Latest Stories

  • Bentley’s latest product is honey, straight from Crewe

    We checked, and it’s not April 1. Known for making luxury cars, British carmaker Bentley’s latest product is honey. And this isn’t some logo and name licensing job either – the honey is harvested from Bentley’s Crewe headquarters itself!

    According to Bentley, its swarm of 120,000 “Flying Bees” have produced their first crop of honey. The bees, who only took up residence in Crewe in May this year, are proving to be very productive – they are set to generate an impressive first harvest of over 100 jars of honey from just two hives.

    The honeycomb has now been collected from the hives and is being extracted by Bentley’s beekeepers. This process involves each frame of honeycomb being spun in an extractor, after which the honey is carefully drained and filtered before being decanted into individual jars.

    The jars and packaging will reflect the marque’s famous attention to detail, incorporating a label created by Bentley interior designer Louise McCallum. In addition to sharing the honey with associates, the jars will also make unique gifts for VIP visitors to the Bentley HQ.

    “We installed our first Bentley bee-hives earlier this year as a way to use our expansive site in Crewe to contribute to local biodiversity. Our beekeepers have seen the bees bringing in a wide range of pollens from the wild flowers we’ve planted on our site and the local countryside. This is a great sign that the location is working well and has helped make the first harvest so productive,” said Peter Bosch, Bentley’s board member for manufacturing.

    “Our Bentley bees are part of a wider programme we’re developing to ensure that our site and business operations reflect our ambitions to become the most sustainable luxury automotive manufacturer. We’re delighted that the initial stage of this project has been a success and we’re looking at installing more hives and increasing the amount of Bentley honey we can produce next year. We know that every little step helps to support local biodiversity and we have plenty more ideas in the pipeline to make sure we’re playing our part,” he added.

    Quite amazing, isn’t it? Here are things that we’re more used to seeing the famous B logo on – Breitling watches and luxury limos.


    GALLERY: Bentley Flying Spur

     
  • Toyota Land Cruiser surpasses 10 million unit mark

    Toyota’s long-selling vehicle, the Land Cruiser has passed the 10 million-unit mark in global sales at the end of August according to the automaker’s own data; this production run originated at the launch of the Toyota ‘Jeep BJ’ in August 1, 1951.

    In that time, the Japanese 4X4 icon has grown from its utilitarian roots and evolved along with the times and gained luxury appointments to cater for a wider audience, though it continues to serve across a wide range of humanitarian roles and various others which demand the Land Cruiser’s versatility and durability.

    The Land Cruiser 20 Series marked the beginning of full-scale export in November 1955, and the Land Cruiser charted sales of less than 100 units annually in the early years, though this had grown to over 10,000 units per year by 1965, 10 years after full-scale exports had been put in motion. Global annual sales presently stands at approximately 400,000 units across 170 countries and regions, says Toyota.

    The Middle East had by far the lion’s share of Land Cruiser sales last year with 132,000 units sold, with other significant markets comprised of Europe (54,000 units sold), Oceania (46,000 sold) and Asia (45,000 sold). North America (36,000 units) charted just ahead of the Land Cruiser’s native Japan (30,000 units), while Africa and Latin America accounted for 23,000 units and 10,000 units sold, respectively.

    There are regions where the 40 Series Land Cruisers continue to see service, some 50 years after they were first produced, Toyota said. Various models of the nameplate also continue to provide basic mobility in some of the most remote parts of the world, such as transport in zinc and copper mines in Australia about 1,600 m underground, as well as for herding cattle on vast ranches across the country.

    Humanitarian assistance is a significant role for the Land Cruiser; the venerable 4X4 ferries malaria-infected children to hospital in Burundi, while in Uganda, it transports patients to clinics. In less life-threatening but no less crucial operations, the Land Cruiser helps collect crops in Costa Rica; the off-roader helps harvest carrots at altitudes up to 3,500 m and on slopes that are difficult for humans to stand on, the company says.

    At the other end of the model range, the J200 Land Cruiser serves up its robustness and off-road capabilities in a generously equipped package, with the Lexus LX570 offering an even more luxurious take on the large 4X4. Out of all the iterations of the Land Cruiser, which have been your favourites?

    GALLERY: Toyota Land Cruiser 70

    GALLERY: 2018 Land Cruiser Prado

    GALLERY: J200 Lexus LX570

    GALLERY: 2016 J200 Land Cruiser facelift

     

  • Renault Zoe e-Sport Concept: 462-hp electric hot hatch gets strong public interest, but still far from production

    Remember the Renault Zoe e-Sport Concept from two years back, the 462-hp all-wheel drive electric hot hatch in matte electric blue paint? Well, according to the automaker’s EV chief Gilles Normand, that project is not quite dead yet.

    “The e-Sport was more to test the water, to show that you can make EVs are not boring,” Normand told Top Gear at the Frankfurt motor show. “It was a communication tool that hit its purpose very well. The reaction was very strong. People were telling me – we are interested, can you do something like this?”

    Normand said his team has yet to come to a conclusion, but added that the idea did click in his head considering the positive public reception. He added that rival car brands have already identified similar windows of business for the same high-performance electric segment.

    Going by Renault Sport’s history of introducing very extreme, limited-edition hot hatches, the publication suggested that the company already has the capability and know-how to deliver some e-Sport models onto the road today.

    “Exactly,” Normand responded. “We are working always with Renault Sport and they are connected with the Formula 1 team getting all the technologies. The bridges in our company are very open. Renault Sport represents the ultimate performance car, so how you are able to deliver this with an EV, especially with the current battery chemistry, is the issue.”

    Normand explained that the company is working on next-generation solid-state batteries, which it hopes will answer questions regarding durability and affordability in extreme electric vehicles. “Technically we are starting to have some ideas but we have not yet been able to find a good optimum point between all these challenges at a reasonable price proposal,” he noted.

    To recap, the Zoe e-Sport is powered by two electric motors, one mounted on each axle, for a total of 462 hp and 640 Nm of torque. It has a 450-kg battery onboard (the chemical composition is unknown as yet), which helps the motors propel this 1,400-kg car from zero to 100 km/h in 3.2 seconds before maxing out at 209 km/h. Impressive figures, right?

    It’s tipped to sit on a revised chassis structure, which sees fitment of double-wishbone suspension for all four corners, complete with four-way adjustable Ohlins dampers. The concept rides on 20-inch alloys with centre-locking wheel hubs, shod with 245/35 profile tyres. Other parts include beefier brakes, a flat floor and huge aerodynamic parts such as the rear spoiler, front intake and rear diffuser.

     
  • FIRST LOOK: 2019 Perodua Axia facelift, all 6 variants

    Perodua officially launched the 2019 Perodua Axia last week. The Viva-replacing Axia has been with us since September 2014, and it received a midlife facelift in January 2017, which means this is the second update for the bestseller. As you would have already heard, this big news of this refresh is the debut of Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Advanced Safety Assist (ASA) 2.0, as well as an all-new variant – the SUV-inspired Style.

    For all its life, the Axia has had two unique faces – a normal one and a sportier one for the SE and Advance. This split is no more – now, all Axia variants share the same face, with trim differences.

    The outgoing Axia range had four trim levels (E, G, SE, Advance) and two of those (G and SE) had manual or auto options (base E was MT only, top Advance was AT only). In the 2019 Axia range, Perodua has added two new variants, and deleted the manual option for the SE, which means that other than the kosong E, all Axias come with a four-speed automatic. The new range reads E, G, GXtra (new), Style (new) SE and Advance.

    Like before, the 5MT and 4AT are paired with a 1.0 litre three-cylinder engine. The 1KR-VE VVT-i engine makes 67 hp and 91 Nm of torque at 4,400 rpm. Claimed FC is unchanged – 22.5 km/l for the MT and 21.6 km/l for the AT. The SUV-styled Style variant is rated lower at 20.8 km/l, likely due to a combination of extra weight, bigger tyres and less smooth airflow.

    First seen on the Myvi and then the Aruz (in 2.0 form), P2’s ASA safety suite includes Pre-Collision Warning (PCW), Pre-Collision Braking (PCB), Front Departure Alert (FDA) and Pedal Misoperation Control (PMC), all working with the assistance of a stereo camera located at the top of the windscreen. The model’s airbag count remains at two, and the Axia’s four-star ASEAN NCAP rating is maintained, but the addition of VSC (GXtra onwards) and ASA 2.0 (AV only) is a big deal in this segment.

    The Axia Style is Perodua’s take on the SUV-flavoured supermini – think Volkswagen CrossPolo, Hyundai i20 Active and Honda WR-V. Merely accessorised in SUV fashion, the Axia Style has no extra off-road ability than the standard car.

    Like those global B-segment examples, the Style wears SUV-style black plastic cladding around the lower body, with silver painted sections at the lower front and rear bumpers that mimic skid plates. Adding to the desired effect are black roof rails, although they’re merely decorative and can’t be used to mount a roof box.

    The Style’s front end is slightly different from the rest of the range, thanks to black carbon-textured stickers around the “mouth” and a unique grille insert. The Sunrise Orange colour is exclusive to the Style and so are clear lens tail lamps, previously found on SE and Advance trim levels.

    The Style also stands taller than other Axias, by 15 mm to be exact. This added height is not because of raised suspension, but is only from the 15-inch two-tone alloys (an inch up from other variants) and thicker tyres combo, plus the roof rails. The result of this is slightly compromised fuel economy: 20.8 km/l vs the standard automatic car’s 21.6 km/l. Inside, the Axia Style gets unique black “denim” fabric for the seats, which also have a “fish scales” pattern and contrast stitching.

    On-the-road (without insurance, Pen Malaysia; add RM2k for East Malaysia) prices for the 2019 Perodua Axia are:

    • Axia Standard E – RM24,090
    • Axia Standard G – RM33,490
    • Axia GXtra – RM34,990
    • Axia Style – RM38,890
    • Axia SE – RM38,890
    • Axia Advance – RM43,190

    To see the new bits, and which variant gets what, check out the walk-around video above and our launch report, as well as a spec-by-spec comparison in point form. To compare the latest Axia with price rivals such as the recently revamped Proton Saga, do so at CarBase.my.

    GALLERY: 2019 Perodua Axia Style


    GALLERY: 2019 Perodua Axia Advance

    GALLERY: 2019 Perodua Axia GXtra

    GALLERY: 2019 Perodua Axia official images

     
  • Jaguar devoted to making sedans despite SUV craze

    Jaguar’s new chief of design, Julian Thomson, has pledged to continue making sports cars and sedans, despite the ever increasing demand for crossovers and SUVs, Autocar reports. Thomson, who recently took over from Ian Callum, said the automaker will not “go full bore into SUVs – we will do cars [sedans] in the future, too.”

    The company’s recent efforts in expanding its SUV line-up have seen strong growth in sales, but its sedan models have struggled. Thomson said sedans are an important market to Jaguar, and while the company has a range of competent SUVs currently on sale, it still needs to satisfy all customers with “different powertrain and body choices.”

    Moving forward, the current Jaguar XJ will be replaced by a full EV model, one that is said to be introduced by the end of 2020. The existing XE and XF will also be replaced with “considerably dramatic overhauls,” although this won’t happen anytime soon, seeing as the XE had just been facelifted earlier this year.

    The F-Type will also be given an update in the coming months, and Thomson confirmed that the sports car is here to stay, with future generations already in the pipeline. “With sports cars, you’ve got to have them. They’re flag waving for a premium brand and the dream still exists for people. Whether or not they’ll go electric, the jury is still out.”

    GALLERY: Jaguar XE facelift

     
  • Volkswagen T-Roc gets 2.0L TDI, Black Style in Europe

    The Volkswagen T-Roc range has been enhanced with the addition of a new 2.0 litre four-cylinder TDI turbodiesel engine in Europe, making 190 PS and 400 Nm of torque. That’s as much torque as what the range-topping T-Roc R makes, although how quickly the new TDI variant will make the century sprint remains unknown for now. Other driveline components include a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission and 4Motion all-wheel drive system.

    Also making its debut is the Black Style design package, which as the name implies, blacks out many exterior components such as side mirror caps, side trims, bottom radiator strip, 18-inch twin-five spoke Grange Hill alloys, and a special new foil on the C-pillars with grey and black graphic pattern.

    In the cabin, the Black Style package comes with black headliner and gloss black dash pad. In Germany, the design package can be added on for 1,235 euros (RM5,667), or 1,575 euros (RM7,227) with the Style equipment line.

    Other optional upgrades include the blacked-out 19-inch Suzuka alloy wheels, as well as the new “beats” package with red highlights for the exterior and interior. At the core of this is the 300-watt, six-speaker system with an eight-channel digital amplifier and subwoofer. Bundled with it is the Composition Media infotainment system with App-Connect.

    The “beats” adds sills panel trims with “beats” lettering, a red dash pad and red background lighting, red exterior mirror housings, unique C-pillars graphic, as well as 17-inch Mayfield alloy wheels with a red edge around the centre caps. This package costs an extra 720 euros (RM3,300) for the optional Style equipment line and 850 euros (RM3,900) for the Sport equipment line. In Germany, the T-Roc 2.0 TDI is priced from 35,105 euros (RM161k).

    GALLERY: Volkswagen T-Roc R

     
  • Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) enforcement for SG vehicles deferred, new RFID fitment centre announced

    The enforcement of the Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP), which is required for foreign vehicles entering Malaysia, will be deferred until further notice, the transport ministry announced via an official statement today. The first phase of enforcement would have started next week, October 1, at the southern border with Singapore.

    “In light of several issues made known to the ministry including the difficulties to get appointments for RFID Tag installation, the ministry will defer enforcement of VEP on all outbound traffic at both KSAB and BSI during peak hour traffic operation until further notice,” the statement said, referring to the Sultan Abu Bakar Complex and Sultan Iskandar Building checkpoints in Johor.

    The transport ministry also announced the opening of another fitment centre for the VEP RFID Tag, which will be located at the JPJ office in the Sultan Abu Bakar Complex (outbound). The opening date of this facility “will be announced shortly.” The current four fitment centres are at the Gelang Patah Southbound R&R, the Plaza Angsana open carpark, Pandan R&R and Lima Kedai toll plaza.

    “The ministry hopes that with the opening of this additional fitment centre and this deferment, all foreign vehicle owners will take this opportunity to immediately register and get the RFID Tag installed to avoid any difficulties to commute in and out of Malaysia in the future,” the statement added.

    VEP registration was opened in April this year, with a period of six months given to owners of foreign vehicles to apply and install the RFID tag. The VEP for each registered vehicle is valid for a period of five years.

    The government says that “VEP is a vital component in its efforts to address the problems with owners of foreign vehicles that have violated our road transport laws and the issues with irresponsible parties exporting/importing stolen or illegitimately registered vehicles across the country’s borders.”

    The latter is to do with “cloned vehicles” or cars that were supposed to have been scrapped in Singapore, but brought in illegally to Malaysia, sold below market value, and running with fake number plates mirroring that of a similar vehicle.

     
  • Volkswagen, Porsche to recall 227k units in Germany for airbag, seatbelt pre-tensioner fault – report

    tiguan r-line 1

    German brands Volkswagen and Porsche will have to recall approximately 227,000 vehicles due to issues with airbags and seatbelt pre-tensioners, German newspaper Stuttgarter Zeitung reported. Affected vehicles include 203,400 units of the Volkswagen Tiguan, Sharan and CC built in 2015.

    Meanwhile, 23,550 units of the Porsche 911, Boxster, Cayman and Panamera built from 2015 to 2016, according to a Porsche spokesperson cited by Reuters. These models require an update to the software for the airbag control units as there is an error which prevents correct operation of the airbags and seatbelt pre-tensioners, according to the KBA federal transport authority of Germany.

    There have been three reported cases with Volkswagen vehicles where the airbags or belt pre-tensioners have been deployed without an accident occurring, while the opposite scenario of not deploying in an accident is also likely, Stuttgarter Zeitung said.

    The 2015 Volkswagen Tiguan had previously been the subject of a recall shortly after its launch which saw the model investigated for a side curtain airbag rupture. Meanwhile, Porsche models affected in this case have not recorded known cases so far, a spokesperson for the brand told the German news site.

    For Malaysian market vehicles, Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia has confirmed that none of its vehicles in the country have been affected, and Porsche importer and distributor Sime Darby Auto Performance has stated that the recall in Germany “is a precautionary measure, and that no reported incidents to date are known in Porsche vehicles.”

     
  • Pure electric Kia Picanto may be introduced in Europe

    Kia plans to have a pure electric variant for every model that it makes, and the tiny A-segment Picanto hatch is no exception, if the automaker can find ways to reduce costs to make it affordable, Automotive News Europe reports.

    Kia Europe’s CEO, Emilio Herrera said a battery-powered Picanto will be “a big challenge. But sooner or later, we will have to do it.” At the moment, nothing is confirmed yet, but Kia is said to be really considering the project.

    With stricter emissions regulations, many automakers are rethinking the strategies for small car sales in Europe. The cars aren’t very profitable, so adding costly new technologies to further reduce emissions isn’t quite a feasible move. As a result, Ford will stop selling the Ka+ in the region, while Opel will drop the Karl and Adam models.

    The Volkswagen Group is tipped to replace the Volkswagen Up!, Skoda Citigo and Seat Mii with pure electric models, whereas Seat has been tasked with developing small EVs for the group that will cost less than 20,000 euros (RM92k) each.

    Speaking of low-cost EVs, Renault at the Frankfurt motor show revealed that it is working on an affordable EV car that will cost under 10,000 euros (RM46k), which will be launched within the next five years. Herrera is skeptical of this, though.

    “I think that is a very bold statement because one of the most challenging things we have is to make all EVs profitable. And the smaller the car, the more complicated it is. So to have a 10,000-euro EV in that time frame, I see it very challenging and not very realistic,” he said.

    Currently, the Picanto with a petrol engine starts at 10,290 euros (RM47k) in Germany but drops to 10,000 euros (RM46k) with discounts, Herrera said. A fully equipped version can sell for more than 17,000 euros (RM78k), whereas a Picanto EV would currently cost close to 20,000 euros. Herrera said Kia needs to reduce production costs for a Picanto EV to 16,000 to 17,000 euros (RM78k).

    He also added that car brands should not rely on government incentives that push EV sales by offering discounts between its combustion-engine counterparts, because in the future EVs will be sold in far greater numbers, making it way too costly to incentivise.

    In Europe, mini and small cars are important. Herrera said the segments occupies a 50% market share in Italy, and a JATO Dynamics study revealed that both segments command 26% of the EU market.

    Meanwhile, Kia currently sells EV versions of the Soul and Niro crossovers in Europe. At the going rate, the company is expected to sell around 20,000 units of the pair in Europe this year, and plans to double that figure next year, Herrera said.

    GALLERY: Kia Picanto GT Line at KLIMS 2018

     
  • Kia Stinger sales below expectations, sequel affected?

    Kia has admitted that the Stinger is not doing as well as hoped, casting doubts on whether there will be a sequel to the Korean carmaker’s rear-wheel drive halo car.

    Speaking to CarAdvice at the IAA show in Frankfurt, Gregory Guillaume, VP and senior chief designer at Kia’s design studio in Germany said that they had higher hopes in North America compared to other markets. “At the moment I’m not sure it’s doing as good as we hoped. We never really expected to do massive volumes,” he said.

    “It was a halo car. We did want to be successful at least in America, the market where we thought there is a chance that it works. We had very high expectations for that market and it’s very difficult to start in such segments,” added Guillaume, who hopes that Kia gives the Stinger another chance because it takes time to get established in a new segment.

    “The beginning of my career was at Audi. I remember… it took three generations of the A8 to be seen on eye level to a (BMW) 7 Series or (Mercedes-Benz) S-Class. You have to persevere. If you’re entering these segments (whether) it’s premium or image vehicles, you have to give yourself a bit of time.

    “The company will have to be ready to understand that. I think we should continue (even though) the sedan market is getting more and more difficult worldwide,” the designer said, adding that the car’s looks and drive isn’t the problem, but the positioning of the halo model and its price.

    Guillaume has personal connection with the Stinger, as it was his team and studio that brought it to life. “Stinger is a European design. From beginning to end the concept was from us, the idea of making such a car was from us, and we followed it all the way through. It’s really our baby and the one we’re most proud of,” he declared. The Stinger started life as the GT Concept from Frankfurt 2011.

    On whether there will be a next generation Stinger, Guillaume told the Aussie outlet: “We have to see if Stinger continues – first of all if it will be continuing, which I really hope so – and if we think this is the format to continue in the future.” Will it be an EV? “As you know there’s a lot going on with electrification, so it could be that Stinger becomes something else. I don’t know. We’re not there yet. We’ve got a bit of time,” he added.

    The Kia Stinger was launched in Malaysia in July 2018, with the 2.0 T-GDI GT-Line priced at RM239,888 and the 365 hp/510 Nm 3.3L V6 GT going for RM309,888. Earlier this year, Naza Kia announced new SST-inclusive prices that went up by quite a bit – at RM264,888, the 2.0T is RM25,000 up from the launch price, while the RM383,888 V6 is RM74,000 costlier. Making a left field choice comes at a high price indeed.

    GALLERY: Kia Stinger 2.0 GT-Line

    GALLERY: Kia Stinger GT

     
 

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Last Updated 21 Sep 2019



 

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