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  • Malaysian vehicle sales data for Dec 2021 by brand – Perodua up 13.5%, Proton sales flat, Hyundai +123%

    To say that 2021 was a challenging year for the automotive industry would be a criminal understatement. Not only did the market continue to be battered by COVID-19 and the continuing movement control orders – just like 2020 – but it also had to deal with a chip shortage that shows no signs of abating and some of the worst floods Malaysia has ever experienced.

    As such, it’s no surprise that our total industry volume (TIV) for the year fell by nearly four per cent to 508,911 units, a drop of more than 20,000. However, the market did rally in the final month – despite the aforementioned flooding and associated production delays – to finish strong, with total sales of 65,184 vehicles registered in December. That’s an increase of almost ten percent over November.

    Sales data from the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) showed a month of highs and lows for the brands operating in Malaysia. Perodua continued its reign at the top of the chart – the perennial market leader sold 2,142 more cars at 23,041 units, up 13.5%. Despite this, the company missed its sales target of 200,000 units, registering just 190,291 sales in 2021, its worst performance since 2012.

    Proton had a rougher December, with sales effectively flat (-1.5% or 209 cars) at 13,701 units. This was almost certainly caused by production halting on the popular X50 and X70 due to vendors being affected by the floods. It still held a significant lead over a resurgent third-placed Toyota – a total of 9,193 of the company’s vehicles found homes last month (up 9.3%), buoyed by increased demand for the Hilux pick-up.

    This helped the company stay ahead of Honda in the standings, although the fellow Japanese carmaker didn’t have a bad time itself, selling 5.1% more vehicles at 7,982 units. Rounding out the top five is Mitsubishi, which capped off a strong year even though sales fell 5.9% to 2,126 units.

    Elsewhere on this list, Hyundai’s sales jumped by 122.6% to 207 units, Volvo’s rose by 75.3% to 524 units and Isuzu’s saw an increase of 41.5% to 1,380 units. However, it wasn’t such a good month for Land Rover (-45.5%), Subaru (-16.6%) and Mazda (-10.1%) – despite the latter finally recommencing commercial vehicle sales with its new Isuzu D-Max-based BT-50.

    On the premium side, BMW and MINI have finally released sales figures for the quarter, as are customary for these brands. Munich’s 1,681 cars sold in October, November and December lifted its total sales to 8,439 units – enough to put it in ninth place on the standings – while its British subsidiary’s sales of 110 units meant it sold 978 vehicles in 2021.

    Click on the table below to view a larger version.

     
  • REVIEW: Porsche Taycan 4S in Malaysia, from RM595k

    Causing disruption requires action, otherwise the hype is as good as an empty promise. You can claim to build a rocket thruster-powered roadster that’s capable of smashing all land speed records, but if no one gets to buy it, the likes of Bugatti and Koenigsegg will continue to duke it out until another Rimac comes along to challenge the status quo.

    The Porsche Taycan is, by all intents and purposes, a disruption. It’s a fully electric four-seater “sedan” that promises to break the conventions of emissions-free motoring, and does so in epic fashion by sliding its way into the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest drift ever performed with an EV. Considering all the awards it has racked up, we don’t doubt that it will blow us away, even if it presents itself in the guise of this very unassuming “baby blue.”

    Say what you will of the way it looks. To me, the Taycan is incredibly ravishing from head to tail, bearing significant similarities to the Mission E prototype that debuted back in 2015. The styling is futuristic, what with the narrow intake slit, all the aero work, muscular haunches, rakish roof, frameless doors with the pop-up handles, and the exceedingly gorgeous rear end.

    Good news is, prices for the Taycan have been slashed quite significantly for 2022, with the 4S now starting from RM595k, thanks to the government’s latest incentive to promote EV adoption. The kilowatt-based road tax structure has also been waived, otherwise 4S owners are required to pay RM7,504.50 per annum. The figure would have been much higher for the Turbo and Turbo S.

    There’s much to like

    For starters, you should specify the Comfort Access system, which unlocks the doors as you approach and automatically fires up the car without pushing the “power” button. You can immediately buckle up and drive off, and there’s absolutely no need to wait for fluids to reach optimal operating temperature. The sense of futurism is immense in the beginning, and it’s almost unthinkable that we’re actually at the cusp of the next great automotive evolution.

    Anyway, the cabin of the Taycan is unlike any Porsche before it. You can have up to five individual displays – four up front and another at the back. The main one is a 16.8-inch curved instrument panel for the driver, with super fluid animations and crisp texts. The display is customisable, while lighting and suspension controls are integrated into the edges. Clever.

    Sitting flush within the centre dash is a 10.9-inch high-definition touchscreen display, though it lacks the fluidity of, say, a BMW iDrive system (especially the new OS 8). It’s a skinned version of the Volkswagen Group’s MIB3 system, but one with an interface that is much more sensible and user-friendly. There’s also wireless Apple CarPlay, though this quality-of-life feature still eludes Android users.

    An additional 10.9-inch passenger-side display is now standard (previously a RM6,700 option), granting a multitude of functions that are accessible via the main infotainment and instrumentation screens. This means your passenger can operate the navigation app completely independently on the move, and stuff like the speedometer, trip meter and multimedia menu can also be displayed.C

    The 8.4-inch display below the main infotainment unit is standard across all Taycan models. This permanently houses the climate control system, with shortcuts providing immediate charge level readouts and access to the trunk (366 litres) and frunk (81 litres). It’s all quite well thought out, but glass is still glass, so be sure to have a microfibre cloth to periodically wipe off fingerprints.

    The four-seat layout is most sensible

    The four-seat configuration is standard, while the five-seater is optional. The former makes sense for most people, because the rear quarters (about the size of an E90 BMW 3 Series) can make for quite a tight fit. It isn’t nearly as spacious as the Panamera, and the small rear windows and rear windscreen also don’t help.

    A lighter colour palette should do plenty to introduce some level of airiness. Options are aplenty, including one sustainably tanned OLEA leather. The standard floor mats are made from recycled fishing nets, but it’s a Porsche we’re talking about, so you can spec things however you like.

    Speaking of light colours, the Frozen Blue metallic paint you see here is a little off beat, though our sample unit rides on the Taycan Turbo’s staggered 20-inch aero wheels, which is a RM14k option. Otherwise, the car comes with 19-inch alloys as standard.

    Is the Taycan 4S sufficient?

    Honestly, it’s more than enough. It has two electric motors that generate 390 kW of power, or 435 PS and 640 Nm of torque. An overboost function can temporarily raise power to 530 PS (not available 24/7), and the Taycan’s innovative two-speed gearbox (a world’s first; strong acceleration in first gear while second gear is more efficient) and 800-volt electrical architecture allow it to do the century sprint in four seconds flat, and in rapid succession. This is truly disruptive in the world of EVs.

    It’s all about repeatable performance for the Taycan, a concept very few EV makers have actively pursued. There’s even a launch control function to make sure you consistently achieve the claimed sprint time, and the sequence is simple. Just flick into sport or sport plus mode, then press the brake and throttle pedal together, and release once prompted.

    Now, Porsche makes some of the best drivers cars in the world, but it still baffles me that they can make a 2.1-tonne electric car feel so familiar at the wheel. The Taycan feels so normal to drive, connected and communicative in all manners equal to that of an ICE-powered Porsche. There’s nothing in the Porsche stable that will rocket off the line as wickedly quick as the Taycan Turbo S (this one truly churns the gut), so a 4S – or the newly announced GTS – should be the ideal middle ground for the majority.

    Throttle response is pin-sharp – gentle and progressive in normal mode, yet brutally instant in sport and sport plus. Brake calibration is also utterly organic and natural (brake regen can be disabled for the most natural deceleration feel), though there is no one-pedal operation here like with most urban-centric EVs.

    The standard three-chamber air suspension strikes a mighty fine balance between pliancy and rigidity, so it dances around corners just as gracefully as it soaks up road undulations. It’s a precision tool as well, making those who wield the wheel feel like they’re piloting a mid-engined Cayman, albeit a much heavier one. It’s as if the 911 had a baby with the Panamera. Brilliant.

    It may have the typical skateboard-style underfloor battery, but the Taycan is far from your ordinary electric car. If anything, it sets the bar for performance EVs, and this one is set pretty damn high. What’s not high is its centre of gravity. In fact, the Taycan’s COG is lower than some of the latest 911 models, so you might need to opt for the nose lift function to help clear some speed humps.

    It’s totally daily drivable, so long as you plan your journeys

    At press time, the EV architecture in Malaysia is still at its infancy, but there are movements to install a network of AC and DC fast chargers around the country. The former will soon be made more accessible in urban areas (malls, office buildings, public car parks), whereas installation of DCFCs will be focused along the spine of the country to facilitate interstate travels.

    Two battery sizes are available for the Taycan, but it only makes sense to opt for the bigger 93.4 kWh performance battery plus. This provides around 464 km of real-world range, while the smaller 79.2 kWh pack can only manage around 408 km. Bigger is always better after all, right?

    The Taycan accepts both AC and DC charging. The former uses the more common Type 2 connection, while DC charging requires a CCS Combo 2 interface. A 22 kW onboard charger will now ship as standard (up from 11 kW previously), so it actually is in your best interest to purchase a wallbox charger to make the most out of it. You’ll need three-phase power for this, though.

    At 22 kW, the 93.4 kWh battery can be completely charged up in nine hours, or twice the duration at 11 kW. When plugged into a 50 kW DC charger, it takes 93 minutes to get from 5% to an 80% state-of-charge (SoC), or around 30 minutes for 100 km of range. The Taycan can take up to 270 kW of DC charging (225 kW for the smaller battery), at which rate it takes just 22.5 minutes for an 80% SoC, or five minutes for 100 km.

    Unlike a hybrid, there is no engine to charge the battery. So if it runs flat, you’ll have to call a tow truck. Plan in advance your travel routes, where to charge and how long to charge. Porsche Centres are also fitted with 175 kW fast chargers, so feel free to juice up over a cuppa.

    Verdict

    It’s hard to wrap around the fact that the Taycan is Porsche’s first ever mainstream EV. The car is by all accounts worthy of the Stuttgart crest – it’s impeccably built, feels properly luxurious inside, and still a hoot to drive despite the heft. If you want more headroom and boot space, the Sport Turismo (pictured above) is an irresistibly sexy alternative.

    For us, the 4S is a great starting point for your pure electric journey, because it has all the power and traction you need. Short of the entry-level RWD model (which purists may take a liking for), the 4S has the longest range of any Taycan model, and the battery pack can easily outlast the duration of your ownership.

    As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. And when the time comes, the internal combustion engine will be sorely missed. But if the Taycan prefaces an electric future that many are still averse to, then we can confidently say, don’t worry.

     

  • All LRT, MRT, Monorail stations in KL city closed from 7am to 3pm tomorrow at PDRM’s request – Rapid KL

    This just in. Is there a planned protest in KL tomorrow? Rapid KL has announced the closure of LRT, MRT and Monorail stations located in the city centre tomorrow (January 22), from 7am to 3pm. This is “for public safety and as advised by PDRM”.

    On the LRT Ampang/Sri Petaling line, trains will not stop at Pudu, Hang Tuah, Plaza Rakyat, Masjid Jamek, Bandaraya and Sultan Ismail stations. On the LRT Kelana Jaya line, the trains will skip Pasar Seni, Dang Wangi, Masjid Jamek and Kg Baru stations.

    As for the MRT, Pasar Seni, Bukit Bintang and Merdeka stations will be closed. All KL Monorail stations will be closed from 7am to 3pm tomorrow. Other stations not mentioned here will be open as usual, so you can take the train, just not to town. Plan your journey accordingly and stay safe.

     
  • Geely group sales exceed 2.2m units in 2021, up 5%

    Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (ZGH) has announced that aggregate sales across its automotive brands – Geely Auto, Geometry, Lynk & Co, Zeekr, Volvo Cars, Proton, Lotus, LEVC and Farizon Commercial Vehicle – grew 5% year-on-year to exceed 2.2 million units in 2021, a new record for the group. That makes it the fourth consecutive year ZGH recorded over two million units in sales.

    ZGH says that in a market disrupted by supply constraints, its portfolio of brands showed resilient growth, led by a rapidly expanding global presence and sales of new electrified vehicles. Sales of electrified and clean alternative fuel passenger and commercial vehicles grew more than 70% y-o-y, exceeding 330k units and accounting for over 15% of total group sales.

    The Hong Kong-listed Geely Auto holding company, which includes Lynk & Co, Geometry and Zeekr, reported 2021 sales of 1,328,029 units, an approximately 1% increase. In 2021, Geely retained its position as the best-selling Chinese brand for the fifth consecutive year. Its return to growth was led by overseas expansion and new energy vehicle sales. Exports increased 58% to 115,008 units. In the new energy vehicle segment (EVs, PHEVs and hybrids), the company saw a 47% jump to 100,126 units.

    Lynk & Co celebrated its fifth anniversary with new milestones. In 2021, the brand delivered 220,516 vehicles, an increase of 26%. Since its inception, the brand has delivered over 600k units, setting new records for growth among global car brands.

    In Europe, Lynk & Co continues to expand with seven permanent Lynk & Co Clubs in the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium and Germany, as well as many more pop-up experience centres. Last year, the brand announced plans to enter new markets in the Gulf and Asia Pacific, starting with Kuwait in November. Lynk & Co started offering hybrid powertrain options on all its models.

    Over at Geometry, Geely’s standalone mass market pure electric brand launched its most affordable EV ever in 2021, the EX3 Kungfu Cow city crossover priced just below 60,000 RMB (RM40k). Geometry started its global expansion in 2021, with the Geometry C compact SUV launched in Israel and Eastern European markets. The brand plans to accelerate its global footprint and launch five new models starting this year.

    Zeekr, Geely’s “global electric mobility technology solutions brand”, was launched in 2021 along with its first premium EV model, the Zeekr 001. By the end of the year, 6,007 units of the 001 have been delivered. Zeekr also signed an agreement with Waymo to jointly collaborate on the development of a new EV for deployment as part of the Waymo One autonomous ride-hailing fleet in the US.

    Malaysia’s Proton, of which Geely has 49.9% stake, recorded its third consecutive year of growth with a 4.5% increase in sales plus enlarged market share. In 2021, the brand’s success was supported by its improving quality, service dedication and premium brand experience, Geely says.

    UK sports car brand Lotus finished the year on a high – with a huge 24% growth, it was the best sales performance in a decade. Last year saw Hethel unveil its first new model in over two decades, and the brand’s final gasoline powered model, the Emira. Lotus’ future is electric, and it has unveiled plans for a whole new line-up of electric models in 2022.

    Volvo reached a new milestone when it publicly listed on the Stockholm Nasdaq Exchange in late 2021, opening the brand to Swedish and global investors for the first time in over two decades. For the full year, Volvo saw its sales increase by more than 5% to 698,693 vehicles. Growth came primarily through sales of electrified Recharge models, which grew by 63.9% in 2021. Volvo has committed to be fully electric by 2030.

    Polestar, in its second year of producing the Polestar 2 model, sold 29,000 vehicles globally, an increase of 185%. By 2025, the brand expects its sales to increase ten-fold to 290,000 units. In the past year, the EV brand announced new upcoming models including its first SUV, the Polestar 3, and plans to start production in the US. The brand’s global footprint nearly doubled to 19 markets in 2021. This year, Polestar plans to plant its flag in Hong Kong, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Israel, UAE and Kuwait.

    Farizon, the commercial vehicle brand under the Geely New Energy Commercial Vehicle Group, achieved exponential growth over 2021 with new energy product portfolio. The brand saw sales jump by more than 759% with over 42,000 vehicles sold. In several market segments in China, the brand has become the market leader, including the new energy light truck and heavy truck segment, where it achieved market share of more than 20% and 10% respectively.

    UK’s LEVC is continuing its transformation from being a British supplier of range extended taxis and vans to a global exporter. The historic maker of London black cabs has expanded its global dealer network to 21 markets including China, Spain, Sweden, Germany and Belgium. LEVC aims to transform from 90% domestic sales to 60% export sales by 2024

    This year, ZGH anticipates continued solid demand across its brands, mobility services and technology operations as disruption linked to the coronavirus pandemic and supply chain shortages begin to ease. The group’s aggregate sales is expected to exceed 2.5 million vehicles in 2022, backed by strong growth in electrified vehicles and expansion into new markets.

    Zooming in, Geely Automobile Group has set a sales target of 1.65 million units for 2022, an increase of 24%. Zeekr is planning to deliver 70,000 units of the 001, more than 10 times its first year sales. Polestar has also set a high target of 65,000 EVs, a nearly 125% increase.

     
  • 2022 Peugeot 2008 launched in Malaysia – CKD; 1.2L turbo with 130 hp and 230 Nm; AEB; from RM127k

    The second-generation Peugeot 2008 has been launched in Malaysia, with official distributor Bermaz Auto Alliance (BAASB) offering the B-segment SUV in a sole Allure variant. The 2008 is the third SUV to be introduced by the company following the launch of the facelifted 3008 and 5008 last November.

    In terms of pricing, the 2008 in Allure guise retails at RM126,753 on-the-road without insurance, which includes a five-year, 100,000-km manufacturer warranty as well as a three-year, 60,000-km free service maintenance package. Four colours are offered: Amazonite Grey, Pearl White, Nera Black and Orange Fusion.

    As the SUV is locally assembled (CKD) at the Stellantis manufacturing plant in Gurun, Kedah, it benefits from full sales tax exemption – this is set to end come June 30, 2022. BAASB also points out that the 2008 had successfully endured 200,000 km of testing in Malaysia, which is likely why there have been various camouflaged examples on our roads in the past few months.

    For the asking price, you’ll get a PureTech 1.2 litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine that develops 130 hp and 230 Nm of torque. The figures are 20 hp and 25 Nm more than the previous 2008, which also had the three-potter engine, but was a lower-tuned version making 110 hp and 205 Nm.

    What’s unchanged is the transmission, which is a six-speed automatic sourced from Aisin that drives the front wheels. This setup can run on RON 95 or higher and is capable of hitting a top speed of 199 km/h; the rated fuel consumption is 4.5 l/100 km following the NEDC standard.

    Standard kit on the 2008 Allure includes 17-inch “Salamanca” alloy wheels, 215/60 profile tyres, automatic LED headlamps with matching DRLs, LED taillights, bulb-type rear fog lamps, rain-sensing wipers, roof rails, 12 parking sensors (split equally front and rear), chrome and black door handles, piano black pillar garnish and a chrome radiator grille.

    Other features are keyless entry and engine start, an electronic parking, passive cruise control, three drive modes (Normal, Eco and Sport), single-zone climate control, mood lighting, manually-adjustable front seats, black leatherette upholstery, a reverse camera, a tyre pressure monitoring system and walk away lock.

    The well-known Peugeot i-Cockpit is also present in 2008’s cabin and consists of a small-diameter, two-spoke steering wheel, a 10-inch digital instrument cluster with 3D-effect graphics as well as a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system. The last item supports both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and is hooked up to six speakers.

    Click to enlarge

    On the safety front, the 2008 comes with six airbags as standard, along with Dynamic Stability Control, Anti-Skid Regulation (traction control), ABS, EBD, brake assist, hill start assist, a seatbelt reminder system for all seats and Isofix child seat anchors.

    There are also a few active safety and driver assist systems packaged into the 2008, including high beam assist, a blind spot monitor, active lane keeping assist, driver attention warning and camera-based autonomous emergency braking (branded as Active Safety Brake). It should be noted that some of these features, such as AEB, aren’t even fitted to the 2008’s larger siblings.

    The 2008 enters a competitive space and will take on other B-segment SUVs like the Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3, Hyundai Kona and Proton X50. Given the price tag and its specifications, would you be interested in the French model?

    Find full specifications of the Peugeot 2008 on CarBase.my.

    GALLERY: 2022 Peugeot 2008 1.2 PureTech Allure

    GALLERY: 2022 Peugeot 2008 press photos

     
  • Puspakom Voluntary Vehicle Inspection campaign for private vehicles – free of charge, January 21-31, 2022

    Puspakom is holding a Voluntary Vehicle Inspection (VVI) campaign for privately owned vehicles from today until January 31, 2022 in conjunction with the upcoming Chinese New Year festive season, it said in a statement.

    Vehicle owners who are interested in the free-of-charge VVI campaign can make appointments for the inspections through the official Puspakom website, and the service is being offered at all Puspakom inspection centres nationwide from 8am to 5pm, except for the Shah Alam and Pasir Gudang locations which cater specifically to heavy commercial vehicles.

    Alternatively, vehicle owners may also get the free voluntary vehicle inspections conducted on a walk-in basis at Puspakom mobile inspection units from 9am to 4pm, at the following dates and locations: Lotus’s Ampang on January 22, Seng Cars World in Sungai Long on on January 23, Wisma DRB-Hicom on January 26, Lotus’s Ara Damansara on January 29, and at the Plus R&R Dengkil (Southbound) on January 30.

    The VVI entails the inspection of 25 points including tyres, brakes, suspension, emissions, lights, vehicle exterior and undercarriage, window tinting and more, according to Puspakom.

    “Last year, the campaign was offered only at Puspakom inspection centres. This year however, the campaign is also being offered at Puspakom mobile inspection units, and the public is advised to take advantage of the opportunity to get their vehicles inspected for free in order to ensure that their vehicles are safe to drive, especially for those who will be driving to their hometowns this Chinese New Year,” said Puspakom CEO Mohammed Shukor Ismail.

    The inspection is made free of charge for the benefit of Malaysian road users particularly during the festive season, when the volume of vehicles on the road increase considerably. The normal price for the voluntary vehicle inspection is RM50 for each private vehicle.

    As is common practice now, visitors to Puspakom inspection centres or Puspakom mobile inspection units are required to adhere to the standard operating procedures outlined by the Malaysian government, such as the proper use of face masks and checking in on the MySejahtera mobile application.

     
  • Malaysia-Singapore VTL reopened – land and air vaccinated travel lane, ticket sales quota halved

    The Malaysia-Singapore vaccinated travel lane (VTL), which was suspended on December 23, has been reopened effective today, the health ministry (KKM) announced. This applies to both land and air VTL.

    KKM says that following risk assessment based on the current Covid-19 situation in both countries, sales of flight and bus tickets are now open. However, for now, the quota for tickets sold from today (January 21) will be reduced by 50%, or half of the capacity of the bus and flight.

    VTL travellers who have already bought tickets for travel after January 20 before the suspension announcement (December 23) are allowed to proceed with the journey according to the old quota. KKM says that the timeline regarding the increase in ticket sales quota will be subject to risk assessment that will be carried out from time to time based on the Covid-19 situation in both countries.

    The SOP is that VTL travellers will have to take three self RTK-Ag quick tests, on the second, fourth and sixth day upon arrival in Malaysia. Professionally conducted RTK-Ag quick tests will have to be done on days three and five upon arrival. In total, one has to take five quick tests – three on your own and two at a facility.

     
  • Toyota Corolla Altis GR Sport revised in Thailand – new look, hybrid variant, standard Toyota Safety Sense

    Toyota Motor Thailand has introduced a new version of the Corolla Altis GR Sport, which has been redesigned and now takes after the Taiwanese model – in a similar fashion to the Corolla Cross GR Sport. Of bigger news is that the look-faster variant can now be had as a hybrid and with the Toyota Safety Sense suite of driver assistance systems as standard.

    On the outside, the stuck-on bodykit and other aesthetic addenda have been replaced by a new front bumper with a much wider lower grille, plus fake vertical corner air inlets and gloss black strips that give the impression of a larger upper grille. There are also sleeker side skirts and a more subtle rear skirt with an integrated diffuser design. Two-tone versions of the regular 17-inch alloy wheels complete the look.

    Inside, the GR Sport is visually identical to before, with red highlights on the door grab handles and leather seats, plus red stitching and GR headrest embossing. A GR engine start button, a new head-up display and a manual rear windscreen sunshade have been added to the kit list, while the hybrid model’s seven-inch digital instrument display has now been made a standard feature on all Corolla Altis variants bar the base 1.6G.

    As per the Taiwanese model, the Thai car comes with uprated suspension that consists of revised springs, dampers and rear anti-roll bar. Safety-wise, both petrol and hybrid GR Sport variants come with autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, lane centring assist, lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert and automatic high beam.

    The petrol car continues to be powered by a 2ZR-FXE 1.8 litre naturally-aspirated Dual VVT-i four-cylinder engine, producing 140 PS at 6,000 rpm and 177 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. It is mated to a CVT with seven virtual ratios and steering wheel paddle shifters.

    New to the GR Sport is the hybrid powertrain that pairs an Atkinson-cycle version of that mill (which, by the way, churns out 98 PS at 5,200 rpm and 142 Nm at 3,600 rpm) with a 72 PS/163 Nm electric motor and a nickel-metal hydride battery to generate a total system output of 122 PS. Toyota claims a combined fuel efficiency figure of 23.3 km per litre.

    The hybrid HEV GR Sport replaces the previous range-topping Corolla Altis model, the HV Premium Safety, and is priced at 1,114,000 baht (RM141,100). The 1.8 GR Sport, on the other hand, receives a 60,000 baht (RM7,600) price premium and now retails at 1,059,000 baht (RM134,100).

     
  • PLUS apologises for traffic congestion due to RFID rollout, to reinstate 43 SmartTag lanes at 34 toll plazas

    Highway concessionaire PLUS Malaysia has apologised to all its highway customers for the inconvenience caused as a result of the congestion during its initial RFID rollout along the North-South Expressway from Juru to Skudai on January 15.

    Acknowledging the inconvenience caused to its highway customers during the initial RFID implementation along its Juru to Skudai stretch, PLUS said via a statement that it is reactivating 43 SmartTAG lanes at 34 toll plazas to address the issue and manage traffic at the toll plazas.

    It said that 16 toll plazas with 19 Touch ‘n Go lanes will have SmartTAG lanes reinstated by January 25 in anticipation of increased traffic during the expected travel exodus for Chinese New Year. Subsequently, post CNY, on February 19, 18 more toll plazas will convert 24 lanes to SmartTAG lanes.

    The move comes following a recent meeting between PLUS’ senior management and works minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof and the director-general of the Malaysia Highway Authority (LLM), Datuk Mohd Shuhaimi Hassan, where the works minister raised his concern on the public’s unhappiness in relation to the RFID implementation and the removal of the SmartTag lanes at certain toll plazas.

    PLUS said that with steering and guidance from the works minister, it has identified areas of improvement and is taking proactive steps that are fully aligned with prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s announcement that the RFID solution should be an option for the rakyat in terms of how they choose to make toll payments. “Users must be given the freedom whether to use RFID, Touch n Go or SmartTAG,” he said.

    It said it teams have been formed to work around the clock on the ground to optimise system performance and sharpen detection at all toll plazas, and that it will deploy quicker “double arm” lane barriers at plazas with high traffic to ensure traffic will be able to be managed and cleared quickly. Additionally, visual RFID detection zones will be painted on RFID lanes to ensure customers are able to position their vehicle to ensure optimum detection.

    The highway operator also said it has assigned customer service assistants (CSAs) at all 158 RFID lanes across 74 toll plazas to assist customers who are stuck at lanes. Using portable detection devices, the CSAs will help determine if there is a fault with a RFID tag. Motorists experiencing RFID detection issues will receive a TnG coupon for assessment of the tag at the nearest TnG fitment center – if found to be faulty, TnG will replace the tag for free.

    For the convenience of motorists, PLUS said there are 24 fitment centres on its highways and 35 at locations outside PLUS highways, with the full locations listed here. It added that it will continue to work with TnG to increase the number of RFID fitment centers to ensure that proper tag fitting by a professional fitment agent is available to customers.

     
  • 2022 Toyota GR Corolla to get automatic option: report

    The Toyota GR Corolla drip feed of information continues, after a string of teasers including an initial spot-the-clues image, a second, slightly closer view and a view into its driver’s footwell just before the turn of the new year.

    Now, a report has emerged that the GR Corolla could receive an optional automatic gearbox, according to Best Car Web. No word on what the actual hardware for the two-pedal transmission will be, though the other GR hatchback already in production, the GR Yaris can also be specified with an automatic transmission, namely as the Japan-only RS variant.

    This however, is paired with a different engine, specifically the M15A-FKS 1,490 cc three-cylinder Dynamic Force engine with 120 PS and 145 Nm of torque.

    The automatic gearbox itself is a Direct-Shift CVT, and though there is no confirmation of the exact engine-gearbox pairing for now, the JDM GR Yaris RS could set the precedent of using a different powertrain for the two-pedal version.

    The GR Yaris gets a JDM-only RS variant, which uses a naturally aspirated M15A-FKS engine and CVT in the same chassis – could the auto GR Corolla go the same route?

    Here, the CVT option sends drive to just the front wheels, as opposed to the GR Yaris’ starring turbo G16E-GTS engine that is paired to a GR-Four AWD system. That GR Yaris RS does however retain the full GR chassis, which is the three-door bodyshell with a lower roof line and double wishbone rear suspension, and this too could mean that the automatic GR Corolla retains the full-spec chassis, whichever powertrain it gets.

    As for the GR Corolla, Best Car Web reports that its engine could be slightly uprated to 300 PS, up from the GR Yaris’ 272 PS, though peak torque will reportedly remain at 370 Nm. Certain markets, such as Malaysia, get a slightly lower state of tune for outputs of 261 PS and 360 Nm. The Corolla will reportedly also get the electronically controlled multi-plate clutch for front-to-rear torque distribution.

    The GR Corolla’s bodyshell is less of a departure from the regular Corolla’s, compared to the transition from base TNGA Yaris – which uses torsion beam rear suspension in FWD versions – to GR Yaris. For now, there isn’t a confirmed date for the debut of the GR Corolla, though its rather production-ready looking body from the last teaser suggests the C-segment hot hatch could premiere this year.

     
 
 
 

Latest Fuel Prices

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Last Updated 20 Jan 2022