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  • JD Power 2015 Malaysia Initial Quality Study – Honda tops two categories, SUVs reportedly least problematic

    GIIAS Honda CR-V Fender Edition 3

    JD Power has released its 2015 Malaysia Initial Quality Study (IQS) that measures the number of problems owners experience with their new vehicles. The study is based on responses from 2,622 new vehicle owners who purchased their vehicle between August 2014 and June 2015, and was fielded between February and August 2015.

    For this year’s study, 41 passenger car, pickup and utility vehicle models from 15 brands were included. The study examines more than 200 problem symptoms covering eight vehicle categories – vehicle exterior; driving experience; features/controls/displays; audio/entertainment/navigation; seats; heating/ventilation/air conditioning; vehicle interior; and engine/transmission.

    The vehicles are then segregated into four different segments – compact, entry midsize, SUV and MPV/van – where they will be given a score based on problems per 100 vehicles (PP100). Lower PP100 scores indicate a lower rate of problem incidence and, therefore, higher initial quality.

    For the compact segment, the Perodua Axia managed to obtain a score of 89 problems per 100 vehicles (89 PP100), well under the compact average of 98 PP100. The Perodua Myvi and Proton Iriz occupied second and third places with 107 PP100 and 110 PP110, respectively.


    Meanwhile, the Honda City topped the entry midsize segment with 68 PP100, which is well below the segment average of 90 PP100. Both the Toyota Vios (77 PP100) and Nissan Almera (85 PP100) were ranked better than the segment average as well.

    Honda’s impressive results continue into the SUV segment, with the Honda CR-V reporting just 31 PP100, folllowed closely by the Mazda CX-5 with 33 PP100. Both SUVs are positioned under the segment average of 52 PP100, the lowest among all segments. In third place is the Honda HR-V crossover with 67 PP100.

    Finally, the MPV/van segment saw the Toyota Avanza take first place with 36 PP100, followed by the Nissan Grand Livina (55 PP100) and the Perodua Alza (95 PP100). The latter scored worse than the segment average of 90 PP100.

    The study, now in its 13th year, revealed a few key findings as well. Among the problem categories, the vehicle’s driving experience was most reported by owners (17.8 PP100), up by 3.9 PP100 from last year. Seats, meanwhile recorded the fewest problems among the problem categories at 5.0 PP100.

    Additionally, excessive wind noise was the most frequently cited problem at 6.2 PP100. The second most frequently reported problem is noisy brakes (3.3 PP100), followed by floor mats that won’t stay in place with 2.6 PP100.

    JD Power’s study also revealed the importance of the salesperson. When a comprehensive explanation of the vehicle and its features were provided by the sales person, owners report an average of 79 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100), as opposed to 163 PP100 when only a partial or zero explanation is given.

    It also highlighted the importance of test drives where a majority of customers (59%) in Malaysia took one during their vehicle buying process. Customers who took a test drive reported an average of 74 PP100, while those who did not reported 97 PP100.

    Do you agree with the results from this year’s JD Power 2015 Malaysia Initial Quality Study? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

  • SPAD’s taxi, Uber and Grabcar survey – results so far

    SPAD Taxi service survey-01

    A total of 27,765 respondents (and growing) have taken part in the survey initiated by the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD), entitled “general perception: taxi service in Malaysia.” To keep you updated, here are the results so far. Out of 27,765 respondents, a majority of respondents are aged 21 to 30 years old (46.9%) with those aged 31 to 40 years old coming in second (30.3%).

    A bit more on the demographics – some 66.3% are employed, while 18.7% are self-employed and the remaining 15% are students. As for monthly household income, 26.4% have a combined income of over RM8,000, 19.7% with a household income between RM3,501 to RM5,000 and 18.5% with a household income between RM5,000 to RM8,000.

    Interestingly, based on frequency, 40.8% of respondents said that they rarely use a taxi, while 17.8% use a taxi at least two to three times a week and 14.5%, only once a week. Respondents who use taxis once a month amount to 17.1%. As for their preferred method to book a taxi, a whopping 66.6% of respondents use mobile apps, 16.2% went the old-fashion way by street hailing and 13.4% booked one via telephone reservation.

    Click to enlarge.

    As for the top complaint against taxi services, overcharging and not using a meter is currently on top (89.7%). The second leading cause of dissatisfaction is the attitude of the driver (72.2%). Cleanliness of the vehicle is in third (43.3%), while comfort of the vehicle is in fourth (38.6%).

    A total of 46.3% of respondents chose both credit card and cash as their preferred method of payment, while 37.3% would rather use cash. Only 16.3% preferred to use a credit card. Some 69.9% felt that SPAD needs to “standardise the current taxi service types to only two or three categories,” while the remaining 30.1% feels that it doesn’t need to do so.

    As to whether passengers are willing to pay for better drivers, better vehicle quality and services, 58% of respondents said ‘no’, and 42% voted ‘yes’. Whether or not they’re willing to pay extra to get better availability of taxis during peak hours, 57.6% of respondents said ‘no,’ while 42.4% said ‘yes’.

    Click to enlarge.

    The next section of the survey notes that 83.4% of respondents have used Uber and Grabcar services, while only 16.6% have not. As to why many chose to use ride-sharing apps, 70.8% noted that it is reliable. A total of 64.7% felt that the service is affordable and 60.5% said that it is easily accessible.

    Whether SPAD should “regulate internet based taxi network applications to allow them to operate within the boundaries of Malaysia’s laws and regulations?” 69% of respondents said ‘yes’ while 31% responded with a ‘no’.

    The survey is still open and will only close on December 3, so if you haven’t taken part, you can do so by clicking here.

  • AD: Wheelcorp Premium Year End Grand Carnival – free Montblanc Starwalker pen with a new BMW!


    Wheelcorp Premium is having its Year End Grand Carnival this weekend, November 27 to 29. The BMW dealership announced exclusive offers for the event, including a complimentary Montblanc Starwalker roller point pen with every booking made! It promises incredible deals, so it’s an event not to be missed.

    Other offers include alluring rebates on selected BMW models, plus attractive trade-in value for your existing cars. The new BMW, of course, will come with a five-year BMW Warranty and Free Scheduled service (in accordance with the on board Condition Based Service system).

    Also available to be experienced will be the new BMW 3 Series range, along with a wide selection of BMW Malaysia’s offerings. Expect a mystery gift when you visit the dealership this weekend, while food and beverages will also be served.

    Wheelcorp Premium opened the doors to its all-new BMW dealership in Setia Alam just a few months ago. The new 4S (sales, service, spare parts and spray painting/body repair) facility boasts a built-up area of 107,500 square feet and sits on a land area measuring 1.1 acre.

    The four-storey construction houses a showroom floor that fits 12 new BMWs, along with a BMW Premium Selection area spacious enough to accommodate up to 30 BMW vehicles. There’s also a BMW M Performance display area, along with a 13,000-square foot service centre with 15 service bays.

    The second floor is a stock holding area with a capacity of over 80 vehicles. while the third floor houses the dedicated Body and Paint repair shop – itself boasting a work area of 22,000 square feet. All in all, the new Wheelcorp Premium BMW 4S centre employs a total of 50 staff members.

    The new 4S centre is located at No. 1, Jalan Setia Murni AH U13/AH Setia Alam, Seksyen U13, 40170 Shah Alam, Selangor. For more information on Wheelcorp Premium and its Year End Grand Carnival, call 03-2727 7499.

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  • Ferrari 488 Spider makes ASEAN debut – Malaysian pricing estimated at RM1.2 mil, arrives mid-2016

    Ferrari 488 Spider Phuket-5

    Two months after its 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show premiere, the Ferrari 488 Spider has made its ASEAN debut – the regional launch for the droptop version of the 488 GTB took place in Phuket earlier today.

    The Spider, which was first revealed in July, was introduced at the event in Thailand in its new Blu Corsa finish. Visually, the exterior lines generally mirror its coupe sibling, though there are some design differences brought about by the exclusion of the roof.

    Flying buttresses replace the conventional pillars of the coupe, and there’s a new engine cover as result of the restyling. The latter features longitudinal ribs for a three-dimensional effect, and new sculpted mesh grilles help evacuate heat from the engine bay.

    Despite the omission of a fixed roof, the 488 Spider has the same torsional rigidity and beam stiffness figures as the coupe, and compared to its predecessor, the 458 Spider, the new car – claimed by the maker to be its most aerodynamic spider ever – is equipped with a chassis that is said to be 23% stiffer.

    Ferrari 488 Spider Phuket-7

    The car features a RHT (retractable hard top), which weighs 25 kg less than an equivalent soft-top setup. The folding unit stows away in two overlapping sections, with the entire assembly sandwiched between the mid-mounted engine and the seats in a small cavity, occupying only 100 litres of space when folded.

    The entire operation to retract or deploy the RHT takes 14 seconds, and it can be opened or closed at speeds of up to 45 km/h.

    Also unique to the Spider is a small rear window that offers three stages of operation when the top is lowered to reduce wind buffering – the electrically-operated wind stop can also be lowered with the top in place to obtain a louder soundtrack.

    The 488 Spider is equipped with the same F154 CB mill as seen in the 488 Coupe – the 3,902 cc twin-turbo V8 is related to the 3,855 cc V8 in the California T, but the latter puts out less power, and there are mechanical differences.

    Power output is identical to the coupe, with 670 PS at 8,000 rpm and 760 Nm of torque at 3,000 rpm. To recap, the blown CB’s output is a significant jump over that available rom the 4.5 litre normally-aspirated F136 F V8 in the 458 Speciale, which has 605 PS and 540 Nm.

    Like the coupe, the Spider is only available with a Getrag seven-speed dual-clutch F1 gearbox, which is based on that seen in the 458 but revised for use here with slightly longer ratios and Variable Torque Management. Upshifts are 30% faster while downshifts are 40% quicker than that on the Italia. Response times are touted to be nine percent faster than the 458 Spider.

    Performance figures largely mirrors that of the coupe, despite the Spider being a bit heavier at 1,525 kg (1,475 kg for the 488 GTB). The 0-100 km/h time identical at three seconds, though the droptop’s 0-200 km/h time is a shade slower at 8.7 seconds (8.3 seconds for the coupe) and top speed is five km/h less than the coupe at 325 km/h.

    Elsewhere, the architecture first seen on the 488 GTB gets carried over – driver assistance systems include a Side Slip Angle Control 2 (SSC2) system, which results in a 12% improvement in acceleration out of corners compared to the 458 Spider. There’s also E-Diff 3, F1-Trac as well as an ABS system with Ferrari Pre-Fill.

    As standard, the 488 Spider comes equipped with a SCM 3 magnetorheological suspension control system and, like the coupe, rides on 20-inch wheels and staggered 245/35 front and 305/30 rear tyres.

    The first Ferrari 488 Spider examples are set to begin arriving in the region sometime in the second quarter of next year (Malaysia, mid-year), and as you’d expect, Ferrari Far East says demand for the car has been high, with wait times now expected to be as long as that for the coupe.

    Locally, a Naza Italia representative said that the entire allocation of the 488 GTB for 2016 has been spoken for, which means that of the Spider should soon follow suit (if it hasn’t already). Malaysian market pricing for the 488 Spider has yet to be finalised, but the indications are that it will command a 10% premium over its coupe sibling.

    As an indicator, the 488 GTB was priced at an introductory RM1,068,800 (excluding import duty and options) when it made its local premiere in June, so the Spider should come in at close to the RM1.2 million mark sans duties and taxes. Like the coupe, it can be customised via the various trim options available in the automaker’s Tailor Made programme, adding to the final price.

  • SPYSHOTS: 2017 Ford Fiesta is growing up in size

    Spy-Shots of Cars

    Our European spy photographers have caught a Ford Fiesta mule in mid-test once again – and with Ford officials already having made public that the Blue Oval has put the brakes on a possible Fiesta RS, this is very likely to be the next-generation of the supermini underneath.

    Although still wearing the clothes of the current B299, it’s clear from the extended front and rear bumpers as well as the stretched wheel arches that the next Fiesta will be slightly larger all-round compared to its predecessor, presumably to address the current car’s lack of space inside. The air intake cutouts in front also suggest that the Aston Martin-style grille introduced on the facelift will be retained.

    Expect the engine range to consist of turbocharged EcoBoost petrol and TDCi diesel mills, as Ford continues its move towards boosted engines. As with the current car, a warm ST variant should top the range at some point; an all-singing, all-dancing RS model is much less likely.

    Spy-Shots of Cars

    The new car can’t come soon enough – the sixth-gen Fiesta was launched way back in 2008, and despite the arrival of a facelift two years ago, it’s starting to struggle in a number of areas compared to its rivals.

    Its interior, on some models still featuring a number pad in the centre reminiscent of old Nokia phones, is looking particularly dated; a comprehensive revamp like that seen on the facelifted Focus should do wonders here. Unfortunately, don’t expect the next Fiesta to see the light of day until at least 2017, by which time the current model will be a staggering nine years old.

  • Prasarana releases new fare structure for LRT and Monorail – comes into effect December 2, 2015

    LRT rail pix Bernama

    Beginning December 2, 2015, all Prasarana rail services, including the LRT Kelana Jaya Line, LRT Ampang Line and the KL Monorail Line, will follow a new distance-based fares structure. The set of four new fare structures has now been released by Prasarana for your reference here.

    Token, cashless (click to enlarge)

    As previously reported, a fare differentiation mechanism between cash and cashless modes of payment will be implemented to encourage savings under the new fares structure. This will mean that fares may differ depending on your mode of payment – token, cashless (Touch n Go, MyRapid card), MyRapid Smart7 weekly and MyRapid Smart30 Monthly.

    MyRapid7, MyRapid30 (click to enlarge)

    Commuters could either pay more or less under the new distance-based fares structure. Fare calculations are based on blocks of decreasing fare per kilometre rates the further a person travels. Prasarana has prepared a few examples of the changes in fares (higher, lower, unchanged) that you can refer to here:

    To alleviate the potential fare hike for commuters that still resort to cash payments, the “MyRapid Smart 7 Weekly” and “MyRapid Smart 30 Monthly” cards offer discounts between 18% and 35% from the new cash fares.

  • MEGA GALLERY: Renault Megane IV – full details


    Full details of the new Renault Megane IV have been released, along with a massive 108-image gallery. The fourth-generation C-segment hatch is new from the ground up – it’s built on a new platform, utilises a range of new turbocharged engines and features a number of new technologies and active safety features.

    The new car measures 4,359 mm long (64 mm longer than the car it replaces), 1,814 mm wide (6 mm wider) and 1,447 mm high (25 mm lower), with a 2,669 mm wheelbase (up 28 mm). The front and rear track are also wider than the outgoing model.

    It’s certainly snazzier-looking, too, wearing the new Renault design language that debuted on the Talisman. At the front sit distinctive C-shaped headlights with LED 3D-effect light guides; higher-end models get full-LED headlights with automatic high beam. There are also permanently-lit LED tail lights that reach all the way to the trademark diamond badge as well, along with wheel sizes up to 18 inches.

    More Talisman-style cues can be found inside – the cabin is dominated by the same optional portrait-format 8.7 inch capacitive touchscreen (with pinch-to-zoom functionality) for the R-Link 2 infotainment system. Also offered is a 7.0-inch TFT LCD instrument display, a colour head-up display, an improved ten-speaker Bose sound system and a Multi-Sense system with five driving modes.


    Renault also promises that build quality – long a Megane bugbear – has been improved, thanks to foam-backed coverings on the dashboard and major touch points, chrome detailing and a full-grain Nappa leather-wrapped steering wheel, among others. The seats also feature dual-density foam for improved comfort and support, and a driver’s side massage function and electrically-adjustable lumbar support are also available.

    Not sporty enough for you? There’s also the Megane GT which adds more aggressive front and rear bumper designs, a rear diffuser with dual chrome exhaust exits, dark metal 17-inch alloy wheels (18’s optional) and dark metal exterior highlights. Inside, there are sportier seats (upholstered in either fabric or Alcantara) with improved support and integrated head rests, blue highlights and a unique steering wheel rim.

    At launch, the Megane is offered with a 1.2 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine in 100 PS/175 Nm Energy TCe 100 and 130 PS/205 Energy TCe 130 flavours, mated to a six-speed manual transmission; a seven-speed Efficient Dual Clutch (EDC) unit will be offered on the 130 PS variant in the first half of next year.

    Also available is a 205 PS/280 Nm 1.6 litre Energy TCe 205 turbo mill exclusively for the Megane GT, as well as a 115 PS/156 Nm 1.6 litre naturally-aspirated SCe 115 that will be offered on markets outside Europe in the first half of 2016. The former is mated with a seven-speed EDC transmission, while the latter will only be offered with a CVT.

    On the diesel side, there’s a 1.5 litre turbodiesel offered in 90 PS/220 Nm Energy dCi 90 and 110 PS/260 Nm Energy dCi 110 variants, with either a six-speed manual or, in the case of the 110 PS version, a seven-speed EDC. A manual-only 130 PS/320 Nm 1.6 litre Energy dCi 130 mill is also offered, while a 165 PS/380 Nm Energy dCi 165 version with EDC is available only on the Megane GT from June onwards.

    At the beginning of 2017, Renault will introduce a Hybrid Assist variant based on the Energy dCi 110, equipped with a 48 V battery – it’s targeted to produce carbon dioxide emissions of just 76 grams per kilometre and fuel consumption of under 3.0 litres per 100 kilometres on the NEDC cycle.


    Under the skin, the suspension features revised dampers and bump stops for improved comfort, while the removal of rubber mountings between the subframe and body generates better precision and response from the steering. The front wishbone bushings have also been retuned for better road holding, and the rear suspension joints and torsion beam have been tweaked to improve ride comfort. Better insulation, standard acoustic windscreens and a stiffer body structure improves NVH.

    Developed in conjunction with Renault Sport, the Megane GT gets 4Control four-wheel steering, with the rear wheels turning in the opposite direction to the fronts at speeds under 60 km/h (80 km/h in Sport mode) for improved agility and precision, and turning in the same direction as the front wheels above those speeds for better stability. Also included is launch control and the ability to downshift multiple times in quick succession on the EDC, available in Sport mode.

    Based on the same CMF C/D (Common Module Family) platform as on the new Espace and Talisman, the Megane gets the latest driver assist systems such as adaptive cruise control, Active Emergency Braking System (AEBS), lane departure warning, Safe Distance Warning (SDW), speed limit detection, blind spot warning and an Easy Park Assist that can autonomously park in parallel, perpendicular or angled spaces.

    Browse all 103 photos of the new Renault Megane IV after the jump.

    Read The Full Story ›

  • Puspakom Mobile Inspection Unit will be going round different states in the Peninsular from Dec 5 to 23

    Puspakom Mobile Inspection Unit -01

    The Puspakom Mobile Inspection Unit will be going round various states in Peninsular Malaysia from December 5 to 23. According to Puspakom, the mobile unit is to cater to those living far away from Puspakom inspection centres, as well as an initiative to increase quality of service for its customers.

    It will open from 8am in the morning to 5pm in the evening during that period. Save for Preliminary Inspections, the mobile unit can carry out all inspections outlined under the Road Transport Act 1987.

    These inspections include routine, special, transfer of ownership and voluntary vehicle inspections. The latter covers engine and chassis number validation, above-carriage and under-carriage inspection, and brakes and suspension test, among the few. Refer to the table below for the location and dates.

    Puspakom Mobile Inspection Unit Schedule 2015-01

    Fees and charges for all inspections will vary, depending on the type of inspection that has been carried out and the type of vehicle. Puspakom says that the inspection process is fast and simple and the inspection report will be provided to customers immediately.

    “We understand our customers’ needs, that is why the Puspakom Mobile Inspection Unit is introduced to give added value to existing services. For customers who want to have either a private or commercial vehicle inspected, it will save them time and money,” CEO of Puspakom, Shukor Mohammed Ismail said.

  • Lotus announces Driving Academy franchising plan


    Lotus is looking to create a global network of Driving Academies worldwide after announcing a franchising programme for the course, which allows it to cater to a larger enthusiast crowd. Recently, a Lotus Driving Academy session was held in Malaysia, allowing owners the opportunity to explore the limits of their cars, under the guidance of Tengku Djan Ley.

    Currently, the driving training programme handles 2,000 visitors yearly at Lotus’ HQ in Hethel. The introduction of the franchising opportunity is aimed at increasing that number with new international sites being introduced throughout 2016.

    Jean-Marc Gales, Group Lotus CEO said, “the Lotus Driving Academy was originally established in 1999, offering a comprehensive range of driver training and experience packages for customers to relish the benchmark handling and pure driving experience of Lotus cars. l

    “The driver training packages have been developed and fine-tuned over the years to keep pace with the progression and increased performance of Lotus cars, while staying true to Lotus philosophies,” he added.

    Prospective franchise partners will undergo a thorough selection process to ensure a high level of quality and instruction is replicated around the world. Those who have been successfully picked as franchisees will receive a complete suite of start-up assets and become a direct business partner of Lotus.

    They will also go through a rigorous review process. Instructors, coordinators and service technicians will have to undergo a comprehensive training curriculum to ensure Lotus’ high standards are met in all areas of the programme.

  • DRIVEN: Mitsubishi Triton – a truck for the big city

    Mitsubishi Triton Penang Drive-47

    As we head into an age where rapid modernisation effectively blurs the lines between one’s life and work, the new Mitsubishi Triton is one such truck that understands this. Gone are the days when pick-ups were just labelled as a basic, no-thrills, heavy-duty vehicle with a sole purpose of transporting cargo from point A to point B. It’s no longer just your “dad’s” truck.

    No, it’s a truck that can meet the demands of the young twenty-something entrepreneur, looking to buy a one-size-fits-all vehicle with a good balance between work and play. Ladies and gentlemen, meet the second-gen Triton (fifth-gen Mitsubishi pick-up).

    Before we go further, let’s address the elephant in the room. It’s indubitably a subjective topic, but one that needs to be mentioned nonetheless. Many years ago, someone once said to me, “if you’re getting a truck, you’ll want a truck that looks like a truck.” Wise words from a man who knew plenty about off-roading, mechanical four-wheel drive systems, limited-slip differentials and everything else about roads less travelled.

    When the original Triton made its debut many years back, I didn’t really know how to react – that bubbly face, the curvaceous rear-end, that sloping roof and the J-line rear. It all seemed so unconventional that a company famous for its boxy Pajeros and Storms of yesteryear would even come up with such a design – but it did. I admit it took a while for me to get accustomed to such a look.

    Eventually however, the style of the Triton grew on you. The all-new Triton, however, has managed to recreate that feeling, but I’m still unsure whether it will have that same creeping effect. While it does retain, to some extent, the shape of its predecessor, it now gets a large chrome grille, larger headlamps and rear lights that edge to the sides. It is however a great step away from what I was initially expecting, or hoping for it to look like, which made me wonder, what was so wrong with the GR-HEV concept?

    Although it’s always a different story from concept to production, not much of what was seen before made its way onto the Triton. It’s a shame really, but then again I reiterate – design, like art, is subjective. Seeing that this is positioned as an urban lifestyle truck, it’s where it’s supposed to shine. This design however, may or may not do it for some. But enough about art, so how does the new Triton fare as a vehicle?

    Read the full review here.


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