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  • Malaysian vehicle sales data for April 2020 by brand

    As reported earlier, the month of April saw what was the worst performing month ever in terms of new vehicle sales, with the country right in the thick of the fight against Covid-19 with the movement control order (MCO).

    According to data from the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA), just 141 cars were shifted in April. This represents a drop of 22,337 units or a 99.37% decrease from the 22,478 units in March, which was already 44% lower than the February total.

    How then was it possible that 131 passenger vehicles and 10 commercial vehicle registrations were carried out during a period where all car showrooms nationwide were shuttered and road transport department (JPJ) offices remained closed? According to industry sources, with new vehicles not needing Puspakom inspection, all that was needed was registration, and it remained possible to do so online during the MCO period.

    The sources said that in many of these instances, the registrations that were carried out were for vehicle purchases in which car loans had already been approved pre-MCO and a Letter of Undertaking (LoU) had already been issued, and the completion of the registration was so there would be no lapse in the agreement, which would entail needing to go through the whole process again.

    However, the registered vehicles would not have physical documentation or road tax, and with no PDI and facilities closed, owners would have had no avenue to collect the vehicles, making them mere statistics in the system.

    Specifics-wise, only 10 brands had anything to shout about in a month completely full of red arrows, and market leader Perodua again led the way with 57 units, which was a massive drop from the 8,601 units it did the month before. Honda, which is third in the overall standings this year, was the second best performer last month, achieving 27 units.

    It was followed by Proton, which managed 22 units, and Toyota, which recorded 13 units for the month. The fifth-best performer for the month was Nissan, which racked up eight units, while Mitsubishi chipped into the grand total with six units.

    The best performing European brand was Volkswagen, its five units clearly outstripping Peugeot and Volvo, which each recorded one unit. Rounding off the list is Hyundai, which also achieved one unit, which was still better than everyone else on the list. If there’s any consolation to this tale of woe, it’s that May must surely be a better month.

    Click to enlarge.

     
  • April 2020 Malaysian vehicle sales drop nearly 100%

    The Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) has released vehicle sales data for the month of April 2020. With the movement control order (MCO) in force, all new vehicular activity was at a complete stop last month. Well, almost, because as it turns out, there were still a handful of registrations despite the Covid-19 outbreak.

    When we mean a handful, we mean a handful. The month saw only 141 units being recorded, a drop of 22,337 units or a 99.37% decrease from the 22,478 units in March, which was already 44% lower than the February total. As a result of that, the year-to-date total industry volume (TIV) stood at 106,601 units, significantly behind to the 192,971 units recorded for the corresponding period last year.

    Of the total, 131 were passenger vehicle registrations, while 10 were commercial registrations. As to why there were even registrations in April, given that the road transport department (JPJ) was closed for the duration, we were told by industry sources that it remained possible to register a car online during the lock-down, but the cars would not have road tax and full documentation, or be able to be collected.

    The sources said that in these instances, the registrations were for vehicle purchases in which car loans had already been approved pre-MCO and a Letter of Undertaking (LoU) had already been issued, and the completion of the registration was so there would be no lapse in the agreement, which would entail needing to go through the whole process again.

    The association expects the sales volume in May to be much higher than in April, but much lower than the traditional number of monthly registrations prior to the MCO. It said that automotive showroom traffic is anticipated to remain slow, and with banks being more stringent in approving hire purchase loans as well as reducing the hire purchase loan quantum, it’s not going to be smooth sailing.

     

  • May 2020 week four fuel price – RON 95 goes up to RM1.38, RON 97 to RM1.68, diesel increases to RM1.51

    It’s Friday, and as such, time for the regular weekly fuel price update. Not so pleasant news for motorists as fuel prices – which climbed last week following a month where it remained unchanged – have gone up again across the board for the coming May 23-29 week.

    The ministry of finance has announced that Euro 4M RON 95 petrol will be priced at RM1.38 per litre, up by seven sen from the RM1.31 last week. Likewise, there’s a seven sen increase for RON 97, which will now go for RM1.68 per litre in the coming week (RM1.61 last week).

    As for Euro 2M diesel, that sees a six sen increase to RM1.51 per litre (RM1.45 last week), so this means that Euro 5 diesel, which costs 10 sen more than Euro 2M diesel, will now be priced at RM1.61 per litre for the coming week.

    These prices will remain in effect until May 29, when the next fuel price update is announced. This is the 20th edition of the weekly fuel pricing format for 2020 and the 72nd edition in total for the format, which runs from Saturday until the following Friday.

     
  • Jaguar Land Rover predicts RM2.7 billion in parts import tariffs p.a. in event of no-deal Brexit – report

    British automaker Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) would have to fork out an additional £500 million (RM2.7 billion) in parts import tariffs alone, should the United Kingdom leave the European Union with no deal, chief financial officer Adrian Mardell was reported as saying by Autocar.

    The remarks made by Mardell were discovered from records of a meeting between the CFO and investment banks back in January, where Mardell said he ‘fully expects’ the transition period to last until January 1, 2021, after which there will be a ‘different relationship’.

    “We’ve gone through two versions of potential crash-outs already, in the end of March 2019 and at the end of October, and what we did was to protect ourselves by closing the plant for a week. We will decide at the back end of this calendar year whether that’s an appropriate measure. If we do crash out (of the EU), if we go to WTO (World Trade Organisation) rules, it will be about a £500m duty hit, or £40m (RM213 million) a month,” said Mardell.

    That said, should the United Kingdom find itself in this position, it would not remain so for long, said Mardell. “I don’t personally believe that we’d really be at those WTO levels for a significant period of time. I think it would be a negotiating position which is negotiated away by one side or the other,” he said.

    Jaguar Land Rover has furloughed around half, or 20,000 of its non-critical workers during the Covid-19 crisis, although the firm is paying their salaries in full this month, the magazine reported. Meanwhile, board-ranking executives have deferred their salary payments for three months, while CEO Ralf Speth has taken a 30% pay cut.

    Latest figures show that JLR sold 508,659 vehicles for the 2019-2020 financial year, representing a 12.1% drop from the same period a year prior. The last financial quarter between Janurary and March saw a 30.9% drop year-on-year to 108,869 units, Autocar reported.

    Jaguar suffered more than Land Rover in this time, the former charting a 22% drop overall for the year and down 42.6% to sell 28,288 units in the last quarter, while Land Rover recorded a 7.7% dip overall for the year and down 25.6% for a total of 81,581 units sold in the last quarter.

     
  • Nissan may cut 20,000 jobs as part of its restructuring

    The woes continue for Nissan. Japan’s third-largest automaker, which has said it is planning to restructure its operations and cut costs, may have to further reduce its global workforce as it seeks ways to restore its business to profitability.

    Last July, it had said that it was set to cut 12,500 jobs at 14 production bases across the world by March 2023 as part of a restructuring. Now, as Kyodo News reports, the number of cuts may increase to over 20,000, which would represent a 15% reduction of its 139,000 global workforce.

    Sources told the publication that slumping sales due to the Covid-19 pandemic is necessitating a revision of the restructuring plan, and the company is considering cutting jobs in Europe and some emerging economies as it seeks to streamline production operations and restore its battered business.

    The deepening business slump, exacerbated by the pandemic, has pushed Nissan to work on additional reform measures. It has already announced plant closures in Spain as well as Indonesia and some other emerging markets, and the phasing out of its Datsun sub-brand.

    Downsizing plans, which were reported last month, are expected to be revealed in a new medium-term management plan that will be announced. This will likely include a cut of global output capacity by 20% by fiscal 2022.

    The company is set to release its earnings results for the year ended March, and has already said it expects to report a group net loss of 85 billion yen (RM3.4 billion) to 95 billion yen (RM3.86 billion) in fiscal 2019. Global sales amounted to 4.79 million vehicles, marking a progressive slide from the record high of 5.79 million units it achieved in fiscal 2017.

     
  • 2022 Ford Ranger and Everest to get plug-in hybrid?

    The current Ford Ranger, codenamed the T6, has been around for a massive nine years now. Not that its age has slowed it down at all, with the myriad of facelifts, added technologies and even a high-performance Raptor variant ensuring that the Blue Oval remains at the sharp end of the one-tonne pick-up market.

    But nips and tucks won’t stop it from eventually going away, and the indication is that the next-generation Ranger will be revealed sometime closer to the end of 2022. That’s according to Australian portal CarExpert, which claims to have received confidential details regarding the truck and its SUV sibling, the Everest.

    The two vehicles will apparently retain the T6 platform, albeit modified and fitted with a pair of new powertrains. One engine that will be carried over is the Panther 2.0 litre twin-turbocharged four-cylinder diesel, introduced with the T6’s last facelift and making 210 hp and 511 Nm of torque. We expect single-turbo variants to be available for cheaper, more utilitarian models, as with the current Ranger.

    The divergence from its predecessor will happen further up the range, where the truck could receive a 3.0 litre V6 turbodiesel – derived from the F-150 in the United States, it is tipped to make 249 hp and a tree-pulling 600 Nm. It will likely be offered on the next Raptor, which could also get the F-150 Raptor’s adaptive Fox Racing Shox dampers introduced last year.

    But the biggest news by far is the addition of a plug-in hybrid model, as Dearborn intensifies its electrification efforts. There won’t be a diesel under the bonnet, but a 2.3 litre turbo four-pot petrol – probably the same one found in the Mustang and Focus ST – linked to an electric motor. Together, they are expected to deliver a whopping 362 hp and 680 Nm, as well as a fuel consumption figure of 3.0 litres per 100 km. All models will reportedly be fitted exclusively with a 10-speed automatic transmission.

    This upwards trajectory in performance, sophistication and likely price will likely be matched by the technology on board, with the report also suggesting that the new Ranger and Everest will be available with the latest SYNC 4 infotainment system. First seen on the Mustang Mach-E electric SUV, it will come with a smaller 12.8-inch portrait touchscreen and a 10.25-inch instrument display.

    The development of the next-generation Ranger will be shared with Volkswagen, after the latter signed an agreement with Ford last year. This means that the future Amarok will share most of the Ranger’s structure, components and possibly even engines.

     
  • FIRST LOOK: 2020 Kia Grand Carnival 11-seat, RM180k

    The 2020 Kia Grand Carnival with 11 seats has finally landed in Malaysia, effectively replacing the older eight-seat KX (RM155,888) and SX (RM184,888) variants. The sole people carrier is priced at RM179,888, comes in four colours (Snow White Pearl, Silky Silver, Aurora Black Pearl and Panthera Metal), and is covered with a five-year or 150,000 km warranty package.

    In terms of specs, it gets halogen projector headlights with LED DRLs, halogen fog lamps, 18-inch silver wheels with 235/60 profile tyres, powered sliding rear doors, and LED combination tail lights. The car doesn’t come with a powered boot, unfortunately.

    The big news is the cabin, of course. The Multiflex seats offer six-, seven-, eight- and 11-seater layouts – fabric upholstery is standard. The second and third row seats offer manual 40:20:40 split folding function, while the fourth row seats are pop-up units which stow away into the boot floor. Luggage capacity starts from 33 litres, increasing up to 2,335 litres with all passenger rows folded.

    Other features include a seven-inch touchscreen head unit with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, a six-speaker setup, reverse camera, three-zone climate control, and a cluster ioniser. There are also sunshades in the second and third rows, as well as four USB charging points and a power outlet in the rear.

    The 2.2 litre turbodiesel makes 200 PS at 3,800 rpm and 440 Nm of torque at 1,750 to 2,750 rpm, with drive sent to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. So, which would you pick, this or the Hyundai Grand Starex?

     
  • 2020 BMW S1000RR superbike in Malaysia, RM116,500

    Following the launch of the BMW Motorrad S1000RR M Sport Package last year, priced at RM138,500, BMW Motorrad Malaysia has now released the 2020 BMW Motorrad S1000RR, retailing at RM116,500. Pricing for the S1000RR does not include insurance but comes with a three-year warranty and three-year Roadside Assistance Programme.

    Carrying a brand-new inline-four cylinder, the S1000RR gets 207 hp at 13,000 and 113 Nm of torque at 11,000 from it’s 999 cc mill. The new superbike power plants features BMW ShiftCam Technology, allowing for variable intake valve timing and stroke and gives increased torque across the S1000RR’s rev range.

    Power gets to the ground via the up-and-down quickshifter equipped gearbox – swappable between road and race shift patterns – and chain final drive. As befits BMW Motorrad’s top of the line superbike, electronic riding aids come standard, including BMW Dynamic Traction Pro with wheelie control that gives the rider four ride modes – Rain, Road, Dynamic and Race – while riders wanting to push the S1000RR’s performance envelope on the track will need to install the optional Pro Mode that gives a further three customisable ride modes as well as launch control and pit lane speed limiter.

    Hill Start Control helps the rider during uphill starts is included in the riding aids package while weight is now 197 kg compared to the previous model’s 208 kg. The exhaust system has also been revised and is now 1.3 kg lighter than previous.

    Inside the cockpit, a new TFT-LCD display, controlled from the left handlebar pod, is now legible even under difficult lighting conditions. The display allows for four user selectable displays with the Pure Ride screen intended for road use and three Core screens designed for maximum visibility at the racetrack.

    Also available is Connectivity which pairs with the rider’s smartphone for music playback and phone calls, used in conjunction with the BMW Connected app. The 2020 BMW Motorrad S1000RR is available at authorised BMW Motorrad Malaysia dealers from May 22 in two colour options, Racing Red and Hockenheim Silver Metallic.

     
  • Thailand auto industry proposes ‘cash for clunkers’ trade-in scheme for old cars – should Malaysia follow?

    Thailand’s battered auto market has come up with an idea that it hopes will spur the new car market – cash for clunkers. The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) auto club is proposing a car trade-in scheme to the government to help boost domestic demand for autos. It’s ultimately a bid to prop up volume for the carmakers and prevent job losses.

    The FTI is also urging the Thai government to extend the corporate income tax deadline for another year from this year’s August date because carmakers want to hold on to precious working capital in these hard times, brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Under the proposed cash for clunkers scheme, the government will encourage Thais to purchase new and eco-friendlier vehicles, while trading in cars that are over 20 years old, FTI auto club spokesman Surapong Paisitpatanapong told the Bangkok Post, adding that around two million old cars in Thailand would qualify for the scheme.

    However, the scheme will need car companies to opt-in, with each company determining which of its models will be eligible. Surapong also said that the government may not be able to fund the scheme entirely, but it could provide some support, such as a subsidy of 50,000 baht (RM6,848) per car.

    This beautiful Toyota Corolla KE10 may be old, but it ain’t no clunker – pics for illustration only

    “The global economic slowdown has lowered purchasing power both in Thailand and overseas, which has affected sales volumes. Many carmakers cannot afford to pay operating costs, which include labour, so some companies are cutting work days and delaying reopening their manufacturing plants after shutting down in April,” Surapong said, adding that some OEMs and auto parts companies are considering lay offs.

    It’s likely that companies will try to retain high-skilled labour. “The first group that car makers will likely let go will be subcontracted employees, then employees will be offered the option of voluntarily resigning,” the FTI man added. The automotive and related parts industries employ around 750,000 people in the “Detroit of the East”.

    It was earlier reported that car sales in Thailand fell 65.02% in April to 30,109 units, which is the lowest level in a decade.

    Last month, FTI said that Thailand’s auto production is expected to fall 37% to 1.33 million units this year, and the drop could be as bad as 50% (to one million units) should the Covid-19 crisis drags into June. The latest 1.33m forecast consists of 665,000 units for export and 665,000 units for domestic consumption, split evenly. Previous projections were two million units in January and 1.9 million units in March.

    If this proposed scheme sounds familiar, you might recall the Proton Xchange programme from 2009, where the national carmaker offered a RM5,000 cash rebate with a new Saga or Persona, in exchange for a car that was over 10 years old. Proton received a total of 25,862 applications from March to October that year, exhausting the funds provided by the government’s economic stimulus plan before the year ended.

    Since then, carmakers and the government have toyed with scrappage as part of a wider Vehicle End of Life policy, but the idea has always met with resistance from the public despite the proposal being voluntary. And because of that, there has been no fruit.

    It was popular in that small 2009 window, but would an old car trade-in and scrappage scheme work again in today’s Covid-19 ravaged car market? If implemented in Malaysia for say, locally assembled cars below RM100k, do you have anything to exchange for a new car discount, and if yes, would you do it?

     
  • C238/A238 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupé, Cabriolet facelift teased – latest MBUX, safety, May 27 debut

    In just five days, Mercedes-Benz will present the facelifted versions of the C238 E-Class Coupé and A238 Cabriolet, and the company has released teasers ahead of their debuts. The two-door models will be unveiled two months after the sedan and estate models, which introduced a bold new look and a smorgasbord of the latest technologies.

    Unfortunately, the image provided doesn’t show much new with the cars, although the Coupé at the back – which we’re assuming is the Mercedes-AMG E 53 4Matic+ – sports the Panamericana grille previously reserved for Affalterbach’s top-dog 63 models.

    We do know, however, that the front end will get the same comprehensive rework as the sedan, which received reshaped headlights and a new trapezoidal grille. The rear nip and tuck won’t be quite so thorough, however, with the changes limited to new OLED graphics, according to recent spyshots.

    Expect the interior to feature a range of new steering wheels, with AMG Line models getting a radical twin-spoke design. These will be fitted with capacitive touchpads to control the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system, which made its debut in the W177 A-Class.

    The latest version will come with a few off-kilter additions for the “Hey Mercedes” voice control system, such as a snow report for popular skiing destinations, a quiz of the capitals of the world and even the latest horoscopes. Safety has also been given a boost with the addition of navigation-based Distronic adaptive cruise control that can adjust the speed based on live traffic information, along with crossing traffic detection for the autonomous emergency braking system and a door opening warning.

    Engines will almost certainly be shared with the sedan and include the new M256 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol mill, which will come with a 48-volt mild hybrid system that adds 20 PS and 180 Nm of boost upon acceleration. This will replace both the M264 and M274 four-pots in the range, whereas the M256 3.0 litre straight-six, also with mild hybrid technology, will supersede the M276 V6 found in the E 450.

    These engines will have power outputs ranging from 156 PS to 367 PS, while the E 53’s uprated M256, which makes 435 PS and 520 Nm of torque (with an additional 22 PS and 250 Nm from the mild hybrid system) will remain unchanged. As for the diesels, the OM654 2.0 litre four-cylinder and OM656 3.0 litre straight-six will soldier on but with upgraded emission control systems, with outputs from 160 PS to 330 PS.

    GALLERY: C238 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupé spyshots


    GALLERY: C238 Mercedes-AMG E 53 4Matic+ Coupé spyshots

     
 

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Latest Fuel Prices

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RON 95 RM1.38 (+0.07)
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Last Updated 23 May 2020



 

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