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  • Nissan’s best bet for a turnaround is China – report

    As Nissan reels from heavy losses and slumping global sales, the China market is looking like its best bet for a turnaround, Automotive News reports. This is buoyed by its early entry into the world’s second largest auto market – in 2003, Nissan took on a 50:50 partnership with Dongfeng Motor Group, allowing ample time to establish itself as one of the strongest Japanese passenger automakers in the country.

    In June, it ranked fourth in terms of car sales volume (excluding MPVs) with a 6.7% market share, trailing behind Volkswagen Group’s two joint venture companies and GM-SAIC Motor. While Nissan’s global sales performance took a drastic back seat, shipments in China only slid by 1%, and still comprises one-third of the 4.93 million cars it sold worldwide.

    In fact, sales for Nissan have been on the up since April, and peaked in July with 121,000 units (12% up compared to July 2019). In August, that figure dipped by a mere 2.4%, but the bright side remains the fact that the Sylphy outsold the Volkswagen Lavida to be the best-selling model in the country.

    Nissan CEO Ashwani Gupta told Bloomberg News that the automaker “has established a strong presence in China and continues to grow with a focus on delivering customer satisfaction.” Together with Dongfeng, it aims to boost total vehicle sales to 2.6 million by 2022. Nissan sold 1.55 million units in China during the latest fiscal year.


    The MQB-based Volkswagen Lavida Plus

    China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) secretary general, Cui Dongshu said: “Nissan’s edge in China is its appealing brand power accumulated from competitive models over the years. Yet it is quite challenging for the company to compete with Toyota because the latter has proven its competitiveness in innovation and competency in winning over motorists for not only its Toyota brand, but also Lexus.”

    Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Tatsuo Yoshida added that the next 12 months will be critical for Nissan, and it needs to introduce new models. “If Nissan delays even slightly, it will immediately be put in a weaker position. Toyota and Honda will constantly introduce new cars,” he said.

    Auto sales in China accounts for nearly 30% of the world’s total volume, and it’s the only country in the world with an annual tally exceeding 20 million units.

     
  • New Mitsubishi 3S centre opens in Temerloh, Pahang

    There’s a new Mitsubishi Motors 3S centre in Temerloh, and it’s operated by authorised dealer Auto Raya Timur. The new facility is located at Lot 9301 & 9297, Batu Tiga, Jalan Mentakab.

    With the new Mitsubishi Motors corporate image, the 11,000 sq.ft. dealership in the Pahang town has a customer lounge with WiFi and a display area for up to three vehicles. The service centre comes with a fully-equipped workshop with six service bays.

    “I would like to congratulate Auto Raya Timur, for successfully launching its first showroom here in Temerloh. As Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia (MMM) progressively work towards introducing the new Mitsubishi Xpander here in Malaysia, this new showroom represents our commitment to put customers as a priority, including providing them with a comfortable sales and after-sales experience when they visit our showrooms,” said Tomoyuki Shinnishi, CEO of MMM.

    With Temerloh onboard, the brand now has 52 showrooms (out of which 46 are 3S centres) and 52 service outlets throughout Malaysia.

    MMM is gearing up for the launch of the Xpander seven-seater, which will be CKD locally assembled. Here’s what you can expect from the Perodua Aruz and Honda BR-V rival with the Dynamic Shield face. Click the link for details and a walk-around video of the newcomer. Just around the corner now.

     

  • China’s QianJiang in MV Agusta marketing partnership

    Makers of some of the world’s loveliest motorcycles and survivor of numerous brushes with financial instability, MV Agusta, has teamed up with China’s QianJiang Motor for a distribution and sales partnership in the China market. Previously in partnership with Fekon, MV Agusta sees this alliance as a long-term move in plans to distribute its motorcycles in the Middle Kingdom, reports visordown.com.

    The QianJiang name will be familiar to many as one of China’s largest motorcycle makers, located in Winling, Zhejiang province and owner of Italian brand Benelli. The distribution agreement will see QianJiang take over seven brand-name stores in China and plans are being made to open 21 stores in the next 12 months.

    “I am thrilled about this agreement with QianJiang for the second phase of our expansion into the Chinese market. It is a very ambitious long term partnership that will make MV Agusta the number one Italian premium motorcycle brand in China in the next 5 years,” said Timur Sardarov, MV Agusta’s chief executive officer.

    The marketing partnership lends credence to rumours that Benelli’s upcoming four-cylinder model is based on a previous generation MV Agusta engine used in the Brutale 1000. “We thank MV Agusta for choosing to establish a new strategic partnership with us. MV Agusta is a world-famous brand with a long history, and also an old friend and close partner of Qianjiang Motorcycle,” Dongshao Guo, general manager of QianJiang was quoted as saying.

     
  • Porsche Centre Ara Damansara launched – RM15 mil investment; largest Porsche 3S centre in Asia Pacific

    Along with the launch of the Porsche Taycan in Malaysia, Sime Darby Auto Performance (SDAP) also opened the doors to its new flagship Porsche Centre Ara Damansara recently. This is the third dealership in the company’s portfolio, and its introduction comes as SDAP celebrates its 10th year anniversary as the official distributor of Porsche cars in the country.

    Built with an investment of over RM15 million, Porsche Centre Ara Damansara occupies a built-up area of 12,102 square metres and is the largest 3S Porsche Centre within a single facility in the Asia Pacific region.

    Within the facility is 8,000 square metres of working space spread across five levels, with two showroom floors that can showcase up to 26 cars. There’s also a larger aftersales reception area for customers, along with areas dedicated to Porsche Tequipment vehicle accessories and Porsche Driver’s Selection merchandise.

    Meanwhile, the two service and workshop levels house up to 21 service bays with state-of-the-art equipment, including frameless telescopic oil hydraulic lifts and high-voltage battery repair tools. The latter is to meet the service requirements of electrified Porsche models sold in Malaysia, including plug-in hybrids and the fully-electric Taycan.

    On the mention of electrification, Porsche Centre Ara Damansara, along with the Sungai Best and Penang outlets, are now equipped with DC fast chargers. These can deliver up to a maximum of 175 kW of charging power, making them the fastest in the country, while AC charging stations in the form of the Porsche Charging Dock provide AC charging capabilities.

    “The automotive industry has proved its resilience during these challenging times. Despite the circumstances, we remain committed to drive the development of Energy Efficient Vehicles (EEV), which include electric vehicles (EVs) as we head into a new era of connected mobility. This is in line with our efforts to further reduce our carbon footprint as announced in the National Automotive Policy 2020,” said Datuk Azman Mahmud, Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) CEO.

    “The introduction of these high-performance chargers offered by Sime Darby Auto Performance is a welcome step in developing the electromobility ecosystem in the country which then facilitates the required transformation and integration of the local automotive industry with regional and global networks within the increasingly competitive environment,” he added.

    “Sime Darby Auto Performance has been a key business partner in the region and we are looking forward to jointly grow our customer base and excitement. We are very committed to Malaysia and we believe this latest addition to the dealer network marks the beginning of an exciting new era for Porsche, not just in Malaysia but also within the Asia Pacific region,” commented Arthur Willmann, CEO of Porsche Asia Pacific.

    “Derived from the idea to share the joy for our brand and products, we are excited to see the new digital, lifestyle and experiential elements built into the dealership, which will deliver an immersive customer experience,” he continued.

    Fans of the Porsche brand can also experience a dedicated Motorsports Zone, where classic and modern racing cars are showcased. There are also racing simulators that allow guests to take a virtual spin on a variety of circuits.

    “A central part of the new concept is to create a unique brand experience and a gathering place for our Porsche community, appealing to existing and new customers. The customer journey begins with a coffee in the newly designed lounge area where fans of the brand can connect. In our experiential Motorsports Zone, we invite the whole family to test esports simulators or watch live screenings of races, such as FIA Formula E, Le Mans, Porsche Carrera Cup and even virtual racing,” added Christopher Hunter, CEO of SDAP.

    The Porsche Centre Ara Damansara is located at Sime Darby Motors City, with the address of 6, Jalan PJU 1A/7, Ara Damansara, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

     
  • Proton X70 to get Here Maps, QDLink phone mirroring via OTA update this month, replaces Baidu Maps

    Owners of the Proton X70 have received periodic over-the-air (OTA) updates and can expect a useful one in the coming weeks. At the media preview of the new Proton X50 last week, the carmaker revealed that the X70 will receive Here Maps and QDLink smartphone mirroring “this month” via OTA.

    Here’s the deal. The X70 infotainment system’s navigation function currently uses Baidu Maps, but there will be a new AMAP app that uses Here Maps. In January this year, it was announced that AMAP – Alibaba’s maps app – has selected Here Maps as global provider of map and traffic data outside of China. Previously owned by Nokia, Here Technologies is a Dutch-based company that is majority-owned by a consortium of German automakers.

    Proton promises a better user experience with the Here Maps-powered AMAP. The new X50 will ship with AMAP as part of its latest Geely Key User Interface GKUI 19 system, which you can read about in detail here.

    The other new feature that X70 owners can expect in the coming weeks is the new QDLink smartphone mirroring function that the X50 will ship with. While the X70’s current MirrorLink only works with Android phones, QDLink lets one mirror both Android and iOS phones on the car’s main screen – this is good news for iPhone users. This somewhat makes up for the lack of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility in the X70 and X50.

    Note that these updates will only be for the X70, and not the Premium variants of the Saga, Persona, Iriz and Exora.

    As for Joox Music, Proton will persist with the online music streaming service, but says that it will continue to improve the user experience according to customer needs. Joox replaced the X70’s previous Unlimited Music service in March.

     
  • W223 Mercedes S-Class on sale in Europe, fr RM470k

    Pricing for the all-new W223 Mercedes-Benz S-Class has finally been revealed. In Europe, the flagship tristar sedan is priced from 96,094 euros (RM470k) for the entry-level S 350 d, and goes up to 117,786 euros (RM575k) for the top S 500 4Matic variant.

    Dubbed the “best car in the world,” the seventh-generation S-Class gets a raft of cutting edge technologies, such as multibeam LED headlights with the optional Digital Light, huge 11.9-inch LCD infotainment display that’s upgradable to the 12.8-inch portrait OLED panel, twin 11.1-inch rear entertainment system, as well as a 7.0-inch Android tablet which can be docked into the rear centre armrest.

    Other niceties include a 64-colour ambient lighting system that comprises 250 LED modules, offering a much brightly lit cabin compared to the 40 LEDs from the outgoing model. There’s also a range-topping 4D Burmester surround sound system with 1,750 watts of power and 31 speakers.

    Currently, there are five variants of the W223 S-Class on sale in Europe. The base S 350 d is powered by the OM656 straight-six turbodiesel, making 286 PS and 600 Nm of torque. A 4Matic all-wheel drive variant is also available, above which sits the S 400 d 4Matic with 330 PS and 700 Nm from the same mill.

    On the petrol side, the S 450 4Matic and S 500 4Matic draws power from the same M256 3.0 litre straight-six engine. In the S 450, it makes 367 PS and 500 Nm, whereas the S 500 gets 435 PS and 520 Nm of torque. Both models get a 48-volt ISG that supplies power to a secondary electric compressor, which delivers an additional 22 PS and 250 Nm of accelerative boost. A mild-hybrid V8, as well as a PHEV model with up to 100 km of all-electric range will be introduced soon.

    Notable drive technologies include the E-Active Body Control suspension (replaces the Magic Body Control) and rear-wheel steering, the latter offering up to 10 degrees of steering angle. The S-Class also gets Road Surface Scan, Active Parking Assist, the world’s first rear frontal airbag (optional), and Pre-Safe Impulse Side (raises ride height by up to 80 mm in a side collision). Mercedes says the S-Class will get Level 3 hands-free driving in 2021, and Level 4 autonomous parking in the future.


     
  • August 2020 Malaysian vehicle sales go down by 8.2%

    The Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) has released vehicle sales date for the month of August 2020, and after a frenetic July, the pace slowed down a little last month. A total of 52,800 units were delivered in August, which was 4,752 units or 8.2% less than the 57,552 vehicles sold in July.

    The month’s sales were however better than the corresponding period last year, in which 51,148 units were shifted, making August 2020’s numbers higher than 2019’s by 1,652 units. In year-to-date terms, there’s still some catching up to do, with the tally for the first eight months of 2020 standing at 285,045 units, which is 113,274 units or 28.4% less than the 389,319 units managed up to August 2019.

    The association attributes the August sales dip to the increased clearance of backlog orders in July following the sales tax exemption announced by the government in June, as well as a shorter working month in August due to a few festive holidays.

    For the month of September, the association expects sales volume to be maintained at the August level – despite on-going promotion campaigns and the SST exemption in place until December, it anticipates that consumer sentiment will likely remain cautious, with the six-month loan moratorium coming to an end on September 30.

     
  • Peugeot Le Mans Hypercar hybrid race car teased

    Peugeot has announced the commencement of its Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) project, which will be developed with petroleum partner Total. This will be for an entry into the 2022 season of the World Endurance Championship (WEC), and one of the stipulations for this category means that there will be a minimum of 25 road-going units that will feature a powerplant derived from the race car.

    The forthcoming race car will feature hybrid powertrain with a total system output of approximately 680 hp driving all four wheels, with an electric motor contributing 200 kW (268 hp) at the front axle, said technical director of the Peugeot Sport WEC programme Olivier Jansonnie.

    “To this date, we have confirmed part of the aerodynamic concept, the engine framework has been decided and we have chosen the functionality of the hybrid system and its fundamental design. We still have several steps left before our debut in endurance in 2022; in studies, the production of prototypes and finally, affirmation on the bench and on the track,” Jansonnie said.

    Peugeot has not revealed technical specifications on its forthcoming LMH car, except to say that it will be larger (five metres long and two metres wide) and heavier than cars currently entered in the LMP1 category, which currently measure 4.65 metres long and 1.90 metres wide, the technical director said.

    The French automaker announced its return to the top level of endurance racing in the Le Mans Hypercar class, though its latest announcement did not mention an exact date for its entry into the WEC. The firm has yet to decide if it will enter races in the LMH class from the start of the 2022 season, as Peugeot motorsport head Jean-Marc Finot telling Autosport that this will not be decided until the beginning of 2022.

    “Our position is the same as before. Because the car will be [homologated] for five years, we need to be sure of our design,” he said. Separately, the motorsport division boss told the website that testing of Peugeot’s Le Man Hypercar has been delayed from its first test originally scheduled for mid-2021.

    “I think it will be some months later than we planned. Because of Covid we have had to postpone it, but it will be before the end of 2021,” he said, adding that “for September we will have to fight [for it to be ready] when asked if the car could be up and running by the start of autumn 2021.

     
  • Lamborghini Huracan Evo – now in 3D puzzle form

    Here’s another product with Lamborghini branding that you can afford, as it is priced at a relatively reasonable 34.99 euros (RM170.79). This is a 3D jigsaw puzzle of the Huracan Evo, the result of a collaboration between the Italian carmaker and German toymaker Ravensburger.

    Looks good, doesn’t it? The puzzle is made up of 108 numbered plastic pieces, which when assembled properly, faithfully recreates the V10-powered sports car in a 1:18 scale. Almost every detail of the real car is present here, including the Y-style front bumper and Y-shape headlamp graphic.

    The finished model sports an Arancio Xanto orange finish and measures 26 cm in length, with 32 feature accessories like the axles and four rotating wheels that replicate the Aesir ones, along with a front splitter and rear diffuser.

    So, if you have children who are aged eight years and older, recreating a scaled replica of the Huracan Evo could be a fun project. Alternatively, if you’re an adult looking for a puzzle to assemble while trying to solve the other puzzle of how to afford the real car, this is something worth considering.

     
  • 2021 MINI Paddy Hopkirk Edition debuts – hatch only

    MINI has launched the Paddy Hopkirk special edition model as a way to commemorate its iconic victory at the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally. This edition was created in honour of Patrick “Paddy” Hopkirk, who was 30-years-old at the time when he took the chequered flag in car number 37.

    Available in select markets from October 2020, the Paddy Hopkirk Edition is available as the Cooper S 3-Door, Cooper S 5-Door, and John Cooper Works variants. Standard features include the Chili Red exterior paint with white roof, a clear nod to the original #37.

    A set of 17-inch John Cooper Works light-alloy wheels in Track Spoke Black or 18-inch JCW Cross Spoke Jet Black can be had, whereas other exterior components are such as the radiator grille, lower air intakes, bonnet “vent” surrounds, door handles, fuel filler flap, tailgate handle, headlights and tail lights surrounds, and side mirror caps are all finished in high gloss black.

    Smaller details include the number 37 on the side scuttles, “Paddy Hopkirk Monte Carlo” stickers, as well as a single white bonnet stripe with the race-winning car’s “33 EJB” number plate on the driver’s side. Hopkirk’s signature is also used throughout the exterior and interior of the car.

    The MINI Excitement Package and Comfort Access are included as standard. The key fob also gets embellished with the number 37, and customers get to further equip the car with all the options that are offered with the MINI hatch. No changes have been made to the powertrain.

    Paddy Hopkirk’s victory in Monte Carlo made him the UK’s most famous rally driver overnight. The MINI that he drove was handicapped in the sense that its competitors were significantly more powerful, but crucial factors such as icy roads, round tight corners and steep slopes gave MINI’s agile characteristics the upper hand. Not forgetting Hopkirk’s driving skills too, of course.

     
 

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Last Updated 19 Sep 2020