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  • IIMS 2014: Jakarta’s ceweks wrap up our coverage


    We’ve come to the end of our 2014 Indonesia International Motor Show coverage – has been an annual visitor to the IIMS since 2011, and, God willing, we’ll continue to make the two-hour flight to Jakarta for years to come.

    This is because the show is growing from strength to strength, visible by the number of exhibitors, the amount of space it takes up and the growing visitor count – the 2014 edition drew in a big crowd of 311,405 over the 10 days it was held at the JI Expo in Kemayoran.

    Speaking of the venue, the show is outgrowing the venue, so much so that IIMS promoter Dyandra Promosindo had to turn down exhibitors. We’re told that the expo is set for an expansion, and there’s also the option of moving to a bigger location further away.

    But the main reason why we head to Jakarta every year is the cars. As Indonesia grows to rival Thailand as the biggest auto market in ASEAN – with such a large population and a low car ownership ratio, it’s set to overtake the Land of Smiles very soon – carmakers have started to bring regional and even world debuts (Honda CR-Z facelift in 2012) to Jakarta.

    The cars are relevant to us too, with many coming soon models previewed in Jakarta before heading to our shores. Small carmaker Daihatsu is big in Indonesia, and as sister to our market leader Perodua, its IIMS displays are always of interest to us.

    This year, Daihatsu paraded sequels of previous concepts, showcars that are one step closer to reality. We showed you the UFC-3 (next Alza?), CUV-2 (future Terios/Kembara?), Ayla GT2 (rally look for Axia’s sister) and some modded made-in-Malaysia Sirions.

    IIMS 2014 Showgirls 45

    Honda gave its HR-V compact SUV, which is coming to Malaysia next year, a regional debut in Jakarta. If the fantastic reader response to that story is anything to go by, the “baby CR-V” is set to be a big hit here.

    We also had a good look at the new Nissan X-Trail, just launched in Indonesia and debuting this year in Malaysia as a CKD. The Thai-assembled Mazda 2, also on its way here, made an appearance too. We have two specs of the ASEAN-spec supermini for you to compare here. Mitsubishi launched the Delica “Sport Utility MPV” for Indonesia at the show – would the high-riding seven-seater work here?

    We hope you’ve enjoyed our exclusive live coverage of IIMS 2014. If not, we hope this 66-pic gallery of Jakarta’s cewek cantik will make up for it. Our customary sign off, as usual, for your enjoyment. :)

  • RON 95 petrol, diesel prices up by 20 sen from Oct 2


    The Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs has announced that prices for RON 95 petrol and diesel will be increased by 20 sen at midnight, October 2. That’s tonight, so steer clear of petrol stations unless you absolutely have to tank up.

    The new price for RON 95 petrol at the pump will now be RM2.30 per litre, up from the current RM2.10 per litre. As for diesel, the price will be increased from RM2.00 per litre to RM2.20 per litre at the stroke of midnight. Pricing for unregulated RON 97 remains at RM2.75 per litre after a previous reduction earlier in September this year. No change for LPG either.

    The previous increase for RON 95 and diesel happened on September 3, 2013, where prices for both fuels were raised by 20 sen as well – RON 95 was increased from RM1.90 to RM2.10, while diesel jumped from RM1.80 to RM2.00 per litre.

    petrol-price-oct-2-watermarked 003

    In September, the actual pricing for RON 95 was RM2.57, with government subsidisation amounting to RM0.47 sen. The subsidy for diesel for the month, meanwhile, was RM0.59 sen per litre, with actual pricing being RM2.59.

    The Ministry said in a statement that the actual market price for the fuels as of press time was RM2.58 per litre for RON 95 and RM2.52 for diesel, meaning that with the 20 sen increase at the stroke of midnight, the subsidisation of these fuels will be brought down to RM0.28 sen per litre for petrol and RM0.32 sen for diesel.

    It added the move is in line with the subsidy rationalisation plan by the government, and that despite the reduction in subsidies, the government would still need to spend more than RM21 billion to subsidise RON 95, diesel and LPG this year.

  • Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept: a Panamera rival?

    Infiniti Q80 Inspiration - Paris Motor Show 2014_hires

    Infiniti is set to unveil the Q80 Inspiration concept car at the 2014 Paris motor show. Previously, the company has teased the public with a shot of the car’s profile and grille but this is the clearest shot of the car yet as it details the entire rear three quarters of it.

    The Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept is set to preview what we can expect from future Infiniti models as it is being referred to as “a design and technological highlight to which Infiniti’s four worldwide design studios will refer regularly in coming years”, according to their press release.


    As you can probably tell from the photo, the car will be a fastback concept that is closest in class to the Audi A7 and the Porsche Panamera. The car measures in at 5,052 mm (198.9 inches) in length, 2,027 mm (79.8 inches) in width and 1,350 mm (53.1 inches) in height. Wheelbase is 3,103 mm (122.2 inches).

    Wheels sizes are a massive custom 22-inch dual five-spoke lightweight alloys. The doors of the car open “portal style” into an interior swathed in a combination of carbon fibre, aluminium and leather. Seating is by way of what Infiniti calls it a “1+1+1+1″ seating configuration.

    Infiniti-Q80-Inspiration-fastback-concept 2

    Side mirrors are non-existent, helping to maintain a flowing silhouette of the car while a teardrop-shape greenhouse – made out of lightweight acoustic glass, runs the entire length of the roof. The concept will be used by Infiniti to showcase potential high-performance as well as hybrid-electric powertrains along with other technologies.

  • 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage – minor update announced

    2015 mitsu mirage 01

    Over in Australia, Mitsubishi Motors has announced that the sixth-gen Mitsubishi Mirage has been given a minor update for 2015. There are no major exterior revisions to the hatch, which began selling Down Under in early 2013. No changes to the powertrain either – the 3A92 1.2 litre DOHC three-pot unit continues on with its 78 PS at 6,000 rpm and 100 Nm at 4,000 rpm output.

    The update consists of technical improvements and new features. Additional sound insulation and a new mounting system for the engine find their way on in a move to increase the car’s overall refinement and performance.

    To improve NVH levels, extra sound insulation material has been added to the front and rear floor areas, the A-pillar, front cowl as well as the dashboard panel of the 2015 MY car.

    2015 mitsu mirage 03

    Changes to the engine mounting system, meanwhile, consist of a new hydraulic insulator and high rigidity cast aluminium bracket to reduce noise and vibration. Also on, a new lightweight and rigid cast steel bracket for the transmission.

    Aside from the NVH upgrades, the Mirage now features a short antenna mounted towards the rear of the roofline (the current one is sited at the front), new seat fabric/trim in an all-black interior, boot lamp and Emergency Stop Signal brake lights as standard. Cruise control and privacy glass make their debut on the higher-spec model.

    The Australian model range has also been scaled down from three to two, the entry-level ES and top-spec LS (ours are called the GL and GS), with the Sport variant being dropped. Given the common Thai-assembly route, it’s safe to expect the updated Mirage to be introduced here by Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia in due course – the question is when.

  • Opel Mokka 1.6 CDTI unveiled ahead of Paris debut


    The new Opel Mokka 1.6 CDTI has been unveiled prior to its Paris motor show debut. Onwards from early 2015, the car will be available with a new 1.6 litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine pumping out 136 hp and 320 Nm of torque.

    Opel’s 1.6 litre CDTI is part of the company’s new all-aluminium diesel engine range and is available with a six-speed manual as well as a six-speed automatic. Both transmission options are mated to a choice of either front or all-wheel drive. Performance figures include a 0-100 km/h time of just 9.9 seconds and a top speed of 191 km/h.


    In typical diesel fashion, the advantage is most obvious with in-gear accelerations figures – the Mokka clocking in a 80 to 120 km/h time of just 9.9 seconds in fifth gear. The 1.6 litre CDTI complies with Euro 6 emission standards, consuming just 24.4 km/litre of fuel and emitting 109 g/km of CO2 when paired to the six-speed manual transmission.

    Methods employed by Opel engineers to achieve the desired results in terms of performance and engine emissions include variable turbine geometry (VTG) turbos and a Lean NOx Trap (LNT) system – an after-treatment system for the exhaust that uses a diesel particulate filter that captures and reduces nitrogen oxide from the exhaust gases.

  • Proton Iriz EV prototype in Korea, developed with LG!


    Seems LG Electronics’ involvement in the future of the Proton Iriz isn’t just limited to the ADAS stereo camera and the NEXLIDE lights – MITI minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed has posted pictures of a Proton Iriz electric vehicle (EV) prototype on his Facebook page.

    Not completely far-fetched, this, since we know the Iriz’s all-new platform can has been designed to support hybrid and electric powertrains. Pictured here at LG’s R&D facility in Incheon, Seoul, the Proton Iriz EV prototype is claimed to have an all-electric range of 240 km – if that is so, it’s pretty impressive. The Nissan Leaf sold here only travels less than 200 km on a single charge.

    Malaysia Automotive Institute (MAI) CEO Madani Sahari revealed recently that a prototype of a locally-assembled electric vehicle will be completed by September 2015, and that it would be the result of a joint-venture between a local company and a foreign one. Was this what he meant?

    Late last year, we reported that Proton was targeting to bring its first EV to market by end-2015. Before that, Parliament was told that Proton would begin selling electric vehicles by 2014. At that stage, the national car company was collaborating with UK-based Frazer-Nash Research to develop its own EV. It has also worked previously with Detroit Electric.

    Now that we know an electric version is alive, when can we expect an Iriz hybrid?

  • SPYSHOTS: Proton Iriz prototype with ADAS active safety stereo camera testing on Malaysian roads


    Remember the Proton Iriz prototype with the LG ADAS stereo camera that we saw at the Alami Proton carnival last weekend? Well, it looks like it’s being tested on the road now – our photographer Sherman Sim happened to see it at the Petronas station on KESAS, across the road from the Proton headquarters. So naturally, out came his camera.

    The ADAS stereo camera allows active safety technologies to be implemented such as Autonomous Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Warning, Traffic Sign Recognition and Lane Departure Warning. All of this is thanks to the car being given a pair of “eyes” positioned near the rear view mirror.

    This could be interpreted a few ways – Proton could be working on an Iriz with these active safety features in the future, or it could be part of LG demonstrating these technologies to Proton in hopes of getting a new customer.

    In any case, EuroNCAP recently made Autonomous Emergency Braking mandatory for a car to get a full five-star safety rating. Real world data suggests that these systems can reduce accidents by up to 27%. So if Proton wants the Iriz to achieve a five-star result in EuroNCAP (like it has done with ASEAN NCAP), at the very least it will have to be equipped with an emergency braking feature, be it from LG or other suppliers.

  • Fiat Panda production temporarily suspended


    Fiat has announced that it will temporarily suspend production of the Fiat Panda at its Pomigliano plant in southern Italy from October 16 to October 27. The reason for this is cited as a result of a “slowdown in the market in view of the end of the year”, according to Giuseppe Terraciano, secretary general for the Fim-Cisl union in Naples.

    The company uses the state-backed temporary layoff scheme in an effort to avoid over-production by keeping workers at home whenever demand is low. Around 1,950 of the 4,500 employees are already on “solidarity contracts” since March this year – under which, they agree to work fewer hours and be paid less in exchange for keeping their jobs.

    While Fiat’s plant has been under-operating for years, the company has stated that it plans to reinstate its entire workforce as it undertakes a five-year investment plan, which will hopefully see the company’s profits increase along with global sales.

    This piece of news comes at an interesting time considering that Fiat, under Sergio Marchionne, has announced plans to increase its hold on the global car market in the next few years – including an increased production of Ferrari cars in order to help boost sales figures.

  • RENDERED: Proton Saga 3 based on Iriz hatchback


    Proton should be looking at introducing a new Proton Saga sometime in the near future as stated by Proton chairman, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, earlier this year. These exclusive renderings show how an Iriz-based third-generation Proton Saga may look.

    The current Proton Saga was launched all the way back in 2008, and received a facelift in 2010. Following that, a slew of variants such as the SV and the SE were introduced to expand the model’s range. Shouldn’t be long until the next-generation model arrives.


    In envisioning his concept for the car, Theophilus Chin started with the profile of the Iriz – of which the height and the A-pillars were of a concern. In an effort to avoid the gawky profile of the Suzuki SX4 or the Peugeot 307 sedan, he lowered the height, pushed back the A-pillars, lengthened the wheelbase and redesigned the rear overhang.

    The hardest aspect of this redesign was probably the rear, according to him. After adding the boot, he mirrored the ‘chamfered’ look on the original Iriz, in a way that is similar to the Proton Gen2 and Persona. A Suprima S-style number plate garnish is also present while a black rear diffuser also helps to mask the bulk.


    With the current model being already six years old, it seems even more likely that the company should be working on a replacement for the Proton Saga if it plans to have itself taken seriously amongst fellow competitors.

    What do you think of the renderings? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

  • 2015 Mazda 2 – bookings open, pricing teased, RM88k

    mazda 2 mal spec 1a

    It looks like things are speeding up towards the local market introduction of the 2015 Mazda 2ASEAN production of the fourth-gen DJ began at the AAT plant in Rayong mid-September, and the Thai-assembled hatch made its regional debut in Jakarta last week at the IIMS 2014.

    Now, one of the Bermaz dealers has teased the car by announcing that bookings have opened for it, with first deliveries scheduled to begin early next year. Tentative pricing for the hatch has also been offered – at RM87,XXX, this falls in line with Bermaz’s aim to price the car under RM90k.

    Of interest is the mention of an indicative pricing for the sedan version of the 2, tagged at RM85,XXX – it’s on the cards, yes, but the car hasn’t been unveiled yet. The sedan was spied on test recently, so it might be that an official introduction isn’t far away. As far as show debuts go, it’s Bangkok next year if it doesn’t appear at the Thai Motor Expo in December.

    mazda 2 mal spec 2a

    The tentative spec-sheet states that a single engine version will be offered for the 2, the same as in Indonesia – this is a 1.5 litre direct-injected SkyActiv-G four-cylinder petrol mill, good for 115 PS at 6,000 rpm and 148 Nm at 4,000 rpm, paired with a six-speed SkyActiv-Drive automatic transmission. No manual option to be found here, as before.

    As far as specifications go, all indicators point to us getting a variant identical to the mid-level R Spec that will be sold in the republic. Kit includes a seven-inch LCD touchscreen as part of the MZD Connect infotainment system, DRLs, i-stop automatic start/stop system, leather seats and auto air-conditioning.

    Also on, pretty much the same kit as seen on the Indonesian R Spec – items bandied include leather seats, a reverse camera and paddle shifters as well as 16-inch alloys wrapped with 185/60 rubbers (on the IIMS display, these were Dunlop Enasave 300+ eco-tyres).

    Mazda 2 R Spec IIMS 1

    And, like the Indonesian versions, the Malaysian Mazda 2 will come with dual airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and traction control. There’s quite a marked difference in the pricing of the car in both markets, of course – in Indonesia, the 2 will go on sale with prices ranging between Rp. 225-270 million (RM61,000-RM73,200).

    Closer to home, two ads for the new Mazda 2 Skyactiv on our sister classifieds website have appeared, listing the hatchback for RM87,670 and RM88,000 respectively.

    We’ve of course driven it – read Jonathan Lee’s impressions of the Mazda 2 from the test drive in Japan back in August. The gallery below of the Indonesian R Spec variant, meanwhile, offers a good indication as to how the Malaysian specification car will shape up.

    Mazda 2 R Spec (Indonesia)


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