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  • Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia announces goodwill of additional two-year warranty on DSG

    2016-volkswagen-puchong-service-centre- 004

    Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia (VPCM) has announced “VPCM Customer Care Goodwill,” which will provide an additional two-year warranty for Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) transmissions on VW cars produced up until December 2013 and with a mileage of up to 200,000 km. It said the goodwill will run after the expiration of the five-year warranty period on these vehicles.

    The two-year “VPCM Customer Care Goodwill” on DSG will see owners receiving an extended two-year parts warranty on the goodwill repair from the time of parts replacement – with the application of minimal labour charges. The additional two-year warranty, meanwhile, covers 100% parts and labour.

    Additionally, the goodwill programme is also being offered on other selected components for Volkswagen cars that have passed their five-year warranty period expiration date, but on a case-by-case basis. The company says that this will be clarified at the respective authorised VW service centres using a car’s VIN number on VPCM’s online system.

    As per Volkswagen standard parts warranty, parts that are replaced and paid for at an authorised VW service centre receive a two-year warranty, excluding wear and tear. The company adds that in order to qualify for the “VPCM Customer Care Goodwill” on DSG and other components, customers must have a full service history at an authorised VW service centre.

    The company added that a parts exchange programme on selected items is also available for customers, and that Economy Packages on specific VW models older than five years is also in the midst of being implemented at Volkswagen authorised dealer partners, and will be announced in due time.

  • SPYSHOTS: Volkswagen Arteon – CC successor seen

    The Volkswagen Arteon has been spotted in northern Spain thanks to our spy photographers who managed to snap the four-door coupe as it undergoes testing. The successor to the CC was first teased in sketch form not too long ago, ahead of its debut at next year’s Geneva Motor Show.

    While the prototype seen here is wearing a substantial amount of camouflage, certain design cues can be clearly seen. The most obvious is the car’s profile, which appears to be nigh identical to the Sport Coupe Concept GTE from 2015, featuring a rakish roofline that has touch of Audi A5 Sportback to it.

    Also visible are the three-dimensional-design headlamps, two-section front grille, sunroof, shark fin antenna and ten-spoke alloy wheels finished in black. Even though the car’s rear is covered here, the Arteon sketch revealed a boot spoiler, another physical feature found on the concept.

    The same can be said of the car’s fender vents, although the hood vents may not make the transition into the final production model. The Arteon is expected to be longer than the CC, and will ride on a stretched version of the modular MQB platform.

    The usual TSI petrol and TDI diesel engines, paired with a range of manual and DSG dual-clutch transmissions, will likely make its way under the Arteon’s hood. Given the fact that the MQB platform is capable of accommodating a hybrid powertrain, the Arteon could also be the recipient of one.

    On the Sport Coupe Concept GTE, a V6 TSI engine along with two electric motors offered a total system output of 380 hp. In terms of performance, Volkswagen claimed a range of up to 1,000 km, a 50 km pure electric range and a 0-100 km/h time of 5.2 seconds.

  • Nissan Note – Thai eco car to be launched next year


    Nissan is set to introduce the Note in Thailand next year, as part of its second phase Thai eco car plans, the Bangkok Post reports. The Note is a high-roofed five-door hatchback in the style of the Honda Jazz. The latest Note with a range extender hybrid system was unveiled for the Japanese market in October.

    Nissan was a pioneer in the first phase of the Thai eco car programme from 2007, and currently sells the March and Almera in the Land of Smiles. With 258,727 units sold, the Japanese carmaker is also the car company with the most eco cars sold, well ahead of Mitsubishi (133,005) and Toyota (129,985).

    Both the Almera sedan and March hatchback are powered by a 1.2 litre three-cylinder engine in Thailand, paired to either a five-speed manual or a CVT automatic. The HR12DE three-pot is the same engine that sits under the hood of the JDM Note e-Power, which adds on electric motor from the Leaf EV. The petrol engine is not connected to the front axle, and merely powers the motor – it’s a unique system that you can read in detail here. It would probably not make it to the Thai eco car, which has to be affordable to the masses.

    The second phase of Thailand’s eco car plan promises even more affordable cars, with excise tax cut to 12-14% from 17% in the first phase. Launched in late 2013, the second phase drew applications from Mazda, Ford, GM, SAIC Motor-CP (MG) and Volkswagen, joining first phase companies Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi, Suzuki and Toyota. Mazda was first off the block with second phase production (with the Mazda 2), but GM withdrew last year.

    GALLERY: JDM Nissan Note e-Power

  • Volkswagen launches Uber-rivalling company – MOIA

    MOIA ? das neue Unternehmen für Mobilitätsdienste im Volkswagen Konzern

    The Volkswagen Group launched a new mobility services company called MOIA at a technology event in London recently, which will challenge ride-hailing company Uber, joining the likes of Tesla.

    The newly-founded company will focus on individual mobility, which it describes as “convenient, at the touch of a button, at affordable prices and without having to own your own car.” The on-demand mobility service will be offered via a mobile app, with the company drawing upon the expertise of Gett, a ride-hailing provider, which the Volkswagen Group owns a stake in.

    According to Automotive News Europe, MOIA will initially use Transporter minivans in its operations, but they will be replaced with autonomous electric vehicles (EVs) in the future.

    2016-volkswagen-budd-e-concept-ces- 007

    The EVs will be based on the Group’s Modular Electric Platform (MEB), which first made its debut on the BUDD-e Concept from this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), and could resemble the techno minivan as well. MOIA CEO, Ole Harms mentioned that a concept of the vehicle will be shown by next year.

    He added that the company hopes to begin trials of driverless vehicles by 2019, and have fully autonomous fleets running by 2021 offering the service. The report also stated that the brand’s biggest markets will be Europe, the United States and China.

    “We are still moving around our cities like we did 20 or 30 years ago. We need to offer new forms of transportation and really improve the traffic situation,” said Harms. For a bit of trivia, the The name “MOIA” was derived from the Sanskrit word maya, meaning magic.

  • 2017 Benelli TnT135 mini-moto launched – RM8,469


    With the launch of the 2017 Benelli TnT135 at the Hard Rock Cafe in Kuala Lumpur today, local distributor Benelli Keeway has shown its intention to grab some of the local mini-moto market. Retailing at a price of RM8,469.40, including GST, the TnT135 is aiming for the newbie, fun bike market currently dominated by the Kawasaki Z125 Pro.

    Carrying an oil-cooled, 135 cc, twin-spark, SOHC single-cylinder engine, the TNT135 produces a claimed 13 hp that Benelli says is spread across the engine’s entire rev-range, making the bike flexible and easy to ride. The engine is coupled to a five-speed gearbox, that allows the rider to best match engine power to road speed.

    Electric start is standard, and the slanted, sporty exhaust we spotted during the Benelli TnT135‘s showing at the 2016 Sepang MotoGP is a nice design touch, very much resembling the exhausts on the MV Agusta Brutale 800. The frame is a steel tube trellis-frame design, carrying over in styling from the Benelli TnT25.

    Suspension is with a 41 mm upside-down fork in front, and a single shock absorber at the back that is adjustable for pre-load. The TnT135 rolls on 12-inch alloy wheels with high-profile tyres, and LED lighting features throughout. A digital instrument cluster displays all the rider needs to know, with the overall styling having much in common with Benelli’s bigger bikes.

    At a price of RM8,469 including GST, the 2017 Benelli TnT135 compares favourably with the 125 cc, four-speed, 2016 Kawasaki Z125 Pro, which retails at RM10,435, inclusive of GST. Rumour has it that the Honda MSX125SF – aka the Grom – will also be released in Malaysia soon.

    Meanwhile, Dante Bustos, chief marketing officer for Benelli, said during a press conference that the Benelli TRK 502 will be launched worldwide between April and June next year, after encouraging response during its initial launch in China.

  • Lexus LIT IS shown – 41,999 LEDs to light up your life

    As part of a promotional campaign for the Lexus IS, the company has revealed a custom version of the sedan featuring 41,999 programmable LEDs on its body. The “mobile screen” is dubbed the ‘LIT IS’, and would most likely not go down well with our local Road Transport Department (JPJ).

    Capable of producing a total of 175,000 lumens of illumination at full strength, the LIT IS will do other tricks too, like broadcasting graphics, as well as displaying various animations. The car can also be set to three different modes – Attract, Music Viz and Gesture.

    According to Lexus, Attract mode features a “loop of colorful graphics that highlight the strong lines of the IS and play into its bold styling.” Meanwhile, in Music Viz mode, the LEDs act like a visualiser, displaying graphics that sync to any song. In Gesture mode, the lights respond to a user’s hand motions via a gaming console.

    Each LED strip is applied by hand, and if placed end-to-end, they would cover a length of just over 800 metres. “A car as visually striking as the LIT IS required an equally dramatic debut. A music video was a perfect place to launch the LIT IS and working with Dua Lipa allowed the concept to come to life, putting a spotlight on the Lexus IS in an entirely new way,” said Brian Bolain, Lexus general manager of product and consumer marketing.

    In the video for Dua Lipa’s song Be the One, the LIT IS appears in several scenes, putting on its best light show, likely in sync with the music as well. Of course, if a car with fancy lights isn’t your cup of tea, maybe you can consider the saucy Lexus Sriracha IS?

  • Toyota TNGA platform engines and transmissions – initial details announced, introduction from 2017


    Toyota has announced initial details of its new powertrain lineup that will be deployed in its Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) modular platform programme. The plan will see the introduction of 17 versions of nine engines, 10 versions of four transmissions – including multi-geared automatic transmissions and a new continuously variable transmission – as well as 10 versions of six hybrid systems over the next five years.

    Developed along TNGA lines, the “Dynamic Force Engines” will be introduced starting from 2017, and the automaker says the new units are expected to feature in more than 60% of its vehicles sold annually in Japan, United States, Europe and China by 2021.

    The new engines employ high-speed combustion technology and a variable control system. They also achieve greater thermal efficiency, resulting in high output, due to a reduction in energy losses associated with exhaust/cooling systems and the movement of mechanical parts, among other things. They will be around 10% more powerful and have around 20% better fuel economy.


    The lineup will include a new 2.5 litre direct-injection four-cylinder engine, claimed to have one of the world’s best thermal efficiencies at 40% when used in gasoline-powered vehicles and 41% in hybrid vehicle applications.

    Also announced at this initial stage were two new automatic transmissions, an eight-speed Direct Shift-8AT and a 10-speed Direct shift-10AT. The units feature widened gears and a newly-developed high-performance compact torque convertor, which offer a broader gear lockup range.

    To minimise energy loss and heighten transmission efficiency, gear tooth surfaces were processed using a new technique for a lower coefficient of friction during gear engagement, and the configuration of the friction material used inside the clutch has been optimised to reduce clutch torque loss by approximately 50% during rotation when compared to a conventional six-speed transmission).

    The automaker also revealed developments on its Hybrid Synergy Drive front with the introduction of a new, high-performance Multistage THS II system for rear-wheel-drive vehicles. Enhanced for 2.5 litre engine applications, the Multistage THS II will offer improved start-from-stop acceleration performance and a more direct feel.

    The system for plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) has also been enhanced. A new dual-mode drive system allows the electric motor – previously used only as a generator – to provide direct driving power, resulting in improved driving performance, even when in EV mode. A large-capacity lithium-ion battery that increases the EV-mode cruising range to 60 km or more is also part of the improvements.

    Alongside the new TNGA power and drivetrain units, Toyota also anounced that it will be placing more emphasis on the development of hybrid technologies – it’s set to reorganise its development structure starting from next year and increase the number of hybrid technology development personnel by around 30% over the next five years.

  • 2017 Honda CR-V – a 7-seater version for Australia?

    2017 Honda CR-V

    The next big arrival in the midsize SUV segment is the 2017 Honda CR-V, which was first seen in October in the US. One of Honda’s core products, the new CR-V will be introduced across the world over the next year, and Australia is set to get the new model in the third quarter of 2017, reports.

    Speaking to Honda Australia director Stephen Collins, the report mentions an all-petrol line-up with no diesel option, as oil burner sales are on a decline there.

    No mention of it in the US press materials, but the fifth-generation CR-V was said to have been designed to have a seven-seat option; both that and the standard five-seater version will be offered Down Under, the report claims. “We’ll launch all variants at the same time,” Collins said. However, he added that the five-seater will be the big seller.

    2017 Honda CR-V

    Honda’s Australian arm is expecting the new CR-V to make a splash in a big and still growing segment that’s currently led by the Mazda CX-5 there, following the trend set by the new FC Civic. “We’ll have a very competitive offering with the CR-V. Look at Civic’s previous generation versus the current gen. We’re looking to replicate that success, and broaden the appeal of the car,” Collins said.

    Australia, like us a right-hand drive market, is set to get Thai-made CR-Vs in both 2.4 litre naturally aspirated and 1.5 litre turbo forms, with CVT automatic transmissions replacing the current five-speed torque converter units. Buyers can choose between FWD and AWD.

    The new CR-V is larger in every direction compared to the outgoing car, which is an example of good packaging. Honda claims more room for all onboard, plus more cargo space. There’s also a new dashboard layout, new drivetrains and an upgraded chassis, which Honda says will provide better handling, refinement, additional ground clearance and overall versatility. Full details and mega gallery of the new CR-V here.

    Keen on a 5+2 Honda CR-V, Nissan X-Trail style?

    GALLERY: 2017 Honda CR-V

  • Volvo V90 Cross Country gets Polestar optimisation

    The Volvo V90 Cross Country is the latest model to be offered the Polestar Performance Optimisation package, which sees improvements to the powertrain of the rugged wagon.

    Available for models fitted with either the T6, D5 or D4 powertrain (all being all-wheel drive), the optimisation enhances the car’s throttle response, gearshift speed, gearshift precision and gear hold, off-throttle response, and engine performance.

    With the upgrade, the T6 engine in the V90 CC now outputs 334 hp (up from 320 hp) and 440 Nm of torque (from 400 Nm). Meanwhile, diesel-powered models also receive a bump in power, with the D5 now producing 240 hp and 500 Nm (from 235 hp and 480 Nm), while the D4 provides 200 hp (from 190 hp) and 440 Nm (from 400 Nm).

    ”To include the V90 Cross Country, a true adventure crossover, in our optimisation programme is a vital part of our operation to further expand on Volvo Cars’ new SPA vehicle architecture. Our product provides performance-oriented customers with a new level of driving pleasure,” said Niels Moller, COO of Polestar.

    Volvo also expanded the optimisation programme to include another member of the 90 Series – the XC90 D4. For both all- and front-wheel drive models, there is now 200 hp available (up from 190 hp), but the former gets more torque at 460 Nm (from 420 Nm), compared to 440 Nm (up from 400 Nm) on the all-wheel drive version.

    For those in Malaysia who are interested in the Polestar Performance Optimisation programme, Volvo Car Malaysia is offering several packages for the V40 T5, XC60 (T5 and T6), and S60 T6. Aside from the powertrain optimisation, there are also upgrades available for the cars’ chassis, intake and exhaust, wheels, interior and exterior.

  • Caltex Power Diesel Euro 5 launched in Malaysia


    Caltex is the latest fuel retailer to introduce Euro 5 diesel in Malaysia – Chevron Malaysia has launched the new Caltex Power Diesel with Techron D at its outlet in Glenmarie; the latter is the first petrol station to carry the fuel. Positioned as Caltex’s ultra-premium diesel fuel, it retails at RM1.95 per litre as of December 2016 – 10 sen more than regular Euro 2M diesel.

    As with other Euro 5 diesel fuels, Caltex Power Diesel contains sulphur content of less than 10 parts per million (ppm), compared to the 500 ppm of current Euro 2M diesels. As such, it is suitable for modern diesel engines and emissions control equipment, and reduces the emission of harmful pollutants.

    On top of that, Caltex has added Techron D, now with triple the cleaning power than before. The additive is claimed to keep fuel injectors clean, restore lost power and improve acceleration and fuel economy, while decreasing exhaust emissions and preventing corrosion. Caltex said that after performing standard industry laboratory engine tests, Power Diesel produced 10% more power than a diesel fuel without any additives.

    Aside from the Glenmarie petrol station, the fuel is also available in Bandar Laguna Merbok in Sungai Petani, Kedah. The company plans to up the station count to 20 by the end of the month, and 50 by early next year.


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