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  • Gov’t said to have offered RM1.7 bil credit to Proton

    The government has apparently extended a line of credit to Proton amounting to RM1.7 billion as a further stopgap measure, The Edge reports.

    This comes on top of the conditional RM1.25 billion soft loan provided to the national carmaker last year, which is said to have been used up, necessitating a further injection of cash.

    “The cash from the soft loan has been fully used up to pay vendors. But Proton’s sales have not improved, although it has been marketing its new cars very hard, throwing promotions left and right. It needs more help from the government,” a source familiar with the matter told the publication.

    The report added that Proton will not draw down the whole sum at once, the money supposed to tide it over until parent company DRB-Hicom secures a foreign strategic partner. As last reported, Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely and French company Groupe PSA are the two companies looking to secure a tie-up with Proton.

    In April, it was reported that Proton had requested between RM1.5 billion and RM1.8 billion from the government to cover massive losses in its operations. The company is expected to record major losses in the financial year 2017 in the midst of slowing sales, based on the RM1.426 billion net loss it reported in FY2016 ending March 31.

    Government funding alone will not sustain Proton in the long run, and so pressure continues to mount on the company to secure a foreign partner that will inject the necessary funds to turn things around.

  • BARU: Artikel terkini dalam Bahasa Malaysia

  • DRB-Hicom request for trading suspension approved – Proton FSP deal announcement to be made soon?

    DRB-Hicom appears set to make a material announcement soon. The conglomerate – Proton’s parent company – had its request for trading suspension approved Bursa Malaysia Securities today, pending the release of a material announcement.

    This strongly hints that an announcement related to Proton’s foreign strategic partner (FSP) deal will be made soon.

    Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely and France’s Groupe PSA are the leading contenders to become Proton’s FSP. In March 2017, DRB-Hicom issued a statement that said both bidders were present and accounted for and were still at the negotiation table.

    Earlier, second international trade and industry minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan had said that Proton will be able to announce its FSP by May. Looking at the timing of DRB-Hicom’s request for the suspension in the trading of its securities, it all points to a deal being announced in the coming week(s).

    It’s been a long time coming – stay tuned to for more updates on this matter.

  • Kia Optima GT Malaysian price – RM180k for 242 hp!

    Well, well, what do we have here? The official pricing of the new Kia Optima GT for Malaysia has been revealed ahead on its launch tomorrow, courtesy of an image posted on the brand’s Facebook page – the upcoming D-segment sedan will carry a price tag of RM179,888 (on-the-road with insurance). Not bad for a large car with 242 hp.

    The Optima GT packs a 2.0 litre four-cylinder turbocharged T-GDI petrol engine with 242 hp and 353 Nm of torque. That’s more than what is offered by Japanese makes like the Toyota Camry 2.5L Hybrid (202 hp total system output), Mazda 6 2.5L (185 hp/250 Nm) and Honda Accord 2.4L (173 hp/225 Nm).

    The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission (with paddle shifters) that sends drive to the front wheels. According to Kia, the Optima GT will accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in 7.4 seconds, before hitting a top speed of 240 km/h.

    The car is already on display in certain showrooms. We will know more when it is officially launched tomorrow, so stay tuned to!

  • VIDEO: Why child safety seats are so important

    Let’s face it – accidents happen. And just as we would like to give our children only the best, surely we would want them to have the best protection in the event of a crash, wouldn’t we? On the evidence of the number of children being killed on our roads, however, this reasoning seems to have fallen on deaf ears – particularly when you see that kids are still being left to run around unsecured in cars while on the move.

    As such, we are kicking off a three-part video series on child safety seats, created in collaboration with Proton. We’ll be looking at why child seats are one of the most important items you can buy for your car, which one is the most suitable for your child and how to correctly install them in your vehicle. This video takes a deeper look into the first question.

    It all boils down to basic facts. It doesn’t matter how cautiously you drive or how hard you try to avoid an accident; in no way, shape or form does that stop other road users from crashing into you. And a child’s shorter height and less developed body mean that a regular seat belt – designed specifically for adults, lest you forget – is incapable of adequately protecting them in a collision.


    Please share for public information

    Posted by Richardt Piek on Sunday, 14 December 2014

    Neither are your arms, in case you were wondering – in a 50 km/h crash, an unsecured infant weighing 7 kg will be thrown forward at a force equivalent to an adult falling from a five-storey building, according to the Automotive Association of Malaysia (AAM). That’s where a child seat comes in, with a hard shell and a special safety harness to keep the little ones away from the brunt of the crash.

    Watch these videos to learn more, and share them so that more people will be aware of the importance of child safety seats.

    Proton is now offering a child safety seat worth RM1,000 at just RM299, with every purchase of a new Proton. The promotion is subject to stock availability and other terms and conditions.

  • Kia outsells Hyundai for the first time in Korea in 2016

    According to a report by The Korea Herald, Kia outsold its larger corporate sibling Hyundai for the first time in its domestic market last year.

    In terms of numbers, Kia sold 475,107 passengers cars in 2016 compared to Hyundai’s 418,303 units. Hyundai’s figures are also a far cry from its 2015 results, where it shifted 529,135 units during that period.

    “We see this to be a temporary phenomenon. What’s more alarming for us is the declining market share of both Hyundai and Kia in the local market,” a Hyundai official told the local press.

    As for the Q1 2017 period, Kia’s sales in Korea amounted to 104,954 units, which is only marginally ahead of Hyundai with 101,644 units. However, Hyundai’s recently facelifted Sonata and upcoming Kona could help the company regain its lead in its domestic market, analysts say.

  • Fiat 500L MPV gets subtle facelift – new looks, tech

    The Fiat 500L hasn’t exactly been well-received, on account of its rather polarising look – and five years on, Fiat is finally trying to address that with a facelift. The nip-and-tuck brings with it a revised design, new technologies and a streamlined range of models.

    From now on, there will be three versions available, and they’ve all been renamed – the standard model is now called the Urban, the off-roader-but-not-quite Trekking has been renamed the Cross and the longer seven-seater Living has been rechristened the Wagon.

    All three gain a revised front end that bears a closer resemblance to the also-updated 500, with the area around the “moustache-and-badge” being made more prominent. This is flanked by new circular LED daytime running lights that are set inside the lower headlight units.

    On Urban and Wagon models, the lower grille is now trapezoidal in shape and features chrome strips and a chrome-studded mesh that looks remarkably similar to the grille on the Mercedes-Benz A-Class. Meanwhile, the Cross gains silver protective trim front and rear, along with a new air intake design.

    Elsewhere around the car, the side and rear protective panels are now painted in body colour and feature new chrome trim, while the reverse and rear fog lights on the Urban and Cross models have been moved down to the rear valence. New paint options include Bellagio Blue, Sicilian Orange and Donatello Bronze, expanding the palette to ten colours.

    Inside, there’s a new three-spoke multifunction steering wheel, along with a redesigned instrument cluster with a 3.5-inch multi-info display sitting in the centre. Other new additions include 500 dashboard badging ahead of the front passenger, ambient lighting as well as the Uconnect HD Live infotainment system with a seven-inch touchscreen, TomTom 3D navigation and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support.

    Also fitted is a redesigned centre console with larger storage compartments, a higher-mounted gearlever for easy reach and an armrest. Otherwise, it’s the same car as before, with notable touches including a panoramic glass roof measuring 1.5 square metres, an optional seven-speaker 520W BeatsAudio sound system and a boot that measures 455 litres (Wagon 638 litres, or 416 litres for the seven-seater model).

    Safety-wise, all 500L models are now available with Autonomous City Brake, which operates at speeds of up to 30 km/h. The reverse camera has also been updated with higher resolution in poor light and guide lines that follow the steering wheel.

    Under the skin, the Cross now gets a 10 mm higher ride height than the previous Trekking, putting the total increase in ground clearance over the standard models at 25 mm. There’s also a new rotary Mode Selector with a new Gravity Control hill descent mode that complement the normal and Traction+ (controls the brakes to simulate a locking differential for better off-road traction) settings.

    No changes to the engine lineup, so the 500L soldiers on with 95 hp naturally-aspirated and 120 hp turbocharged 1.4 litre petrol engines, a 105 hp 0.9 litre turbo TwinAir two-cylinder petrol and 95 hp 1.3 litre and 120 hp 1.6 litre MultiJet turbodiesels. The five- and six-speed manual and six-speed Duologic sequential manual transmissions are also carried over.

  • Peugeot Traveller spotted ahead of M’sia Q3 launch

    Earlier this month, a Peugeot Traveller was spotted on Malaysian roads, and now, a few units of the large MPV have been sighted again outside Peugeot Malaysia’s Glenmarie showroom.

    As before, the MPVs appear to be specified with the Allure trim package, which includes items such as 17-inch alloy wheels and xenon headlights. We expect the Traveller to be a premium offering, so twin hands-free electric sliding side doors should be part of the standard kit as well.

    Though we couldn’t get a closer look inside the Traveller’s interior, there will be three rows of seating available, but it’s uncertain if it will follow a five-, seven- or eight-seater layout. Based on Peugeot UK’s specification sheet for the Traveller sold there, a full leather interior, seven-inch infotainment touchscreen and dual-zone climate control system might be part of the equipment list for the Malaysian-market Traveller.

    No info on what’s under the hood of these Travellers, but several BlueHDi turbodiesel engines are available, ranging from 1.6 to 2.0 litres in capacity. Transmission options include a six-speed manual or automatic transmission, with the latter being the most likely for Malaysia.

    The Traveller rides on PSA’s Efficient Modular Platform (EMP2), and comes in three lengths – Compact (4,606 mm), Standard (4,956 mm) and Long (5,309 mm). The Compact comes with a wheelbase 2,930 mm long, whereas the remaining two versions (Standard and Long) have a wheelbase of 3,275 mm instead.

    With this sighting, it is reasonable to assume that Peugeot Malaysia will introduce the MPV, with an earlier report pointing towards a launch taking place in Q3 2017. It was also revealed back then that the vehicle may be locally-assembled (CKD) at Naza Automotive Manufacturing’s facility in Gurun, Kedah.

    GALLERY: Peugeot Traveller

  • Thailand orders motor insurance companies to give up to 10% discount for dashcam-equipped vehicles

    Thailand has ordered insurers to give a discount of 5% to 10% off motor insurance premiums for vehicles equipped with video recorders or dashcams, the Bangkok Post reports.

    The order was signed by Suthiphon Thaveechaiyagarn, secretary-general of the Office of Insurance Commission, and was published in the Royal Gazette last Friday with immediate effect.

    The order states that underwriters are required to cut auto insurance premiums by 5% to 10% for customers who present photographic evidence of dashcam installation in the front of their vehicles. Vehicle owners are required to ensure that the dashcam is functional during the period of insurance coverage. The rule applies to all vehicle classes.

    The rational behind this is that dashcams are deemed a useful tool that will help reduce disputes in road accidents. That makes everyone’s life easier, so to speak, from the parties involved in the accident to the police officer and adjuster.

    Come July 1, motor insurance tariffs in Malaysia will be liberalised and insurers will be free to compete in terms of product and pricing. A key feature of a liberalised market (as opposed to the fixed tariffs of today) is premiums charged according to a driver’s risk profile. A driver with a clean record and a well-secured car will be deemed low risk, and will be eligible for lower premiums. Will dashcams count as a “safety feature” that will improve a risk profile? We’ll see.

    We’ve covered the topic of motor insurance liberalisation in the past, and you can read more on the subject here:

    Motor insurance liberalisation: how will it affect you?
    Liberalisation of comprehensive motor insurance – Bank Negara expects no massive shift in pricing
    Tariffs for comprehensive motor insurance to be lifted in July, full liberalisation in 2019 – PIAM

  • Survey finds that 89% of Malaysian motorists will opt for an insurer offering the most competitive pricing

    According to a recent survey, consumers in Malaysia want competitive pricing, guaranteed claims approval and best turnaround time for the approval of their claims following the introduction of motor insurance liberalisation from July 1.

    The survey, a joint effort by AIG Malaysia and automotive website, polled some 4,400 respondents who were aged above 18. The results showed that 89% of them want competitive pricing for their motor insurance purchase.

    Besides competitive pricing, 70% want guaranteed claims approval within three business days for motor insurance claims below RM5,000. Some 60% also preferred a settlement within 60 days for vehicle claims where recovery is unsuccessful.

    Additionally, 64% of respondents wanted discounts and rewards for being loyal customers, while 55% opted for flexibility to customise their motor insurance plans.

    Prior to making a decision to purchase motor insurance, 86% said they would research what insurers would offer, while 16% would go for insurers with the most advanced technologies and innovation. Another 69% would choose insurers that reward good driving behavior, and 39% said they would go for insurance companies with the best reputation.

    The survey also found that 42% of respondents were aware that motor insurance in Malaysia was imposed with a tariff, while a whopping 83% think motor insurance liberalisation will have an impact on their motor insurance renewal.

    On the modality of motor insurance purchase, the survey found that 24% preferred to purchase their motor insurance online, while 6% favoured more traditional channels, including dealing with an agent or visiting insurance branches.

    According to AIG Malaysia’s CEO Antony Lee, who is also the General Insurance Association of Malaysia (PIAM) chairman, the survey offered a clearer picture of customers’ expectations and knowledge about motor insurance.

    “The impending liberalisation of the motor insurance market will bring new opportunities and challenges. It will be an incredibly open and competitive marketplace, where customers can shop around for the best deals, an attractive motor insurance premium, or the best insurance coverage for their prized cars. Insurers will need to highlight their unique strengths such as their claims capabilities to stay ahead of the curve,” he said.

    On July 1, the second phase of the motor insurance liberalisation announced by Bank Negara Malaysia is set to begin, and premium rates for comprehensive motor insurance will be determined by individual insurers and Takaful operators based on a risk-based assessment system.

  • Kia Optima GT arrives in Malaysia – 2.0L T-GDI with 242 hp and 353 Nm; officially open for bookings

    The Kia Optima GT has been spotted in Naza Kia Malaysia’s PJ Red Cube showroom, just a few weeks after it was spotted on a trailer in Malaysia, and mere months after the company announced it would officially bring in the high-powered, D-segment sedan.

    We’ll get straight to the point here, the Optima GT packs a 2.0 litre four-cylinder turbocharged T-GDI petrol engine with 242 hp and 353 Nm of torque (following Kia’s international release). That’s more than what is offered by Japanese makes like the Toyota Camry 2.5L Hybrid (202 hp total system output), Mazda 6 2.5L (185 hp/250 Nm) and Honda Accord 2.4L (173 hp/225 Nm).

    The mill is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission that sends drive to the front wheels, and also includes steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. According to Kia, the Optima GT will accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in just 7.4 seconds, before hitting a top speed of 240 km/h.

    On the exterior, the Optima GT seen here comes with LED headlights with LED DRLs, LED rear taillights, a rear diffuser, twin oval-shaped exhaust tips and 18-inch fan-design alloy wheels shod with Michelin Pilot Sport 3 tyres (235/45).

    As for interior equipment, there’s a seven-inch touchscreen display, a dual-zone climate control system with Clean Air ioniser, ventilated front seats (cooling and heating function), multifunction steering wheel, leather upholstery and electrically-adjustable front seats (lumbar support and memory function for driver’s side).

    Other bits of kit include rear air-con vents, rear charging and power outlets, a sunroof, sun shades for the rear side windows, a navigation function for the car’s infotainment system and a 4.3-inch TFT-LCD multi-info display in the instrument cluster.

    In terms of safety, it appears we will miss out on features such as blind-spot detection and lane-departure warning, judging by the absence of those controls on the right side of the driver. Items such as six airbags, automatic brake hold, front and rear parking sensors, plus a reverse camera appear to be standard here.

    For those who are interested, the Optima GT is now open for booking. However, pricing will only be announced when the car is officially launched tomorrow, so stay tuned.

    UPDATE: The Kia Optima GT’s price has been revealed – RM179,888 (on-the-road with insurance).


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Last Updated 18 May 2017


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