for its full specifications and equipment list.

    W205 Mercedes-Benz C 200 Avantgarde

    W205 Mercedes-Benz C 250 Exclusive

  • JPJ releases ceiling prices for driving school courses


    The Road Transport Department (JPJ) has posted ceiling prices for driving school courses on its Facebook page. All driving institutes and schools must not charge more than these figures for their courses, it said.

    Additionally, any driving institute or school charging more than these prices for their courses can be reported to or directly to the state JPJ director (Pengarah JPJ Negeri) and director of drivers’ licensing (Pengarah Pelesenan Pemandu) at Head Office, it said.

    The release of the ceiling prices predate the implementation of the new Drivers’ Education Curriculum (KPP) syllabus, which has been postponed from August 1. The new curriculum is said to focus on producing courteous and disciplined drivers, rather than the current curriculum’s said dexterity and traffic rule comprehension.

  • Perodua Axia orders hit 13,500 units as of launch date; company to target 30,000 units by end of 2014

    Perodua_Axia_Standard_Launch_ 001

    Initial bookings for the new Perodua Axia have hit 13,500 units – a record high for the manufacturer, as of September 15, according to Perodua president and CEO Datuk Aminar Rashid. Not surprising when you consider the fact that the order books are chalking up around 500-600 bookings a day since order-taking began on the morning of August 19.

    Perodua is projecting the final sales figure for the Axia to amount to 30,000 units by the end of this year. Out of the six available variants, the mid-spec Standard G variant with the manual and automatic transmission form the bulk of the orders – around 50% split between two transmission options. The AV, or Advance variant, along with the basic Standard E variant make up for 16%-17% of the remaining total orders with the other variants filling up the rest.

    Bookings for the base Standard E have exceeded P2’s expectations; driving schools are placing orders

    Driving schools have also taken an interest in the new Axia – with one school placing a fleet order for the Standard E variant, with more set to follow over the next one or two years. With the Standard E variant coming without a radio and speakers, some may assume that only driving schools would order the car with this specification but customers apparently are interested as well, with the Standard E variant having 16% of orders for the base car as opposed to Perodua’s own projection of 4%-5% for said spec.

    The waiting period for the new Axia has been pegged at a maximum of two months – best case scenario, from the date of order. As of now, customers will have to wait for around a month and a half before taking deliveries of their car. Read more about the specifications of the new Perodua Axia here and have a look at our story of the launch event.

  • VIDEO: 2014 Perodua Axia Features Presentation

    This product video was part of the Perodua Axia’s launch ceremony. If you prefer learning about the product in audio visual form instead of reading through paragraphs of text, you’ll want to watch this – Perodua takes us through the various features and equipment of the new Perodua Axia.

    Of course, we plan on coming up with our own walk-around video soon, so watch out for that one to learn about the Axia from a third party perspective. For now, enjoy the video above.

  • VIDEO: Perodua snubs Proton in Axia launch gambit

    Perodua did something cheeky during the Perodua Axia‘s launch gambit last night. During one of the scenes showcasing the Axia’s claimed fuel economy, the numbers counted up to 18.2 km/L and paused for a while before rising up to the Axia’s claimed 21.6 km/L.

    No official word about it, but this is clearly a reference to the Axia’s 1.0 litre 1KR-DE’s number beating the fuel economy figures released by Proton on the PCC/Iriz‘s new 1.6 litre VVT engine last week – 5.5 litres per 100 km at a constant 90 km/h, which translates to 18.2 km/L. Proton also claims NEDC cycle numbers of 6.6 litres and 7.4 litres per 100 km for the manual and CVT variants respectively.

    Of course, the Perodua Axia is not in direct competition with the new baby Proton – one being in the A-segment and the other in the B-segment, one having a small three-cylinder engine and the other, a bigger (comparatively, of course) four-cylinder engine – but Perodua president and CEO Datuk Aminar Rashid was quick to wish the first national carmaker well on its new car.

    “We wish them well, we hope this is the turning point for Proton,” he said yesterday at the pre-launch press conference. “We are in different segments, and each (product) has its own strengths. Let’s together be successful.”

    You can watch the video below for the launch gambit – skip to the 1 minute 26 second mark for the part with the fuel economy numbers.

  • Perodua extends five-year warranty to Myvi, Alza with immediate effect, three-year free service discontinued

    Perodua president and CEO Datuk Aminar Rashid revealed to members of the media yesterday that the recently-launched Axia‘s five-year/150,000 km factory warranty will be extended to the Myvi and Alza with immediate effect, making it now standard across all Perodua models.

    However, with that extension, the three-year/60,000 km free service package previously offered with the Myvi and Alza is discontinued. Along with free service, the Myvi and Alza previously came with a three-year/100,000 km factory warranty, with the option of a two-year/50,000 km extended warranty package.

    He also shared that Perodua is on track with regards to its pre-owned vehicle programme, with operations having already begun in the northern and southern regions of the peninsular. The East Coast, Sabah and Sarawak are set to follow suit. Perodua also aims to have its first pre-owned vehicle retail outlet by the end of the year.

  • Perodua Axia launched – final prices lower than estimated, from RM24,600 to RM42,530 on-the-road

    Perodua Axia launch

    The first of the two small hatchbacks from the two national car companies making their debut this month has arrived – the Perodua Axia is the first of the duo to arrive, the car being officially launched moments ago at an event in the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

    As has already been mentioned in previous articles, the Axia – touted by its maker as the nation’s first energy efficient vehicle (EEV) – is an A-segment five-door hatchback, effectively the replacement for the Viva, which has been around since 2007.

    Bigger than the Viva, almost the equal of the Myvi

    The successor, based on the Daihatsu Ayla sold in Indonesia, is a slightly larger car – the Axia measures 3,640 mm long, 1,620 mm wide and 1,510 mm tall, with a 2,455 mm wheelbase, while the Viva stretches the tape at 3,575 mm long (-65 mm) and 1,475 mm wide (-145 mm). It is marginally taller than the Axia, at 1,530 mm (+20 mm).

    Comparing further, the Ayla – which provides the basis for the Axia – is 3,580 mm long (-60 mm), 1,600 mm wide (-20 mm) and 1,510 mm tall (equal), with a 2,450 mm wheelbase (-5 mm).

    The Viva, meanwhile, has a 2,390 mm-long wheelbase (-60 mm). How the Axia stacks up in terms of exterior dimensions – against both the Viva and in-segment competitors – is tabled in a graphic here.

    Other quick numbers are a 260 litre boot space, a significant improvement over that offered by the Viva, which is a mere 146 litres (-114 litres). The Axia’s cargo carrying capacity is even an improvement over that of the Myvi, which offers 208 litres of space.

    While not in direct competition with each other, here’s a quick look at how the Axia measures up against the other upcoming debutant, the Proton Compact Car. The one-segment up “Iriz,” which is actually a Myvi-fighter, measures in at 3,905 mm long (+265 mm), 1,720 mm wide (+100 mm) and 1,550 mm tall (+40 mm), with a 2,555 mm wheelbase (+105 mm). It does have a smaller boot though, at 215 litres (-45 litres).

    The interior’s dimensions continue the progression of the new car over the Viva. The Axia’s cabin is 1,900 mm long, 1,385 mm wide and is 1,240 mm tall. In comparison, the Viva measures in at 1,845 mm long (-55 mm), 1,300 mm wide (-85 mm), making its cabin a shorter and narrower space. It does have a slightly taller space at 1,250 mm (+10 mm).

    It’s not just the Viva that the Axia aces in interior space – in some aspects, it is more than able to compete with the class-up Myvi, and short of in-cabin height, where it is 25 mm lower to the Myvi’s 1,265 mm, it gives nothing away in interior length (+50 mm over the Myvi’s 1,850 mm) and is even a shade wider by five millimetres to the Myvi’s 1,380 mm.

    One car, two faces, four variants, six models

    The Axia goes on sale in four variant forms, these being the entry-level Standard E, Standard G, Special Edition and range-topping Advance. As already seen, the car will have two “faces,” with markedly different bumper/grilles as well as headlamp types.

    The one adorning the SE and Advance specification models is the more aggressive-looking piece of kit – a large, gaping trapezoidal grille takes up plenty of surface area, and the variants feature fog lamps as well as projector headlamps.

    The bumper dressing up the Standard E and G versions is more sedate-looking, with a wide horizontal element housing the number plate holder separated by two openings. There’s also no chrome “wing” across the upper grille, no fog lamps, and the headlamp adorning the Standard models is a complex surface reflector design.

    At the back, the baseline Standard E model comes without a rear windscreen wiper, and the Standard variants get a different rear bumper to the SE/AV, which also features LED tail lamps with a clear lens cover as well as a spoiler.

    An all-aluminium 1.0 litre engine

    All Axia variants will be powered by the company’s new all-aluminium 1KR-DE2 1.0 litre mill, which has a bore/stroke measurement of 71 x 84 mm – output is 66 hp at 6,000 rpm and 90 Nm at 3,600 rpm for the 997 cc, twin-cam, 12-valve Euro IV-ready unit.

    The output numbers for the 69 kg unit is almost identical to the same three-cylinder engine, the D26F-1KR-DE, found in the Daihatsu Ayla and Toyota Agya sold in the Indonesian market. In those applications, 65 hp and 87 Nm is quoted.

    The company’s current Euro II-compliant EJ-VE 1.0 litre cast iron engine used in the Viva, meanwhile, offers 60 hp at 6,000 rpm and a similar 90 Nm at 3,600 rpm, with a bore and stroke of 72 x 81 mm. Comparatively, the mill in the Axia is a lot lighter, has a longer stroke, but omits DVVT variable valve timing.

    Perodua_Axia_Standard_Launch_ 022

    The engine is paired with either a five-speed manual transmission or four-speed E-AT auto ‘box. Fuel consumption figures of 20.1 km and 21.6 km per litre are touted, running in ECO mode operation – the former for the automatic, the latter for the manual. Perodua says that the claimed consumption figures were achieved with the engines in the test cycle units running on 0W-20 weight fully-synthetic SN classification oil.

    Pricing and equipment

    In total, there are six versions available for the four variants of the Axia, and these are priced at:

    • Standard E (1.0 E manual) – RM24,600 (solid), RM25,000 (metallic)
    • Standard G (1.0 G manual) – RM29,800 (solid), RM30,200 (metallic)
    • Standard G (1.0 G automatic) – RM32,800 (solid), RM33,200 (metallic)
    • Special Edition (1.0 SE manual) – RM36,800 (solid), RM37,200 (metallic)
    • Special Edition (1.0 SE automatic) – RM39,800 (solid), RM40,200 (metallic)
    • Advance (1.0 AV automatic) – RM42,130 (solid), RM42,530 (metallic)

    The final on-the-road pricing for the Axia is lower than the tentative pricing indicated earlier.

    Standard equipment across the entire variant range includes electric power steering (EPS is found on the new Myvi, but the Viva never had it), power windows, an Eco Drive indicator and immobiliser. Completely unique to the Axia is the inclusion of an anti-snatch hook in between the front seats – useful to hang your handbags to be out of reach from snatch thieves. The hook has a maximum load of three kilogrammes.

    Axia Booklet3 OL

    In terms of safety equipment, the four-star ASEAN NCAP-rated Axia is equipped with two airbags across the board. Other safety features such as ABS with EBD and brake assist are only available for the SE and Advance variants. Unfortunately, there’s no stability control to be found, even on higher end versions.

    The company states that the Axia is shod with what it says are firsts in a Perodua A-segmenter, such as front corner parking sensors, a multi-info display, EPS and touchscreen multimedia system, complete with steering-mounted audio switches. Other features include a buzzer to remind drivers if the headlights are left on, as well as when the key is left in the ignition when the engine isn’t running.

    Common throughout the entire range is a 14-inch wheel size, with 175/65 tyres, steel for the Standard E and an eight-spoke alloy for the Standard G. The SE gets a different wheel design, a five split-twin-spoke, which the Advance also wears. The automaker adds that the chosen low rolling resistance Hankook Kinergy Ex tyres contribute their bit to improving fuel consumption – incidentally, they are set to run on a rather highish 250 kPa (36 PSI) air pressure.

    The breakdown on the different variants

    Earlier, we broke down the differences of the variants and add-on kit as the range progresses, and to make it easier see what they are, here they are, listed in more detail.

    Perodua Axia 1.0 E

    The base E grade Axia is only available with a five-speed manual transmission – no auto option. It’s basic as expected, and is the only variant with steel rims and wheel caps, but body colour bumpers and door handles are at least standard.


    • 14-inch steel wheels
    • LED rear combination lamps
    • Body coloured bumpers
    • Painted door handles
    • Vanity mirror for driver
    • Fabric seats
    • Power windows
    • ECO Drive indicator (fuel efficiency coach)
    • Power steering
    • Dual airbags (driver and passenger)
    • Immobiliser


    • 1.0 E Manual – RM24,600 (solid)
    • 1.0 E Manual – RM25,000 (metallic)

    Perodua Axia 1.0 G

    The Axia 1.0 G is the next variant up, and the entry level if you want automatic transmission (a four-speed torque converter unit). A five-speed manual is also available. The G-level specification brings alloy wheels and remote control entry and alarm (old school key for E), as well reverse sensors and an audio player.


    • 14-inch alloy wheels
    • Remote control entry and alarm
    • Reverse sensors
    • Electronically-controlled side mirrors (retractable)
    • Rear wiper and defogger
    • CD player with four speakers
    • Driver’s side seat height adjuster
    • Anti-snatch hook (for handbags) in between the front seats
    • Seat hook on the back of the front passenger seat
    • Package tray
    • Tissue compartment for the rear seats
    • Coin box / multipurpose container
    • Isofix mounts for child seat
    • Seat belt warning buzzer


    • 1.0 G Manual – RM29,800 (solid)
    • 1.0 G Manual – RM30,200 (metallic)
    • 1.0 G Automatic – RM32,800 (solid)
    • 1.0 G Automatic – RM33,200 (metallic)

    Perodua Axia 1.0 SE

    The Axia 1.0 SE has a different exterior compared to the standard E and G grades. Here’s what the 1.0 SE adds on to the 1.0 G model.


    • Projector headlamps
    • SE bodykit with aero bumpers, side skirting and rear spoiler
    • Fog lamps
    • Front parking sensors
    • Chrome front grille
    • Audio head unit with CD, MP3 and Bluetooth support
    • Painted door armrest
    • Fabric door trim
    • Semi-bucket seats
    • Silver and chrome interior finish
    • Separated rear headrest
    • Shift lever knob with ‘ornament’
    • Handbrake lever with ‘ornament’
    • ABS, EBD and brake assist
    • Security tint film


    • 1.0 SE Manual – RM36,800 (solid)
    • 1.0 SE Manual – RM37,200 (metallic)
    • 1.0 SE Automatic – RM39,800 (solid)
    • 1.0 SE Automatic – RM40,200 (metallic)

    Perodua Axia 1.0 Advance

    The top-of-the-range Axia Advance, or AV, is only available with a four-speed automatic gearbox. Exterior-wise, it’s the same as the SE model, but adds the following specs to the interior:


    • Touchscreen multimedia audio system with DVD, Bluetooth and GPS
    • Leather seats
    • Leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls


    • 1.0 Advance Automatic – RM42,130 (solid)
    • 1.0 Advance Automatic – RM42,530 (metallic)

    Axia Booklet3 OL

    Eight exterior colours in all

    For exterior colours, six shades are available for the Standard E and G models, five of which are metallic – Midnight Blue, Ebony Black, Glittering Silver are joined by two new shades called Chery Blossom and Lemongrass Green. The single solid paint is Ivory White.

    The Special Edition and Advance versions also share the Midnight Blue, Glittering Silver, Ebony Black and Ivory White shades, and get two dedicated colours called Sunflower Yellow and Lava Red.

    The Perodua Axia comes with a five-year or 150,000 km warranty, the first Perodua to feature such a warranty. Bookings for the car stood at 13,500 orders as of yesterday.

    We’ve driven the car – read our three-opinion drive impressions of the Perodua Axia. You can check out the Perodua Axia’s full specifications and equipment list in great detail on

    Perodua Axia Advance

    Perodua Axia Standard G

  • GST on petrol not yet decided, says Deputy Minister

    petrol subsidy aug 2014

    While a Royal Malaysian Customs Department (Kastam) official announced three days ago that fuel will not be exempted from Goods and Services Tax (GST), Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan has denied the claim, instead saying that no decision has been made on that matter.

    The earlier suggestion would imply that the price of petrol is set to increase (GST will be fixed at 6%) come April 2015. That may not be the case at all, as the ministry “has not made a final decision,” Ahmad Maslan told The Star.

    We’ll know the fate of our fuel prices soon enough, as the final list of zero-rated or tax-exempted items will be gazetted on October 10, the day Budget 2015 will be tabled in Parliament.


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