Category Archives: Uncategorized

Volvo Trucks Asia Pacific Fuelwatch Challenge 2015

We covered the Volvo Trucks Asia Pacific Fuelwatch Challenge 2015 which was held recently over in the Thai city of Hua Hin. It was fun watching the driver’s duke it out ensuring that they were economical yet consistently fast over a set circuit.

APAC Fuelwatch Challenge 2015 winner is a lady…the first in Fuelwatch history

The Volvo Trucks Asia Pacific Fuelwatch Challenge 2015 saw Ms. Louise Marriott became the first female driver and New Zealander to be named Asia Pacific’s most fuel-efficient driver. This was the first time Volvo Trucks has included women participation, four women, representing the expanding number of female drivers within the Fuelwatch community and the industry-at-large.

Now aside from the on-road challenge, there was an off-road challenge too, this was won by Mr Ravi Poleboina of India (pictured above). He clinched the top prize with a notable achievement of 12.5% less fuel consumption relative to fellow contestants.

Click here to read the full report and see the pics!

Century Batteries – Car Battery Videos

Century Battery Malaysia had produced two videos in order to educate vehicles owners about batteries in general. The vids may be over a year old, but somehow, not much promotion has been made by them and no one actually knows that  these locally produced videos exist. (Notice the lack of views to date).

Have a look and see. You may gain some know-how.

Automotive News: VW Group takes over Blackberry’s European R&D centre and also founds Volkswagen Infotainment GmbH

This is something fairly interesting. The Volkswagen Group is taking over BlackBerry’s European research and development centre in Bochum (Germany). What does this tell me? 

Well, it tells me that VW Group wants to expand their reach into the vehicle connectivity and infotainment sector of the automotive industry. This is a good thing as everything is not related to the smartphones we use in our lives and how it connects to our car is now supposedly a big deal to all auto manufacturers. Note Apple’s latest foray into most cars with its CarPlay systems which you can now find in some Audi (part of the VW Group) and Mercedes Benz vehicles. 
The second thing that it tells me is that Blackberry is steadily losing its market share and that selling off parts of its research and development divisions isn’t a good sign to the company. Things do not look so bright for Blackberry unless they find a new niche market soon. Remember that just a few years ago everyone was on Blackberries and everyone used its BB Messenger services. These days no one uses their phones but only BBM which now caters for multiple platforms. How times have changed.

Volkswagen broadens its expertise in the field of connectivity • Volkswagen Infotainment GmbH founded in Wolfsburg 
Wolfsburg, 1 July 2014 The Volkswagen Group is taking over BlackBerry’s European research and development centre in Bochum (Germany). With the newly founded Volkswagen Infotainment GmbH, the Wolfsburg-based automotive group is further expanding its expertise and capabilities in the field of vehicle connectivity.  With its objective of interlinking vehicles and the surrounding world, the field of ‘connectivity’ forms a focal point of research and development within the Volkswagen Group that has seen rapid growth in recent years. New strategies and innovations are needed in order that interlinking driver and automobile with the infrastructure can be further optimised.  The exchange of information between vehicle and mobile devices, such as MP3 players, smart phones and car keys, is already taking place today. In the near future further forms of communication will become equally established: communication between vehicle and the driver’s home or office; communication between vehicle and filling stations, parking spaces and road infrastructure (car-to-X communication); and ultimately also from vehicle to vehicle (car-to-car communication). It will be possible in this way to provide drivers with very prompt information of any hold-ups or obstructions.  Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neußer, Member of the Board of Management Volkswagen Brand for the Development Division, explains: “Connectivity will be a key feature of the car of the future. Many customers are expecting connected vehicles of a new dimension in terms of convenience and road safety. Around the globe, our customers’ aspirations will change rapidly, leading to shortened cycles of innovation for systems and functions. In order to be able to meet these challenges it is necessary for us to broaden and expand our options through additional know-how.” 

Men vs. MINI: MINI Malaysia Pits Man Against Machine in A New Online Video & Test Drive Opportunity

In conjunction with the launch of the New 2014 MINI (F56) cars, MINI Malaysia celebrates the uprated power and legendary go-kart agility of its new models in an action-packed online video that pits man against MINI. Conceptualised by Saatchi & Saatchi Arachnid, the web video nudges MINI towards an edgier, performance-oriented demeanour.

In a first for the automotive brand, the MINI Cooper F56 competes against four extreme stuntmen in a battle waged on land, water and air. Each stunt person performs a range of tricks and manoeuvers, with the MINI matching their skill on the road.
The stunt, filmed in Putrajaya, Malaysia, used a stock showroom-spec car completely devoid of any modifications driven by Ivan Khong, a rally driver, performance driving instructor and Malaysian Gymkhana Champion. The online video was filmed over two days without camera tricks, using only a Sony F700, two Canon 5D MK3s, ten GoPro cameras and two drone-mounted cameras. 
The stuntmen featured are:
  • Fizzy: A Top 10 Asian Extreme Sports Championship BMX freestyle rider
  • Shuk: Malaysia’s first pro Flyboard performer and instructor
  • Rizlan: A Paramotor pilot and member of Malaysia’s pioneer North Pole Free Fall Expedition
  • Nasa: Skydiver and BASE jumper with over 200 jumps to date
The video can be viewed here:

Oh, by the way folks……

Malaysian residents have the opportunity to take the New MINI Cooper S home for a weekend test drive as well as to personally experience one of the stunts in the video. Contest details here:

All New 2014 Mazda 3 2.0 SkyActiv in Malaysia.

No. I haven’t forgotten that the all-new Mazda 3 2.0 was just launched in Malaysia. The reason is that I did not have the time to get myself over to One Utama where they had launched it and I have not made it to any showrooms to have a look at it. Anyway, Mazda seems to have only brought in one fully imported CBU model – the 2.0 Skyactive sedan at RM138,935 OTR with insurance (with no hatchback in sight at the moment). It comes with a 3 year /100,000km warranty and a 3 year / 60,000km free servicing packages.

Expect the CKD model by the third or fourth quarter of 2014 (which I presume would be RM10,000 cheaper at the very least). The CBU Mazda 3 2.0 Skyactive sedan gets a high compression 2.0liter 4 cylinder engine to get a whole lot of efficiency (and power). 162hp and 210Nm torque via a 6 speed automatic gearbox. It only weighs 1295kg too! Impressive figures and this could now be the performance C segment car to get here in Malaysia….. IF and WHEN they assemble it locally. Only then.

Why did I just say that? Well, at almost RM140,000 you could just go and buy the entry level CKD Honda Accord 2.0VTI (something like the one in the pic above). Of course, throwing around an Accord through high speed corners may be unbecoming but the Accord is a whole lot of car for the price. It is very well built and it also handles very well but compared to the Mazda 3 CBU weighs 200kg heavier and at least 20hp down in power and 20Nm down in torque. But you get a D segment instead of a C segment car. Think of the image boost it may be able to give you at the office car park. Of course, The Mazda 3 is actually quite large for a C segment car these days. And it is good looking too. I somehow think the lines flow better here than in the larger Mazda 6.

No, I am not suggesting merely for the sake of image and style. The thing about the Malaysian market is that prices are so screwed up that an imported Mazda 3 costs as much as a Mazda 6 competitor that is locally assembled. Sometimes it would be wiser to just buy the bigger car – which incidentally has a longer warranty too (5 years unlimited mileage warranty).

And if you are patient, RM10,000 in savings could be had if you just wait for the CKD version of the Mazda 3. So whilst the Mazda 3 looks promising on paper, in terms of price, I’d wait awhile for the CKD version.

News This Week: NAP2014, RON 95 Petrol, all-new Altis, facelifted Kia Optima K5

Let’s just do everything in short little blurbs.

National Automotive Policy
The National Automotive Policy was announced recently and basically there is really nothing for most of us Malaysians to get worked up about. As I’ve already posted on motoring-malaysia.s Facebook page, the summary is as follows:
NAP2014 in a nutshell…no more cheap imported hybrids after existing stocks run out except for CKD. Which is only one car at this moment- Honda Jazz hybrid.

Malaysia will be energy efficient car producing hub and such cars produced here and sold may get tax incentives. This means cars with hybrid, electric, bluemotion, blueeffiency, efficientdynamics, passmotion, locomotion, etc (see which two i made up).

APs stay the same plan of supposedly getting rid of them and as usual some review on them APs. I.e same shit till 2015.

Excise duty will not be abolished as the government needs it to fatten up its coffers but expect a gradual cut of taxes and duties from now on. Boo…as we’re still going to pay huge amounts of taxes but the ‘upside’ is the fact thst your second hand car resale prices dont plummet like crazy.

Lucky there isnt some STUPID end of life policy in there (just some voluntary inspection request to vehicle owners – which is obviously unnecessary as do you really, really, really see any cars on the road that are disasters waiting to happen? No..there aren’t many and notice that most of the accidents are caused by stupidity, carelessness and recklessness) . I’m still reading the text of the speech…will update more if necessary

Ron95 Petrol Subsidy to be given to those that deserve it.

I’m sorry. I deserve it as much as the next person as my cars all state that they should use a minimum of RON95. Anyway, what kind of system should be use to determine whether we are eligible or not for the subsidised petrol price? Would I still get a subsidy if I drove my 1998 Proton Wira instead of my 2012 Mercedes as I own more than one car? Would I need some ridiculous sounding ‘Kad Petrol 1 Malaysia’ that I would need to show to get the subsidy? Would the subsidy only be applied to Perodua Viva or cars below 1000cc?

Too many variables for something like this to be done properly. Let’s just wait and see. Anyway, what was stated by Tengku Adnan Mansor, Federal Territories Minister has already been taken out of context and spun round and around already. The truth of the matter is that the matter is still under discussion and I suppose, with this uproar it’ll quieten down for a while and things remain the same for a while longer. Typical.

2014 Toyota Altis Launched.

Same as the All-new Toyota Vios. You get average technology with a badge every Malaysian loves. And decent looks too (which will attract a lot of buyers) Buy the car. Be normal. Be safe. Be just like any other Ah Kau, Ahmad, Arumugam who buys Toyotas. Be a face in the crowd. Don’t stand out. No. That Altis with a bodykit does not make it a Lexus LFA okay.

I have written about this car in two earlier posts. Just look for it if you have the time. I just don’t have the passion to write about this cash cow of a car anymore. Typically Toyota. reliable as heck, slightly dull but a sure seller.

Facelifted 2014 Kia Optima K5 Launched

This one I quite like. You get LED driving lights in the redesigned front end, a diffuser-like rear bumper for the rear, a new flat bottomed steering wheel (very sporty), 6 airbags (very safe), a whole lot of features and really good looking 18inch alloy wheels (the pre-facelift ones were horrid). All for a RM149,888 completely imported from South Korea. It also comes with 5 years unlimited mileage warranty and most probably free servicing for at leat 3 years too.

I like this new look. Those LEDs and rear diffuser make the car look better. Those wheels however make the car look better. The old disc-like multi spoke ones were cheap looking and made this Korean car look like some…well, cheap Korean car. This one is better. Question is would you take this car over the newly launched Honda Accord or not? 

This is the 2014 Jeep Cherokee. Thank God it’s not on sale here.

We can thank our lucky stars that there isn’t an official Jeep distributor here in Malaysia. The 2014 Jeep Cherokee has a face only a person high on something would love. Daytime driving lights with indicators on top, headlights in the middle and fog lights below. And that funny grille that is totally at odds with the lower grille. What type of drugs was the designer on? This is apparent if you take a look at it full frontal.


Photos. From the web.