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Thursday, April 29, 2010

New Sonata Coupe In The Works of Hyundai

Hyundai is seriously considering of producing the Hyundai Sonata Coupe. We have heard that KIA is in a making of Optima Coupe, Hyundai; the parent company of KIA Motors would also jump in to the wagon of producing a coupe version of its D segment sedan. This makes sense since Honda is making good money selling the Honda Accord Coupe in the US and Nissan with its Altima Coupe which has rolled to production in 2008. The design mostly like won’t change much from the sedan form of the Sonata. Look at the artist rendering from our in famous, Theophilus Chin’s of the possible design of the Hyundai Sonata Coupe. Looks like we have to wait patiently before this Coupe would arrive here in Malaysia since the Sonata YF sedan still waiting to be launched here in Malaysia

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hyundai Tucson To Be Price From RM126, 888 OTR. Available For Booking Now!!!

Hyundai Sime Darby Motors has recently announced that the new Hyundai Tucson or Hyundai IX35 will be launch here next month with the indicative price from RM126, 888 OTR for the base line spec 2.0 Liter. Hyundai also will bring in the 2.0 Liter High Spec for RM 136,888 OTR and the top range model the 2.4 Liter High Spec for RM 152,888 OTR.

Both 2.0Liter models will feature a petrol Theta II engine with DVVT (Dual Continuous Variable Valve Timing) that produce a healthy 164bhp. The standard features for both 2.0Liter Low Line and High Line Spec includes of 17-inch alloy wheels, front fog lamp, dual airbags, roof rack and also iPod connectivity head unit system. The high line models have an extra feature of ESP with HAC (Hillstart Assist Control) and DBC (Downhill Brake Control), semi leather seats, panoramic sunroof as well as engine start stop capability button.

The range topper 2.4 Liter High Line will feature petrol 2.4Liter with 175bhp Theta II engine with an addition of power front seat (driver side only), automatic air-conditioning with Cluster Ionizer and luggage net as compared to the 2.0Liter High Live Specs.

All variant will use the 6 speed automatic transmission developed by Hyundai that according to them is a maintenance free automatic transmission. There will be 6 colours available for your choices which are including Vanilla White, Sleek Silver, Hyper Metallic, Grey Titanium, Phantom Black and Blue Ice.

For a peace of mind of owning the Hyundai Tucson, Hyundai Sime Darby Motors will throw in a 5 years warranty or 300,000 kilometers which ever comes first and these models are available for booking now.

As for the Hyundai Sonata YF, my previous sources says that it will be launched after the Hyundai Tucson but I’m not so sure what is new plan from Hyundai Sime Darby as the product launched has been delayed by 1 month. Previously the plan was to launch the Tucson in April and Sonata YF in May, but its seems that there is a possibility that Hyundai will do a double launch this May. I will update soon I’ve got the confirmation about this matter.

Lotus Engineering Showcases The Future of Light Weight Vehicle.

Lotus Engineering, a subsidiary under Lotus Group Plc recently demonstrates the lightweight future of the passenger car. This study was released by International Council on Clean Transportation concludes that a vehicle mass improvement of 38% can be achieved as compared to the conventional mainstream vehicle at only 3% increase of the cost.

This reduction in weight does not include the power train though and this was achieved by Lotus as they compared the new technology car to the bench mark car of Toyota Venza. This efficient design and lightweight materials significantly reduce the CO2 emissions which what the car manufacturer is going for a green car status nowadays. This new technology uses engineering technique and technologies viable for mainstream production by the year 2020. This vehicle uses a mix of stronger and lighter weight materials with a high degree of component integration and advance joining and assembly methodologies. We all know that Lotus is a company well known to build lightweight car using aluminum and epoxy bonding technology previously.

According to Dr Robert Hentschel, Director of Lotus Engineering said: "Lighter vehicles are cleaner and more efficient. That philosophy has always been core to Lotus' approach to vehicle engineering and is now more relevant than ever. Lightweight Architectures and Efficient Performance are just two of our core competencies and we are delighted to have completed this study with input from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to provide direction for future CO2 reductions. We believe that this approach will be commonplace in the industry for the future design of vehicles."

I am really excited in reading this article. I do hope this piece of technology and knowledge can be transferred to Proton which is the parent company of Group Lotus Plc and hopefully someday we can have a light weight Proton cars, with a low fuel consumption and great design for the masses.

Head of the jump to read the full press release of this new Lotus Engineering Future Lightweight Passenger Car.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Chinese Women Fancy A Ferrari!!!

Fancy for a drive in a Ferrari. There are 20% of chances that when you hitch hike for a ride in a Ferrari in China, most likely you will be a passenger of a woman’s driver. Yes, according to the report, Ferrari has sold 200 units of its cars in China last year, and 20% of the buyers are women, yet in the rest of the world women represent less than five per cent of Ferrari buyers.

These women are well to do women who have earned their money from the booming economy in China and there’s nothing can stop them. According to Ferrari, there are around 400~500 millionaires in China and the average age of a Chinese Ferrari buyer is 10 years younger than in Europe or in North America. Well I hope my dream may comes true one day of becoming the proud owner of a Ferrari. Let’s work for it yeah!!

Volkswagen Is Looking For You!!

Volkswagen AG has recently announced a competition to create a new software application to be part of a multi media platform in VW cars. The competition is call “App My Ride” and according to VW Group Research Chief Prof. Dr Jürgen Leohold “Our aim is to invite the international developer community to take part in designing a future system,"

Basically the aim of this competition is to produce the best infotainment system in the car industry and he sought the best ideas from programmers around the world. I personally think this is a win-win situation as this is the best platform for developers to shine in the automotive industry and also VW takes the credit of having the best infotainment around without too much headache and resources to develop one.

The "App My Ride" project takes it inspiration from the boom in smart phones and the applications that come with them that drive consumer trends such as social networking and viewing Internet content on hand-held devices.

Read more for the details of this competition

Meet the Chief Designer of Toyota Motors Corporation

(Pictures credit to HANS GREIMEL)

Meet the chief designer of Toyota Mr. Simon Humphries. Well we’ve heard of Peter Schreyer of KIA previously with Audi AG and Adrian van Hooydonk BMW chief designer who replace Chris Bangle but seldom had we heard about Mr. Humphries. Mr. Simon Humphries was a soft spoken Englishman that joined Toyota way back in 1994. Prior to joining Toyota, he has no experience of designing a car and Mr Humphries worked for Sony Corp. and various consumer goods studios, styling everything from video cameras and train interiors to golf clubs and toilets.

Mr. Humphries came into the limelight of Toyota design team after a semi retirement of design chief Wahei Hirai san in June 2009 and currently Simon Humphries is the highest ranking foreigner at Toyota City in Japan and he speak Japanese fluently. His latest design that came out to production was is the latest Prius and the upcoming Lexus CT 200h. Current President of Toyota, Akio Toyoda san wants Humphries to forge a new look that embodies the chief executive's personal ambition to make cars that are more visually interesting and fun to drive and Mr. Humphries “quote” about the company president , "He comes to every single step of the design evaluation process and talks to us directly on every car. He's very, very involved."

Among the project under Mr. Humphries supervision was concept of Pod concept car in 2001 and the Scion CCX, precursor to the first Scion model, Toyota FunCargo and Toyota bB.

About Simon Humphries:

Title: General manager, Lexus-Toyota

Joined Toyota: 1994

Age: 43

Nationality: British

Family: Married, 3 children

University: De Montfort University in the United Kingdom (industrial design)

Hobbies: Black belt in Aikido (Japanese martial art), gardening

Noted work: Pod concept, Scion CCX

In his garage: Dark-gray Land Cruiser, blue Toyota MRS

Most coveted car: Triumph TR5

Favorite vacation spot: Thailand

Favorite food: Curry with beer

Last movie seen: Avatar

Source of inspiration: Drinking with friends

Advice to young designers: Be yourself

Head to the source if you want to read more about Mr. Simon Humphries.

Alfa Romeo TZ3 Zagato Live Pictures

We have uncovered on the previous post about the Alfa Romeo TZ3 Zagato. Now enjoy the full glory of the car on live pictures. It looks way better in live compare to the studio shots. But the rear end of the car does give some like it or hate it looks either in studio shot or in live pictures.

Enjoy the pictures after the jump

Monday, April 26, 2010

Geely Stunning Showcases At 2010 Beijing Motor Show

Geely headed by self made entrepreneur Li Shufu has made a big showcase at Beijing 2010 motor show with arrays of cars under its stable. Among those models, there 3 models that captures the media attention. The models are Geely Gleagle, Geely Emgrand GT and Geely Emgrand GE.
The Geely Gleagle was powered by a 1.3 liter turbocharged inline four engine producing a healthy 127bhp similar to an engine output of a 1.6 liter engine. The engine can be paired with either a 6 speed manual gearbox or a 7 speed dual clutch transmission. The design from the Geely Gleage was an astonishing feat if you compared the previous designs that coming out from its factory in China. If you look at the design especially the rear end design, it does look like a combination of a roof line of a Nissan 370Z with a tail light of a Nissan 350Z but the proportion does match nicely.

Up next was the Geely Emgrand GT which essentially a coupe car that features a classic sports car proportion minus the large and bold grille in front of it. Without the oversize grill, I personally think this car looks is a stunner. The GT comes from Geely’s new top level Emgrand sub brand and boasts some impressive specs. The car was powered by a plug in hybrid inline four engines with a displacement of 2.4 liter that burst out a 160bhp with a 417Nm of torque. The output of its engine is supplemented by a pair of 27.5kilowatt motors that give the GT and all wheel drive capability. This Emgrand GT is expected to be available in 2014.

The next Emgrand sub brand model will be the Emgrand GE limousine. Like the previous GT, this model also showcase a very prominent grille but the rest of the design does look grand and classic. With a total length of 5,436mm and a wheel base of 3,150mm, the GE is a very big car that is targeting the executive who prefer to be driven rather than driving behind the wheel. The rear seat can be arranged in two modes depending on the customer request. It can be made as a contoured two passenger or a single large seat flanked by extra storage compartments. This car is powered with the same engine that was powering the Emgrand GT model and this model is expected to hit the streets in 2015. With the acquiring of Volvo, Geely seems in line with its plan to be the model of choice among consumers. We’ve been warned.

Head after the jump to see the rest of the gallery

Perodua Tops The Sales Chart In Month of March

The data is out, and the title holder for the No.1 Spot for the most sellable car in Malaysia goes to Perodua. In the month of March, Perodua has manage to sell 18,496 units of car consists of various models with the highest sales came from Perodua Myvi with 7,048 units sold on the road. The second best model for Perodua would be the Viva that manages to sell 6,671 units. The Alza which were introduce in November last year, has given Exora a run for their money as it manage to sell almost double the volume that the Exora manage to sell with 4,777 units bags of sales.

Despite Perodua manage to top the chart, the highest sales for the month of March sort by model was the Proton Saga. The sales figures truly translate to what Proton dream of becoming the Saga as the People’s Car. In the month of March, Proton manage to sell 7,715 units of Saga with the second best model from Proton is the Proton Persona that manage to capture 2,918 units of sales. The 3rd best model from Proton stable is the Exora that manage to achieve 2,772 units of sales.

 For the non national model, Toyota Vios still manage to top the sales chart beating its rival the Honda City with a sales margin of more than 767 units of sales in the month of March.

Head after the jump to see the full charts of car sales by models and by brand.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Lap Time At Nordschleife Breaks Again, Now By A Ferrari 599XX

For Ferrari lovers out there including me :), Ferrari has just claimed to be the fastest production-derived sports car” that broke the record time of 6m 58.16s at the Nordschleife circuit at the Nürburgring Germany on the 21st April 2010. Even though the fastest time was lapped by Radical SR8LM last year with a time of 6m 48s on the same circuit, Ferrari still feels that the Radical is not a production-derived sports car. Enjoy the 7m 38s clips of pure adrenalin. 

Final Inspection Video of The All New Bentley Mulssane

Bentley has release another edition of its video featuring the production stage on the pre production models of the Bentley Mulsanne. As what I uncovered in the recent article, each car is individual, there is no possibility of having two same cars here in planet Earth. To build the car, it involves 98 team members and a high precision is the most elements stressed on their day to day job. Each car goes through a diagnostic testing at various points of inspection to make sure the car that rolls out of the Crewe factory are perfectly assembled. In total there are 2000 various check handled by the cream of the cream hand crafters. Enjoy the 5m and 34sc clips of a pure skill craftsmanship.

The 2nd part of the video is featuring the inspectors at the last point of examining the car from a subjective point of view. According to Quality Manager Donna Morrey "Internally, we say we are the hands and eyes of the customer." Morrey's team puts the car through a two-hour, 503-point checklist before giving each unit a thumbs-up or thumbs-down. The last test will be, all Bentley cars will be subjected to a road test for approximately 30 miles on the roads around Crewe to ensure the functionality of the car entirely before the keys were handed down to the customers.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Super Taxi, Porsche Panamera Turbo

Want to be driven in an uber cool ultra fast taxi, and then you need to save a lot of money not only for the air ticket to Germany but also to pay the taxi fare. So if you are in a hurry to catch a plane near Stuttgart, you can hail the taxi and to be driven fast to your destination, with the power of with all-wheel drive and a 500 hp (373 kW / 507 PS) bi-turbo 4.8-liter V8, which I assume much faster than the fiction Taxi movie that drove the turbo charged Peugeot. While the idea sounds crazy, it kind of makes sense. Any takers in Malaysia who is crazy enough to throw the idea of having a Super Cool car for a taxi ride and burn RM1,398,000.00 as the official price of the car sold here in Malaysia. 

Mazda To Resurrect The RX-7

We have heard a lot of rumors of Mazda going to resurrect the RX-7 nameplate and the rumors turn out to be true. Currently the Hiroshima based company has confirmed that it is testing an Rx-7 prototype and the test mule car is powered by a bi-fuel rotary which can run on petrol and also diesel. It was reported that, Mazda has invited several external drivers and racers to test the mules and the design team has sought feedback on ideas from potential buyers.

The rumors also explain that the project still waiting for a green light from Mazda’s top management because currently Mazda’s engineers still want to use the rotary engine but they have not worked out the best combination of performance, fuel economy and also emissions.

According to Motor Trend, the code name for the next generation engine which is the 16X rotary engine has achieved significant improvement in terms of fuel efficiency but it still lacking the top end punch which is what Mazda is hoping for. The new engine is expected to have in excess of 300bhp with 0 to 100km/h acceleration in less than 5 seconds.

The 2 stroke 16X rotary prototype was reported can run on any fuel that were injected to the combustion chamber, and that is why Mazda is proposing to use the Petrol and Diesel fuel alternatives as I have explained earlier. I really hope this project will go through and people can have the choice to go hardcore for a RX-7 and a mildly mannered to the RX-8 car.

Friday, April 23, 2010

All New Hyundai Accent Launched At Beijing Motor Show

Hyundai has just unveiled the 2011 Hyundai Accent or Hyundai Verna known to other markets including in Singapore at the 2010 Beijing Motor Show. As the spy pics that I have posted in the previous article, the Hyundai Accent is a miniature design of the Sonata with sweptback headlights, a big and bold grille, which is a signature of the new generation of Hyundai cars, and a side mirror with integrated LED turn signals indicator. The overall design turns out to be much better than I’m expected with the theme of “fluidic sculpture” blends very well with the small body of a B segment models and there is no controversial lines associated with this model. The lower end design of both front and rear doors near the side sill remains me of Mazda 3/Axela design though.

The power train for the new Accent comes from 2 new Gamma petrol engines with multiport fuel injection. The base 1.4Liter engine produces 79 kW (106 hp / 107 PS) and 135 Nm (100 lb-ft) of torque. The transmission option for these models was a 5 speed manual and a 4 speed automatic. For the 5 speed manual, it only consumes 5.7 liters/100km of petrol and for the 4 speed auto with the Fuel Economy Package the Accent consumes 6.2 liters/100km. The next engine option in line is the 1.6liter with 90 kW (121 hp / 122 PS) and 155 Nm (114 lb-ft) of torque but this models transmission is exclusively used a 4 speed automatic.

This new Hyundai Accents was developed on a all new platform with a wheelbase of 2570mm which is essentially 20mm longer than in Honda City which the same B segment models. With this long wheel base and a good ergonomic, I’m sure the Hyundai Accents can provide an ample legroom but my only concern is the head room as the rear end roof line slope down giving a coupe kind of space which is a premium for a tall person. For an extra safety, the Hyundai Accents has increase the amount used of ultra high tensile strength steel which is also translated to an improved handling by improving the torsion and rigidity of the chassis and also an improved NHV (Noise, Vibration and Harshness) levels.

According to Euisun Chung, Vice Chairman of Hyundai Motor, "Today is a really special day for us, not only because we're launching a new car, but because it's one of the very few times we've done a world-premiere outside of Korea: And we chose to do it right here in China because it's our way of recognizing how important our Chinese customers are to us."

Chinese production for the Hyundai Accents will start in July, while global production occurs shortly thereafter.

Head after the jump for the whole picture gallery of the launch

Honda Freed First Driving Impression!!

Yes as I have mention in the previous post, the Honda Freed has just been launch today at Hilton Hotel Kuala Lumpur and the price is quite reasonable for a “Premium MPV” as being mentioned by Honda Malaysia. With a price tag of RM 112,980.00 can Honda Freed pose a challenge to the more establish players in Malaysia namely the Grand Livina which is in the same segment to the Honda Freed. I have managed to do an initial driving test with the Honda Freed and read on to the rest of the story after the jump.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fiat SpA Group Announces A 5 Years Business Plan

As I have mentioned in the last article of the departure of Luca di Montezemolo before Fiat unveiled its 2010-2014 business plans, now we can see what’s being presented by Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne of plans for Fiat SpA group of companies.

The first plans for Ferrari is to introduce 6 new models within the next 5 years with the first one to be a replacement of the four seats 612 Scaglietti rumored to be powered with a hybrid power train on its impressive V12 engine. The next line up will be the convertible version of the sexy 458 Italia that will be unveiled next year and also another 458 Italia based for track focus car like the 430 Scuderia. For the top of the range, the new Enzo is in the works and will be very likely to feature a force induction and a lightweight platform. A replacement model for 599 GTB is also in the plans together with an updated California with an M designation to the model nameplate.

Moving on to Maserati, Fiat will introduce a new four doors Quattroporte that will feature a new styling, which offers outstanding driving emotion and performance and a blend of high quality buildup. As for the premier salon segment, the GranTurismo and GranCabrio will maintained as it is and the most interesting line up will be the introduction of a small four door rival to the BMW M5, Mercedes E Class AMG and also the Audi RS6.

Head of the jump to read on the product plans plus some of the presentation slides from the unveiling of the business plans.

Honda Freed Launch in Malaysia for RM112,980.00

Yes, Honda Malaysia has just launched the Honda Freed which Honda describe as a "premium compact MPV" as what I have mention in this recent article with an introductory price of RM 112,980.00. Meanwhile you can read on the product broacher for an initial information and watch this space for more update on the Honda Freed plus the initial driving impression of the car.

Hyundai's Killer To Toyota Prius Soon To See The Light of Production

Hyundai is in the works of producing a new hybrid only model to give a direct competition against the Toyota Prius and also Honda Insight. This new car will be given its own specific name and it will not carry any previous model nameplate such as Tucson, Santa Fe or Sonata. At the same time, Hyundai also been studying the plug in hybrid technology but with this killer Prius car, the car will be about the size of Toyota Prius. As you can see from the concept which is the Blue Will concept, the dimension is quite similar to a Prius. It was expected that, the Blue Will as shown on the pictures, will be available in production form in 2013, the all new hybrid model only can see the light of production in the next two years.

Hyundai will partner with LG Chem to supply the batteries and currently there are a lot of Hyundai engineers working quietly behind the scenes. This hybrid only model and also the Blue Will are now being developed at Hyundai’s Namyang design center in South Korea. As you can see the design cues are inline with the current model which used the “fluidic sculpture” but this concept of Blue Will is a “fluidic sculpture” design on steroids. So you can expect the production form of both Blue Will and the all new hybrid models will have a tone down design which is suitable for design to manufacture.

Hyundai is expecting to sell the car for under $20,000.00 in the US to undercut the red hot competition for the green affordability if it wants to pose some challenges to the more famous Toyota Prius.

In terms of technology, the all new hybrid will follow the direction of the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid which is due to release in late 2010 and it will use the Hyundai’s proprietary full hybrid system with lithium polymer battaries supplied by LG Chem as I have mentioned earlier. The challenge was to reduce the weight and improve the aerodynamics and Hyundai is emphasizing efficiency in highway driving instead of city driving.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Luca Cordero di Montezemolo Steps Down As Chairman of Fiat SpA

It is confirm, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo has announced he will step down as chairman of Fiat SpA after a last minute unscheduled press conference yesterday. Fiat spokesperson decline to comment on Luca di Montezemolo departure from the company and it was seen that Luca di Montezemolo left shortly before Fiat unveiled their 2010-2014 business plans.

It is speculated that Fiat's vice chairman, John Elkann, will replace him. This makes sense considering that Elkann is the chairman of Exor S.p.A, a family-owned holding company, which owns 30 percent of Fiat. Despite the resignation, Luca di Montezemolo will remain on Fiat’s board and also remains as chairman of Ferrari SpA.

Montezemolo's involvement with Fiat goes back to the early-1970s when he was a manager at the Ferrari Formula One team. After leaving the team he eventually returned to take over the CEO role at Ferrari and led the company through a period of major growth and expansion

Volcanic Ash Cloud Surrounded Nissan Production In Japan

The Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcanic ash cloud that has been spreading across northern and Central Europe has caused not only havoc to the airline travelers, but also affecting the auto industry too. We have read the report of BMW production in the US came to a halt but another car company has taken a toll to this recent development. Now Nissan is suspending production at its plants in Fukuoka and also Kanagawa as the Japanese plant use pneumatic sensors produced in Ireland and the sensors were delivered to the plant in Japan by means of air travel.

The affected models that uses this sensor was the Nissan Cube, Nissan Rogue a small sport utility vehicle and the Nissan Murano SUV which were essentially the models being imported here into Malaysia by Tan Chong Motors. Nissan stated that they doesn’t know when the plants will be able to resume production as its all depends to the situation in Europe and the company expected a production loss of 2,000 vehicles. It is rare for flight cancellations to cause a disruption like this as auto makers mostly use ships to obtain components and vehicles.

Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. said on Tuesday that they haven't had any logistical problems due to the volcano eruption.

Auto Insider Malaysia Exclusive With Proton R3 Rally Team

The Proton R3 Malaysia Rally Team are here in Malaysia for the first leg of the 2010 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) which will be held at Kota Tinggi Johor this coming weekend (24~25 April). Drivers of Proton R3 Malaysia Rally Team were none than other Alister McRae which is the brother of the late Colin McRae and also Chirst Atkinson which is previously the Subaru driver in WRC event. As Proton is the title sponsor for this rally team, a meet the fan session was held at Proton Shah Alam where the fan can mingle around and also take autograph of the drivers.

Besides the meet the fan session, both rally drivers has entertained the crowd with a spectacular car manoeuvre in a very tight space driving at blazingly fast speed. Watch the video exclusively brought to you by Auto Insider Malaysia. Head for the jump for the exclusive interview with both rally drivers to get an insight view what are the challenges and also hope of both drivers in this year’s event.


Alfa Romeo TZ3 by Zagato

To us here in Asia, the Zagato name does not spark any info regarding to this company unless you are a car junkie. Actually Zagato is an Italian company that has been establish in 1919 which involved in automotive and design industry and it has build many beautiful sports cars which is a top rating for car collectors and car enthusiast. Among the car that has been magically touch was Ferrari, Masserati, Bugati, Bentley, Rolls Royce, Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Lancia and Abarth which has been manufactured to become a limited series for collection.

Now Zagato is planning to unveil a new Alfa Romeo at the upcoming Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este car show and the Italian firm has released the first teaser image of the car. Based on the teaser image, the overhead view looks similar to the 8C Competizione which essentially the car was based from. It was built with carbon fiber tubular chassis overlaid with a lightweight aluminium body. This car the TZ3 Corsa was design for the purpose of a full on competition machine which was also being commissioned by an unidentified German gentleman racer to honour the 100th anniversary of Alfa Romeo's racing Heritage. It celebrates the men and machines of the Alfa Romeo Zagato common tradition: Scuderia Ferrari of 20's and 30's, Alfa Corse of 40's and 50's, Autodelta of 60's and 70's up to the latest Scuderia Zagato of 80's and 90's. The car will be officially unveiled on 23rd of April 2010. I will post the latest pictures of this car when it has officially unveiled. Stay tune.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ford Fiesta Sales Surpass VW Golf Sales In Europe!!

The newest generation of the Ford Fiesta which will be coming to Malaysia soon has become Europe's best-selling car, pushing the Volkswagen Golf into second place in both March 2010 and year-to-date sales, according to the latest figures from JATO Dynamics.

In March 2010, Ford has sold 68,630 Fiestas representing a 25.8% increase in sales over the same corresponding month of March 2009. The sales figures are actually 11,785 more than what Volkswagen manage to sell the Golf. In total this year alone (January~March), the Europeans has bought 140,496 Ford Fiestas as compared to 135,048 of VW Golf.

As well as securing the top spot with the Fiesta, Ford also managed to finish first in the March brand chart, with 1,818 sales more than Volkswagen, whilst also closing up the year-to-date gap to its German rival which topped the Q1 charts with 372, 205 units

Now that is a clear indication of how good the Ford Fiesta is. The looks of the car is amazing, handling wise I’m not so sure, but with a good marketing and also a good price, I’m sure Sime Darby Auto Connexion will be smiling to the ear to fulfilled the orders from Malaysian car buyers.

Attack of The Clones, Advancement of China Car Company.

During the upcoming Beijing Auto Show that will be held from April 23 to 27, a relatively unknown Chinese company called IAT-Auto will showcase 3 new concepts studies. The most interesting prototype will be the Wu Feng II which essentially a compact coupe with gullwing style doors which is rumoured to have a top speed of 200km/h and can reach a blazing fast of 100km/h in 7 seconds. The other concept that will be showcase is the eTaxi, a mid size sedan powered by an electric motor and the other concept is an electric vehicle Bamboo Wind, which is a futuristic small MPV.

As you wonder, what the nature of business of this company, the answer is, the company mainly engages in the development and design of automobiles, engine and power train and with the recent push for a greener car, the all electric and hybrid car will be a normal scene in the next few years. The best fact would be the investment made by Warren Buffet which has invested heavily in BYD for $230 million buying up 10% of the stake in the company. This is a clear indication of what will be installed in front of us in the next couple of year. Speaking of Chinese car company, to tell you the truth, I’m very impressed with their talent and perseverance to produce a good and quality cars.

Head after the jump to see the rest of the pictures

Drifter Lovers, Head Down to Singapore on 24~25 April!!!

To all drifter lovers here in Asia, to be specific in South East Asia, another round of Formula Drift event will be heading to Singapore on 24th to 25th April 2010 at the F1 Pit Building, Marina Bay Singapore. This year marks the 3rd year for the event since its inaugural launch in 2008 but it would be the first time the event will be held at the Marina Bay. Spectators can expect an extraordinary experience with the finalists burning up the course two-at-a-time, often inches apart. The Formula DRIFT Singapore 2010 Powered by Nissan is organized by ESPN STAR Sports (ESS). Drift Pac Pte Ltd is technical consultant and holds the rights to the Formula Drift series in Singapore.

This event has become a sporting calendar highlight attracting a lot of regional interest as much as 45 drifters from Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, China, Hong Kong, Japan and New Zealand. The in famous Japanese Champion and Top Formula Drift USA Pro Ryuji Miki will be in the event to pose the challenge to our prince of drift Tengku Djan. Let’s hope our Prince of Drift can be on the upper hand and to be crown the champion. So what’s holding you, buy the tickets which is as low as SGD 50 for grandstand ticket and SGD 30 for walkabout ticket.

2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STI Spec C Sedan Spied at the "Ring"

The recently launch 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STI Sedan has been caught testing at the famous Nurburgring track recently. This new Subaru Imprezza sports some differences as compared to the European specification version of the high performance sedan which includes of a blackout alloy wheels, gold coloured brake callipers, fog lamp housing and the front lip spoiler which were essentially not shown on the New York Auto Show. With this new Subaru Impreza Sedan, I’m sure there’s a lot of Scooby lovers here in Malaysia who are waiting that get their hands on these cars. To me this new Sedan really captures the heart of an Impreza which is known for it’s rally heritage. Well I hope my tipster will sports this new Sedan when it comes here in Malaysia. Enjoy the pics of this new Sedan

Toyota To Pay $16.4 million In Damages!!

The verdict is out, and the money will keep on pouring out from Toyota's account. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has ordered Toyota to pay $ 16.4 million on damages done by the recent recalls for the slow-to –return and sticky accelerator pedals. Toyota has agreed to this settlement in order to avoid a protracted dispute and possible litigation as well to allow Toyota to move forward and really focus on strengthening the quality assurance of their cars. With the recent recalls that was now affecting the Lexus GX460 SUV, it looks like there will be no ending to this drama and it was sad to see this automotive giant had to succumbed to the harsh reality of the automotive industry.

We have seen this harsh reality before that has taken a toll on Mitsubishi Motors, and also Firestones that really has pinned down to company to the ground. I’m also sad to see that with all the recalls, the blame has been put on the current President of Toyota, Mr Akio Toyoda. I personally think he is a very cool and gentleman person and he have no fear to acknowledge the mistake that has been plaguing the car quality of Toyota car recently. As we all know the blame should be shouldered by the previous top management of Toyota as this problem has been reported involved the models that have been produced under the old management team.

Read on the details of the press release

Monday, April 19, 2010

Hyundai Accent Caught Undisguised

Shown above are the new Hyundai Accent caught totally undisguised showing the front end and rear end look of the car. The front end look follows the Hyundai Sonata YF design cue which we know will be launch here soon in Malaysia. The rear end look, well too me the design is a blend of current Toyota Vios and Honda City. Looks more of Vios I think. Well i dont't know the fluidic design cue of the current Hyundai range will blend well for a small B sagment car because not all car can have a concave and convex design on the metal sheet of the body while at the same time looking good. I hope the design is much better than my worse fear.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Lewis Hamilton Not In Talking Terms With His Father!!

Yet another news about Lewis Hamilton, this time around about his relationship with his father Anthony Hamilton. As you may know, previously, Anthony Hamilton was a manager for Lewis but early this year, Lewis has decided to split professionally from his father to seek a long term replacement of the manager post. The decision proved to have strained the relationship of a father and son and Lewis has revealed that he rarely communicates with his father and admits he has not spoken to his father for at least a fortnight ago. Despite the lack of communication, Lewis reveled there is no friction between them but it’s not all smiles and happiness. Currently without a manager, Lewis manage himself entirely in the F1 scene and with the rift with his father, we haven’t see Anthony Hamilton in McLaren garage as what used to be a sure present before.

McLaren Secured A 1-2 Victory at Shanghai GP

At last a very interesting F1 racing after all for this season. As I have mention, the prediction says it would be a wet race and the prediction came through. The result as you have heard or already know, the British duo of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton were the first one to cross the finish line after 56 laps of very exciting Shanghai GP. Both the McLaren came in 1st and 2nd place on the podium where the last time the McLaren team achieve a 1-2 victory was back in 2007. The 3rd place was Nico Rosberg which he secures yet another podium for Mercedes Petronas GP.

As I have mention it was a wet race. On the first lap, the rain was cats and dog and the highlight was Fernando Alonso had a jump start and get ahead of both Red Bull which were at the front row of the grid. Alonso were being penalize with a drive through penalty which essentially had ruin his race even though he fought to secure the podium on the last 10 laps trying to pass Nico Rosberg. On the first lap, there was already an accident that involved Force India’s Vitantonio Liuzzi as he spun after losing the car under braking collecting both Sebestian Buemi of Torro Rosso and Kamui Kobayashi from Sauber.

As the results of the crash, a safety car was deployed and at the same time the rain intensity starts to become a problem to the driver. On the second lap, it was already a frantic action at the pit lane as all the teams takes the advantage of the safety car to change the tires to intermediate tires. Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button keep on with their slick tires which proved to be a very good decision indeed. Nico Rosberg led the race and the position settles down with Button on the second place followed by Kubica and Vitaly Petrov of Renault, Jaime Alguersuari of Torro Rosso and Lotus of Heiki Kovalainen in the sixth place. Micheal Schumacher was on the 7th place and finishes on the 10th place after a late fight with Felipe Massa that manage to outdo him two laps before the chequered flag. I am expecting more of Micheal Schumacher as he is the “Rain Master” but that title proved to be otherwise and he is struggling to catch up with the front runner of the race. I’m not sure whether he has loss his skill after a 3 year break or was it the car handling that was not suit to his liking.

Sebastian Buemi Torro Rosso Bizarre Accident

This bizarre accident happens during the Friday practice of Shanghai GP where both front wheels of Sebastian Buemi car seems to detached completely from the front wishbones. What puzzled me was, both wheels came off and spun violently where in the first place there should be some cable that will hold the wheel when any accident happens. This safety cable is a mandatory item to be installed in the F1 cars after a bizarre accident by Raft Schumacher at Melbourne GP few years ago that killed the steward’s instantly after the wheels spun off during an accident.

As you may know, this is the first year the Faenza based company design the car on its own. Previous GP, Torro Rosso shares the same design with it sister F1 car the Red Bull Racing penned by Adrian Newey. Looks like someone will be getting into the hot seats after this horrifying accident and if I may remember, this is the worse technical errors in F1 history.

Well the qualifying yesterday was good, with both Red Bull are on the front rows followed by Alonso on the 3rd place on the grid. Felipe Massa, Alonso partner came in 7th place and the great Micheal Schumacher came in 9th place. Looks like this is the 4th GP in a row Micheal will be starting on the grid well behind his team mate. So guys, don't forget to tune in today at 2.55PM (GMT +8hr) to watch the Shanghai GP. There is a prediction it would be a wet race. I really hope it will be a wet race and things might be very interesting to watch. Maybe a podium finishes for Lotus Racing. Let’s cross our fingers.

Paint My Ride Showcase at One Utama

The Paint My Ride showcase was held at One Utama today in collaboration with Lamborghini, Lenovo, Canon, Microsoft and other sponsors with the aim to reduce poverty (Poverty Reduction Program-NAPOREE). The proceeds from this charity drive will go to the Lions Club of KL Sentul. There are 3 Lamborghini cars on shows with different design showcases. My favourite would be the black coloured Lamborghini as the design is not too crowded and it blends nicely with the body of the Lamborghini.

Besides the car showcase, there is also a racing simulation games where with RM 10, you can play this simulation games and if you are good enough by beating the time of our “Prince of Drift” Tengku Djan of 1min 26 seconds, you are entitled to get your photos taken with any car of your choice and to be printed in A4 size with a Canon picture printer. The collection from the simulation games will go to the Lion Club as I have mention before.

Head for the jump for the rest of the pics

Mitsubishi Motors Showcases At One Utama

I was at One Utama today and there is a showcase from Mitsubishi Motors at the center concourse area. Apparently as all of you car nuts know, Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia (MMM) has just introduced a new variant of its Pajero Sport SUV on 16th April 2010. The new variant was called Pajero Sport GL which is essentially a 2WD version, 7 seater SUV. The other variant which was launch mid last year was a 4WD now officially known as Pajero Sport GS. The new GL variant is do without the “Super Select 4WD system, thus suitable to be used in the urban jungle and this shedding of the system makes the GL 105kg lighter than its 4WD variant.

Apart from that, the GL variant now is equipped with a drum brake instead of disk brakes and a 16 inch wheel as opposed to 17 inch wheel on the GS variant. The power train 2.5 litre commonrail diesel engine remains the same with the DOHC 16v units produce a healthy 136ps and 314Nm from 2000 rpm connected with a four speed INVECS-II automatic with a manual mode override.

Cosmetic changes on the outside is not that obvious, as the different is the GL comes with a honeycomb grille design and a six spoke rims and also a GL badge on the tail gate of the SUV. On the inside, the new variant comes with a dark brown leather seats and trim as opposed to GS that comes with a beige colored leather seat which is why I preferred the GL leather treatment as compares to the GS variant. The instrument panel of this GL variant now furnishes with a silver colored treatment and there is a Kenwood 2-DIN head unit with USB/IPod/Bluetooth connectivity which is also connected to a reverse camera. On the safety side, ABS, EBD and dual Airbags come as a standard features.

Head the jump to continue reading and view other pics from the showcase.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Honda Freed Is Here!!!

Yes, as my title of the post, the Honda Freed is here. Thanks to my tipster Mr Laporfo, he caught this undisguised Honda Freed on a trailer near Puchong toll today. Ehmm seem like I need to call up my friend to get my hands on the Honda Freed before the planned launch on the 22th of April 2010. The launching date is not a secret anymore as there a lot of advertisement going around in the airwaves, on the newspaper even on the World Wide Web. But the price remains the secret. Thanks to my insider, the rumoured price for the Honda Freed is RM120, 000, but according to them, the price most likely to fall between RM116, 000.00 to RM118, 000.00. Let’s see if Honda Malaysia can respond with a bang by introducing it at a lowered price.

With a very attractive price, I’m sure it’s going to be a hit as this car does portray some luxury with a fraction of the price compared to other competitors. What I’m talking about is the captain seat for both front row and the second row and a motorise slider doors for both back doors. With a wheelbase of 2740mm, I’m sure it’s going to be a very pleasant place to be in and with the 3rd row up, the boot can be extended to 672liters (VDA calculation). Watch out this space as I covered the story on the Honda Freed soon, hopefully with an initial test drive impression.

Click the link to view the rest of the photos.

New Bentley Mulsanne Interior Craftsmanship detailed

This featured video shows the details of how Bentley crafted the interior of the new Bentley Mulsanne. This car which was reported to be available in Malaysia on April 14th has a very extensive array of choices on how you want to customise the car. The Mulsanne interior is adorned with a mirror matched wood veneers which take 5 weeks to make which is available in the choices of Walnut, Piano Black, Oak, Bird’s Eye Maple, Vayona, Olive Ash or Sapelli Pommele and a total of 400 hours to assemble the whole car.

There are 114 exterior paints, 21 carpeting hues and 24 leather hides that used a complex tanning process to create a rich, mature leather aroma, the leather can be had in both single tone and duo tone combination. “We once tried to calculate all the possible permutations of exterior colour, wheels, interior trim features, veneers, main hide and secondary hide,” recalls Melinda-June Jenkins, Head of Colour and Trim. “In the end we decided there were more than a billion possible variations.” This means that Crewe could produce its current output for something like 100,000 years without making two identical cars if it so chose.

On the inside, Bentley equipped the Mulsanne with an 8 inch multimedia screen, which is covered by a veneered door when not in use. How much does this luxury costs you. A whopping RM 3.17 million, according to the 329 percent of duties imposed on a car in this category. Well a car that is way out of my small pocket range. Definitely the big and rich boys toys.
Jump to the link below to view the video and pictures of the car.

Yet Another Engine Failure For Scuderia Ferrari

Yet another engine failure for Fernando Alonso, this time happens during the Friday’s practice of the Shanghai GP. This is the second time the Spaniard had an engine failure that also put him out of the Malaysian grand prix two weeks ago sparking concerns he might run out of his allocation of eight engines for the whole F1 calendar. The engine that failed at the Shanghai GP Friday’s practice was the engine that Alonso used during the Bahrain GP that won him the 2010 season opener.

According to Alonso, “ We made a plan about how to use the engines and it is now more or less the same. The only thing is we will have to use them a little more on Fridays, but for the Saturday and Sunday the plan remains the same as before and there is not much concern," Alonso, 28, insisted.

With the engine allocation is tight this year, Alonso acknowledge “if we lose another engine, things would be tighter, but fingers crossed that for now we keep with our original plan.


Naza World Promotion

Fancy for a new car. Well your dream may come true. Naza World is holding a special price deals for a selected models with the highlights of Toyota Wish with a starting price of RM105,000.00 for models year 2006. The deals is only for this weekend, so head down to your nearest Naza Motors Trading if you are itching to holding a new sets of car keys. View the pics, for the list of cars under this special deals.

Mazda 3 Recalls!!

Yet another recall, now its Mazda turns. The models that involved with the recall were the Mazda 3 which was call Mazda Axela in Japan. The market currently involved is in Japan and China. Models for the North American market were not affected as they are slightly different from then models that we can on the Asian market. The recall was to fix an oil hose. The problem happens when driving on rough road for an extended period of time that could cause the oil hose to rub against the radiator’s protective panel causing the oil to leak with wear

Friday, April 16, 2010

Alfa Romeo Giulietta to hit European Market Soon

I've always fond of Italian cars. Even though Italian cars are famous with its reliability issue be it mechanical or electrical, but people do still loves to own one in their entire life. To me Italian cars have their soul and characters in built to it cars with its own sexy and unique styling. Now comes a new Alfa Romeo Giulietta the replacement of Alfa Romeo 147. As many has says, the new Alfa model would be the determined factors of Alfa Romeo survival. With the Fiat SpA CEO Sergio Marchionne, Alfa’s parent company has hinted as quote “We need to be realistic with what Alfa can and should do," he told reporters at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit."2010 is a make or break it for Alfa ... Alfa plays in a very, very difficult market because strategically it has an ambition to go after higher-end German cars. When you look at execution, it's been relatively poor," he said.”

It’s a very strong word from the top man of Alfa’s parent company. The Giulietta has an uphill task to accomplish what it should achieve for the survival of the Alfa brand. With this, Alfa has revealed the specification of the Giulietta with five different turbocharged four-cylinder engines when it goes on sale.

Amongst these is the 235 PS (173 kW / 232 bhp) 1750 TBi petrol units that will be featured on the Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde. The direct-injection model has a "revolutionary scavenging control system" that reduces turbo lag. As such, the 340 Nm (251 ft-lb) of torque is available at 1,900 RPM.

Other petrol engines featured include a 120 PS (88 kW / 118 bhp) 1.4-liter, and a 1.4-liter Multiair that produces 170 PS (127 kW / 168 bhp). The two second-generation MultiJet turbodiesels include the 1.6-liter model that churns out 105 PS (77 kW, 104 bhp), and the 170 PS (125 kW / 168 bhp) 2.0-liter unit.

Each of the engines is fitted with Start/Stop to improve fuel consumption and reduce emissions. The engines are mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, though the 170 PS petrol and diesel units will be available with a dual-clutch automatic.

The Giulietta has three different driving modes - All weather, Normal, and Dynamic - the driver can select through the Alfa DNA unit, which adjusts items like the suspension and electronic differential. The 4.35-meter long vehicle will ride on 16-inch wheels that may be upgraded to alloys, 17-inchers, or 18-inch wheels. Customers who buy the Quadrifoglio Verde get the 17-inch wheels standard.

Other features include LED daytime runners built into the front headlights, rear LED light clusters, and an ergonomically-designed interior. The car's dashboard is a replica design of that found on the 8C Competizione.

When the Alfa Romeo Giulietta is released, new car buyers will be able to choose from two trim levels and two options packages.

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