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  • BMW sells record 1.099 mil vehicles in first half of 2015

    2013 F30 BMW 316i 23

    BMW has announced that it has managed its best ever first half of the year sales-wise – the group sold 1.099 million cars globally in the first half of 2015 and reported that both BMW and MINI brands achieved new all-time highs.

    Europe was the automaker’s largest sales region with 488,000 vehicles delivered, which was an increase of 9.5 % over 2014. The brand experienced strong growth in markets such as Spain, Italy, Portugal and Ireland.

    In the Americas, sales also climbed by 9.5%, and in North America the brand sold 242,300 cars, an increase of 9.6% over the same period in 2014. Meanwhile, Asia chipped in with 337,000 units, an increase of 4.4 percent year-on-year. As for China, the automaker sold over 230,700 cars in the first six months of 2015, up 2.3% from the previous year’s six-month figure.

    Munich also reported that it sold 12,500 electrically powered BMW i3 electric and i8 plug-in hybrid cars in the first half of the year, and also delivered over 30,500 BMW M and M Performance models to customers.

    These figures were revealed in a statement by Harald Krüger, chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, issued earlier today. The company also added that in some BRIKT (Brazil, Russia, India, South Korea and Turkey) markets there was a mixed trend in sales – in particular, sales in Russia have taken a downturn.

    There was also mention of its global production network, which currently consists of 30 production sites in 14 countries. Primary news concerns the US plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, which is set to be expanded, with an investment of US$1 billion set to be injected in until 2016. By the end of 2016, Munich says it will be able to produce over 450,000 vehicles per year at the site, making the facility the largest plant in its global production network.

    bmw-x7-render

    The statement also mentioned the F17 (or G07, if you will) X7 again; the announcement that the SUV – which is set to go up against the likes of the Range Rover and Mercedes-Benz GL-Class – would be built at Spartanburg had already been made last year, and the latest report back from March indicated it’s set to make its debut sometime in 2017.

    The range-topping X7 (as seen in the render by Theophilus Chin above), when it does arrive, will join X3, X4, X5 and X6 production in Spartanburg. The company’s San Luis Potosi plant in Mexico, meanwhile, is scheduled to start production in 2019, and will have a planned capacity of 150,000 units annually.

    In all, BMW and MINI are due to launch 15 new models and model revisions this year, almost as many as in 2014, which was the automaker’s record launch year. Among the new offerings are the F48 X1, F15 X5 eDrive40e, F30 3 Series LCI and G11/G12 7 Series.

    The acquisition of Nokia’s mapping and location services business, Here, by BMW – together with Audi and Mercedes-Benz – was also touched upon in the statement. The automaker said the purchase is intended to secure the long-term availability of Here’s products and services as an open, independent and value creating platform for cloud-based maps and other mobility services.

    It reiterated that the platform is and will be accessible to all customers from the automotive industry and other sectors. News reports indicated that the the deal, which is reported to be worth €2.8 billion (RM11.8 billion), is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2016.

     
  • SPYSHOTS: Rolls-Royce Dawn, just around the corner

    Rolls-Royce-Dawn-002

    More spyshots of the Rolls-Royce Dawn have emerged, this time with an undisguised grey soft top and with centre caps on those huge alloys. The R-R logos are taped up on the latter, and there are no visible badges elsewhere, but this has to be one of the easiest cars to recognise, with or without camouflage.

    The name Dawn was confirmed in May this year. The car that will carry the name is a convertible sister of the Rolls-Royce Ghost and the Wraith coupe. With the addition of the drop top, the junior, more dynamic Rolls-Royce range will have three models – matching the Phantom, Phantom Coupe and Drophead Coupe.

    “Our new Rolls-Royce Dawn promises a striking, seductive encounter like no other Rolls-Royce to date. Dawn is a beautiful new open-top motor car with a name that suggests the fresh opportunities that every new day holds – an awakening, an opening up of one’s senses and a burst of sunshine,” Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes said during the name reveal.

    The Dawn should use the same powertrain as the Wraith, which is moved by a 6.6 litre twin-turbo V12 that makes 624 hp and 800 Nm of torque. The fixed-top car goes from zero to 100 km/h in 4.6 seconds, and its top speed is limited to 250 km/h. It was launched in Malaysia in June 2013, priced at RM1.3 million before duties and options.



    Rolls-Royce Wraith in Malaysia

     
  • Tan Chong opens first Nissan 3S centre in Taiping

    Tan Chong 3S Taiping

    Edaran Tan Chong Motor (ETCM) has officially opened its newest Nissan 3S (sales, service and spare parts) centre in Taiping, Perak. Total renovation costs for this facility amounts to some RM800k, and it’s now Tan Chong’s nineteenth 3S centre nationwide.

    With a total built-up space of 17,846 sq ft, the showroom area can accommodate up to eight cars, while the service centre has eight service bays and is capable of handling up to 30 cars per day. The new centre has waiting facilities like a lounge, refreshment bar and a kid’s corner.

    To date, ETCM has a nationwide network of 100 showrooms including dealers and 60 Tan Chong Express Auto Service Workshops. Twenty more 3S centres are planned throughout Malaysia by the end of the year.

     
  • Spyker to take on Tesla with all-electric sports cars

    Spyker B6 Venator Spyder-06

    It looks like we haven’t heard the last of Spyker. It went into bankruptcy back in 2014, but now it’s back! It has announced a merger with electric aircraft maker, Volta Volare, and it looks like all-electric sports cars are next. Target: Tesla.

    Apparently, Spyker CEO Victor Muller is keen to get hold of Volta Volare’s 300 hp electric motor that is currently being used in its aircraft range. He explained that, “the company I founded 15 years ago is now set to build sensationally elegant and classy electric motorcars and electric planes for decades to come.”

    One can only imagine what the future holds for this iconic Dutch brand. The sky’s the limit, really, as Spyker has always been known for its bespoke approach to vehicle development.

    For a company that has a Latin slogan as its mission statement, “nulla tenaci invia est via”, which, loosely translated means ”for the tenacious, no road is impassable,” be prepared for wonders from Spyker soon.

    2013 Spyker B6 Venator Spyder Concept

     
  • Lotus Elise GREAT Britain – limited edition, fr RM255k!

    lotus-elise-great-white

    Aside from a Union Jack-liveried Lotus Exige S Automatic seen in one of our earlier reports, Lotus Cars Malaysia has now introduced the limited edition Lotus Elise GREAT Britain for local consumption – yes, the ‘Great’ is listed in capitals. Priced from RM254,888, the Lotus Elise GREAT Britain is based on the Elise 20th Anniversary model and arrives equipped with a host of options “exclusive to the Malaysian market.”

    The list includes Union Jack decals on the side intake and the inclusion of a ‘Sport Pack-Black Pack’ combo which brings along black forged wheels, Bilstein sport dampers plus a darkened rear diffuser on the outside. Inside, a “lightweight centre console” and sport seats trimmed in black fabric are featured as part of the aforementioned combination. Also part of the pack is a Sport mode for increased throttle response.

    Elsewhere, the Lotus Elise GREAT Britain is equipped with a soft top and is available with a choice of three different paint schemes – Metallic Silver, Metallic White and Metallic Yellow. Furthermore, Lotus Cars Malaysia will throw in a complimentary ‘Touring Pack’ for the first three customers – said pack replaces the aforementioned black fabric seats with Ebony Black leather sport seats.

    Lotus_Exige_S_Great_Britain_ 011

    Lotus Exige S Automatic GREAT Britain pictured.

    Those wanting to parade the Union Jack on the more hardcore Exige S Automatic, bad news. While the same livery is offered, its original price of RM432,919 for the Coupe and RM435,919 for the Roadster are maintained. The Lotus Exige S Automatic is powered by a supercharged 3.5 litre V6 engine with 345 hp and 400 Nm of torque. Mated to a six-speed auto, the car sprints from 0-100 km/h in 3.9 seconds (4.0 for the Roadster).

    Potential owners and Lotus enthusiasts are advised to check out the Lotus Exige S Automatic Roadster as well as the Evora S Sport Racer and Elise 220 Cup at the Gardens Mall from August 5 to 9. Ongoing promotions include a three-year warranty, two years worth of free service, a slot at the Lotus Driving Academy, free road tax and insurance as well as membership to the Lotus owners’ club (LOCM).

    GALLERY: Lotus Exige S Automatic GREAT Britain

    GALLERY: Lotus Elise 220 Cup

     
  • Maserati banking on Levante SUV to improve profits

    kubang-2

    Maserati is banking on its upcoming Levante SUV to help recover its dwindling profits, according to Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The brand’s earnings reportedly fell by 30% in the second quarter of 2015 as a result of declining sales worldwide, most prominently in China.

    Marchionne seems absolutely certain that the SUV will be able to boost Maserati’s sales. Speaking to Automotive News Europe, he said that “we will need to wait until then,” referring to the new SUV’s impending market arrival in 2016. He noted that dwindling market demand for imported luxury vehicles in China seems to be a “permanent change.”

    Late last year, a Levante test mule was captured in wraps in Germany, wearing a modified Ghibli body. The upcoming SUV will be built on the same platform as the executive sports sedan, and is not expected to veer too far away from the Kubang concept from 2011 (pictured above).

    The upcoming luxury SUV is speculated to be available with a twin-turbo 3.0 litre V6 engine as well as a diesel option, both of which are likely to be paired to an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission – the same formula that is used on the Ghibli and Quattroporte.

     
  • McLaren 650S replacement coming in 2018 – report

    MSO 650S Spider-02

    The McLaren 650S will be replaced in 2018, Autocar reports. The successor, referred to internally as the P14, is part of the British brand’s promise to launch a new model every year.

    The motoring rag expects the P14 to use McLaren’s existing carbon-fibre tub and 3.8 litre twin-turbo engine, although power will rise from the 650 PS of the 650S. An output of 670 PS will match that of the new Ferrari 488 GTB and still allow the 675LT to be the Super Series range topper; but since the Long Tail is limited to just 500 units, McLaren could elect to surpass that car’s 675 PS, Autocar reasons.

    The supercar game is all about one-upmanship, and Ferrari’s 488 GTB-badged bar is set at 670 PS and 760 Nm from a boosted 3,902 cc V8. The 1,475 kg Italian stallion does 0-100 km/h in three seconds, 0-200 km/h time in 8.3 seconds and a 330 km/h plus top speed. The ball is now in McLaren’s court.

    MSO 650S Spider-03

    Performance aside, supercars need to drop jaws and stir loins, and the P14’s design is said to be from a clean slate, setting McLaren’s design template for its next batch of cars. Design boss Frank Stephenson said the P14 will be “even crazier” than the P1 hypercar, but signature elements such as the side-mounted air intakes and front bumper design are set to remain.

    Like the 650S, a Spider with a folding hard top is also on the cards. But unlike today’s car that was unveiled in two bodystyles, the convertible P14 is set to debut a year after the Coupe. Prices are expected to be higher than the 650S, which is priced from RM2.4 million in Malaysia.

    McLaren 650S in Malaysia

     
  • Toyota Australia trying to locate cars fitted with potentially dangerous fake airbag replacement parts

    2013_Toyota_Vios_review_ 089

    Toyota Australia is attempting to locate a number of Toyota vehicles that may be fitted with counterfeit airbag parts, items the company says pose a deadly risk in the event of a crash. This was revealed in a confidential dealer bulletin issued by the company, which News Corp Australia managed to get its hands on.

    The bulletin states that the automaker has identified two suppliers selling counterfeit Toyota spiral cables that are sold and marketed as original replacement parts in bogus Toyota Genuine packaging. The report by NCA states that these fake cables are being sold by unscrupulous importers to independent repairers and possibly Toyota dealers, who are likely to be unaware that the parts are fakes.

    The spiral cables are a core component of the airbag connector assembly, and is replaced along with an airbag if the latter is deployed. The report adds that the company has no idea just how many of these fake items have made their way on to cars in Australia.

    While cars that have never had their airbags deploy are unaffected, vehicles that have been repaired, especially outside Toyota’s dealer repair network, may be equipped with the counterfeits. The situation serves as a reminder to owners that where there is a case of airbag deployment, the vehicle should always be sent back to an OEM body and paint facility.

    airbag spiral cable

    The automaker said it had “serious concerns about the safety of these parts” following internal testing in Japan, which revealed that there were four ways they could fail to deploy an airbag in a crash. The bulletin added there is may be a high likelihood of insufficient conductivity to support airbag deployment electrical current and as such, pose a significant risk of airbag non deployment in an accident.

    The counterfeit parts reportedly do not feature gold-plated connectors. The crimping of the cable is also not strong enough, and the part does not use copper wire like the genuine one. Elsewhere, the plastic locking tabs are also said to be poorly formed or misaligned.

    The issue is in locating these renegade parts, or knowing where to look for them in the first place. A Toyota dealer said that the problem was there was no way of knowing how many of these fake parts were circulating out there, but “suspect there are thousands, because they are quite a commonly used part.”

    The bulletin has advised all Toyota dealers in the country to check the airbag connector when vehicles come in for routine servicing to ensure it the part is not counterfeit. Looks messy, and this one sounds like it could run for a long while.

     
  • Lotus Cars Malaysia teases Evora 400, coming in Oct

    The Lotus Evora 400 sure sounds like music to our ears! Wouldn't you agree? We have something in store for you this October – stay tuned to our Facebook page for more info! #LotusCarsMalaysia #PureDriving

    Posted by Lotus Cars Malaysia on Wednesday, 29 July 2015

    Lotus Cars Malaysia has started teasing the Lotus Evora 400, which is set to arrive in Malaysia in October. The company changed its Facebook page cover photo to a profile shot of the Evora 400 and recently posted up a video of the car, as seen above.

    The Evora 400 is the company’s flagship and the fastest road-going Lotus. Unveiled by Lotus chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at this year’s Geneva show in March, the first units rolled off the production line in Hethel early last month.

    It’s a very fast car. Powered by a 3.5 litre V6 engine with a new supercharger, a water-to-air charge-cooler and a revamped engine management system, it packs 400 hp – 55 hp more than the Evora S – and 410 Nm of torque.

    Lotus-Evora-400-Geneva-2

    The car also gets reworked muffler internals and new engine mounts, and the six-speed manual transmission now has a new low inertia flywheel and a reworked clutch disc for better shift quality, and Torsen-type limited slip differential has been plonked on as well. Rated top speed is 300 km/h, and the century sprint is completed in just 4.2 seconds. The 400 laps Hethel’s circuit a full six seconds faster than the Evora S.

    In the UK, the Evora 400 is priced at £72,000 (RM433,406 before Malaysian taxes), which seems like a lot of money for an Evora, especially when a Porsche Cayman S starts from below £50k there.

    However, the Evora 400 is more of a rival to the hardcore Cayman GT4, which has a 911-derived 3.8 litre flat-six (manual only), 385 hp, 420 Nm and a £64,451 price tag. It’s not yet on sale here, the GT4, but the 340 hp Cayman GTS from a rung below starts from RM700k. How much will the Evora 400 cost in Malaysia?

     
  • BMW changes marketing strategy in China – brand to focus on youth and high-tech innovation instead

    g11-bmw-7-series-0068

    BMW says that it will be shifting its marketing plan in China to focus on the youth segment and in-car innovations, instead of stretched wheelbases and luxurious rear passenger accommodation that is the norm over the past few years. It will also move away from promoting the brand as an epitome of one’s success.

    In a two-year study, the company surveyed more than 3,000 consumers, and findings show that young Chinese buyers are seeking for technological features and sustainable vehicles more than stretched cars. Karsten Engel, CEO of BMW China said, “the Chinese market is at a crossroad for fundamental changes.”

    He noted that in China, it has become apparent that an increasing number of consumers of premium brands come from Generation X and Y. “As the Chinese market is getting more mature and normalised, the post-80s and 90s are emerging as the main consumers of premium brands, and the innovative strength of our products will be certainly more appealing to the Chinese consumers,” he said.

    BMW has developed in-car features to cater specifically to the Chinese market. Some of these include Parking Assistant and driver/passenger massage seats which aid muscle toning. In China, the brand even offers a decade’s worth of Internet in their vehicles, free-of-charge.

    The new G11/G12 BMW 7 Series is the innovative game changer for the brand. The luxury sedan is packed to the brim with features that potential Chinese buyers might find captivating, such as the new iDrive 5.0 system with gesture controls and the optional Display Key that can activate Remote Control Parking, to name a few.

    G11/G12 BMW 7 Series

     
 

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