Browsing Archive October, 2017

Hino Motors to Field Two 500 Series Trucks in Dakar Rally 2018



Hino Team Sugawara has announced that it will be entering two HINO500 Series trucks in the trucks category in Dakar Rally 2018 which will be held from Jan. 6 thru 20, 2018 in Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina.

Having been participating in the race for more than quarter of a century since becoming the first Japanese maker of commercial vehicles in the rally in 1991, the team is aiming to achieve its 27th straight finish in the rally.

Teruhito Sugawara, the team’s ace driver, achieved his eighth straight win in the Under 10-litre Class in 2017, rewriting the team’s previous record (The longest winning streak for the team being the 7-year streak from 1996 thru 2002). Year after year since the race relocated to South America in 2009, competition in the trucks category has increasingly become a sprint race where speed has become the operative factor. Hino’s engineering crew has thoroughly tuned Teruhito Sugawara’s HINO500 Series truck to improve its high-speed durability and extend its winning streak in its class to 9.


First entering the Paris-Dakar Rally (as it was known then) in the bikes category in 1983, 76-year young Yoshimasa Sugawara, the team’s director nicknamed the “Iron Man of Dakar,” began his partnership with the Hino team in 1992. His 34th entry in last year’s rally has been recognized as a Guinness World Record. Now working with mechanics who were chosen from dealerships all around Japan, Yoshimasa Sugawara entered Rally Mongolia that was held in Mongolia in August on a HINO500 Series truck to carry out real-word training and testing to take on the challenge of achieving another unprecedented record in the upcoming rally.

While the top positions in the trucks category in Dakar Rally are dominated by monster trucks with engine displacements of over 10 litres, the Hino team continues to battle shoulder to shoulder with these rivals and rewrites its own records, leveraging their savvy and technological capabilities under the motto “small prevails over large.” In the upcoming race, the team will be bringing together Hino’s engineering capabilities in truck manufacturing, servicing expertise of dealership mechanics, the know-how that Team Sugawara has accumulated over the years, and their tightly-knit teamwork to take on what is known as the “most grueling rally in the world.”


Isuzu & Toyota TOP J.D. Power’s Highest Customer Satisfaction

The Isuzu mu-X Monster took every challenge on the trail with aplomb

Customer satisfaction with their new-vehicle sales experience has increased in Malaysia, as shoppers are conducting more preliminary research across a greater variety of sources in advance to find the best deal in the market, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2017 Malaysia Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study, SM released recently.

More than 3 in 10 (31%) customers are using the internet to research their new-vehicle purchase, compared with 27% in 2016. Online searches are predominantly centred on vehicle pricing/ financing and promotions (91%) as well as vehicle features and specifications (63%). Three of the most often visited websites are auto consumer websites/ portals (55%), car websites/ forums (45%) and dealer websites (28%).


Fiat & Jeep cut production, outlook looks dismal

Jeep Cherokee Overland1

FCA has also been reducing production of the Fiat 500X and Jeep Renegade subcompact SUVs at its factory in Melfi, southern Italy. Despite higher demand in Europe for subcompact SUVs in Europe, 500X and Renegade sales have fallen in the region as more competitors enter the segment.

Workers at the plant have been temporarily laid off for 21 days this year, including 11 days in the third quarter. As a result, production of the two models was down 25% in the quarter.

Fiat 500X sales in Europe were down 15% to 62,999 through August. Jeep Renegade’s volume declined 1% to 52203, but increased by 0.5% to 70,859 in the U.S. FCA exports 55% of Renegade production to the U.S. Fiat 500X’s U.S. sales fell 38% to 5,237. U.S. sales represent 10% of the model’s total volume.


Malaysians will lineup to buy this Range Rover Sport PHEV


Imagine, a 2-liter turbo, 300PS Plug-In Hybrid Range Rover Sport for below RM490,000! This could be the luxury SUV many affluent Malaysians have been waiting for. Road tax below RM780.00 under company registration and below RM390.00 for private ownership. A reduced tax incentive from the government just like with the BMW X5 Plug-In Hybrid and the Volvo XC90.

We can just see the long waiting list forming even before its launch at Sime Darby’s Land Rover dealerships nationwide.

This new Land Rover Range Rover Sport will deliver sustainable performance and efficiency with the introduction of plug-in petrol-electric power. The highly capable and dynamic performance SUV features Jaguar Land Rover’s first Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) powertrain and is capable of making trips of up to 31 miles (51km) with zero tailpipe emissions when driven in all-electric mode.

PHEV: performance and efficiency in one

The new PHEV model, the P400e, is the most efficient Range Rover Sport and combines an advanced 300PS (221kW) four-cylinder Ingenium petrol engine with a 116PS (85kW) electric motor. This transformational technology is powered by an advanced 13.1kWh lithium-ion battery giving a total available power output of 404PS (297kW) from the permanent four-wheel drive (4WD) system.

Together they drive Land Rover’s performance SUV from 0-100km/h in just 6.7 seconds and to a top speed of 137mph. With an impressive 640Nm of torque, the new powertrain mixes dynamic and sustainable performance with traditional Range Rover capability, comfort and refinement.

The P400e uses both the Ingenium petrol engine and electric motor to deliver CO2 emissions of 64g/km and fuel economy of up to 101mpg (2.8 l/100km) on the NEDC combined cycle, making this the most fuel-efficient Land Rover. The intelligent system can also capture and store the energy generated when braking to help recharge the battery.

The combination of Ingenium petrol and electric power can be used in two driving modes: Parallel Hybrid mode (the default driving mode) and EV (Electric Vehicle) mode.

In Parallel Hybrid mode the PHEV model can intelligently and seamlessly combine the two power sources to deliver efficient progress. When driven in this way, the new powertrain delivers the best of all worlds. By using its electrical energy reserves intelligently the P400e always has the power and capability customers demand from a Range Rover Sport.

On longer journeys, customers can use the SAVE function to deploy the EV-only range for a specific part of their journey, for example, when entering congested urban areas, while the Predictive Energy Optimisation function uses the vehicle’s Navigation system to maximise fuel efficiency.

In EV mode the P400e can be driven up to 51km with zero-emissions when fully charged. This driving mode is manually selected using a button on the console and gives the new PHEV model a top speed of 137km/h (85mph) while its generous range will allow drivers to complete most journeys without even engaging the Ingenium petrol engine.

Whatever the conditions, the new Range Rover Sport’s exceptional performance and capability are undiminished. Furthermore, P400e customers benefit from its reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, and also entry into areas with access restrictions on combustion engine-only vehicles.

Land Rover’s engineers have delivered a solution that maximises interior space and provides the ideal weight distribution. The 2.0-litre Ingenium engine can be found under the clamshell bonnet, as you would a standard derivative, with the 85kW electric motor housed on the transmission, at the centre of the vehicle.

The access point for the 7kW on-board recharging socket is located behind the Land Rover badge on right of the grille, at the front of the vehicle, while the 13.1kWh prism-shaped lithium-ion battery is mounted at the rear beneath the boot floor.

Charging made simple

The new PHEV model features a plug-in charge point behind a discreet panel on the grille, a 7kW on-board charger, and a charging cable. A full charge can be achieved in approximately 7.5 hours (10 amp) (varies by market, location and the type of hardware used) so the Range Rover Sport P400e is suited to overnight battery top-ups using a domestic plug socket.

The PHEV model is available with three types of cable and includes a home charging lead, which connects to domestic power supplies, as standard.

For faster recharging, a multi-function cable is available for use at higher power 32-amp commercial charging locations and suitably equipped homes. This can reduce the charge time to as little as two-and-three-quarter hours.

Similar performance is available with the public charging cable, which is compatible with AC wall boxes installed at domestic and business premises and service stations, making it ideal for charging on the move.

Timed charging is also available via the Range Rover Sport’s state-of-the-art infotainment system, which allows owners to choose the most appropriate time to begin charging – perfect for customers who want to plug in when they return home, but want to wait until a cheaper energy tariff is available.


Owners can monitor the charging status via two illuminated strips that sit either side of the charging socket behind the grille. A white light signifies the vehicle is connected but indicates that charging has not started, while a blue light shows that timed charging is set but not underway. A flashing green signal shows the car is charging, while a solid green light indicates the battery is fully charged.

When customers are away from their vehicle, they can use the InControl app to monitor the charge status, as well as receive an alert if there is an error, or the cable has been removed forcibly.

Designed and engineered by Jaguar Land Rover in the UK, the new Range Rover Sport will be produced at the company’s Solihull production facility and is available to order now with first deliveries from the end of 2017 (market dependent).



Tesla is not the only company working to electrify trucks


A recent article from the Cleantech Group examines some of the electric models now on the market or in testing from companies such as Daimler, Navistar, and Volkswagen.

Literally, dozens of startup companies are pursuing the commercial electric vehicle market. Most of them are targeting the lower-hanging fruit: light- and medium-duty urban delivery trucks.

For example, Workhorse is selling electric vans to UPS and FedEx Express. Electrifying the long-haul semi-tractor is a more difficult proposition, but progress is being made by both industry leaders and startups. Cummins, one of the largest builders of diesel engines, recently unveiled a prototype 18,000-pound tractor with a 140 kWh battery pack and has outlined plans to add hybrid and fully electric powertrains to its lineup beginning in 2019. Startup Nikola, named for a certain Serbian-American inventor, recently unveiled an electric semi-truck that incorporates both lithium-ion batteries and a hydrogen fuel cell.


Ford Ranger Owner’s Club Completes First 4×4 Expedition in Sarawak



Sheer exhilaration and jubilation was what 60 participants of Ford Ranger Owner’s Club (FROC) Borneo Region felt when they completed the first 4×4 expedition by land to a place called Ulu Engkuah, located in the District of Song, Kapit, Sarawak.

Organised by Ford Ranger Owner’s Club (FROC) Borneo Region and supported by Sime Darby Auto Connexion, the sole distributor for Ford in Malaysia, this three days two nights expedition will mark a spot in the history books of FROC Borneo Region as having driven through 120 kilometres in 8 hours through the gravel route of Ngungun-Song Estate on wet and slippery surface, passing through river crossings and unexpected hilly terrains in 16 Ford Ranger pickup trucks.


“This was indeed one of the best and most successful 4×4 offroad expedition FROC Borneo Region has organised,” exclaimed an excited Martinson Banyang, organising chairperson of FROC Borneo Region.

“The team not only experienced the tough drive route and the terrains but they also shared in the culture and food of the local native villagers, as well as a greater awareness of nature conservation,” he said.


Ulu Engkuah is a remote and uncharted village located in the district of Song, under the division of Kapit, Sarawak. It is surrounded by preserved lush virgin rainforests of Borneo, pristine rivers, and fresh air. Located 120km from the main town of Kanowit, Sarawak,  the only way to reach Ulu Engkuah is only via the Rajang river, the main river of Sarawak. Charting a route via land by the FROC Borneo Region team was tedious but the team received help from the local orang asli from the village. The exploration of this route also opens up development possibilities for the people of Ulu Engkuah.

02“We could not have reached our destination without a reliable vehicle like the Ford Ranger that really impressed us with its smart features and tough capabilities to conquer unexpected obstacles, rivers, bumpy roads and hilly terrains,” said Martinson. “It also introduced some of the new members of the team as well as the communities living there, to an alternative route to reach Ulu Engkuah.”


With the Ranger’s capability to carry a tonne of payload (or 1000kg), participating members did not have to think twice to load up their Rangers to the brim with equipments, food and water, camping materials, and personal items for the journey. It endured slippery uphill and downhill slopes with an inclination of 45 degrees that got its Hill Launch Assist feature swinging into action at the right time. Crossing through deep and shallow waters was also an easy task for the Ranger with its water-wading capability.

FROC Borneo Region is already planning ahead for a more mentally and physically challenging, thrilling and extreme off road trip to test their Rangers and the drivers to the maximum with a long distance off roading of 12-18 hours, deep into the jungle.


Final Edition of the Mercedes-AMG G 65 AMG Has Been Revealed


To mark the discontinuation of the Mercedes-AMG G 65 AMG is offering an exclusive Final Edition, limited to just 65 examples worldwide. The particularly expressive Final Edition reflects the successful story of the world’s most powerful series production off-roader. More than a third of all G‑Class vehicles sold worldwide originate from AMG. The G 65 Final Edition is available with immediate effect starting at 310,233 euros.

The AMG 6.0-litre V12 engine generating 630 hp is totally self-assured. With a maximum torque of 1000 Nm at 2300-4300 rpm, the top-of-the-line V12 engine boasts a unique combination of drive dynamics and smooth running characteristics. The G 65 Final Edition accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.3 seconds and reaches a top speed of 230 km/h (electronically limited).

The V12 biturbo engine with its superior response and powerful sound is unquestionably a highlight in the long, successful story of petrol engines and features a host of top-class technical details. Alongside twin turbochargers it boasts a multi-spark ignition with twelve twin-spark ignition units plus a particularly effective engine management system. The results are optimum combustion, accomplished comfort, maximum efficiency as well as outstanding levels of refinement and power delivery. The high-quality carbon-fibre/aluminium engine cover rounds off the package visually. The AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7G‑TRONIC automatic transmission takes care of the transfer of power to all four wheels.


High ground clearance and long suspension travel form the basis for the excellent off-road characteristics of the Mercedes-AMG G 65. The figures speak for themselves:

  • Slope climbing ability of up to 80% on suitable surfaces
  • Maximum fording depth of 60 cm when driving through water and mud
  • Driving stability at angles of 28°
  • Angle of approach/departure: 27°
  • Breakover angle: 22°

Expressive exterior, high-quality interior

The sporty appearance of the dynamic exterior design of the G 65 Final Edition is underscored by large 21‑inch 5‑twin-spoke light-alloy wheels in bronze, silver brake callipers and AMG Sport trim strips on the sides. Additional highlights come courtesy of features retained in matt bronze such as the underride guard, the trim elements in the bumpers, the wheels and exterior mirrors plus the spare wheel cover in obsidian black with appropriately designed insert. These are complemented by the radiator grille with black mesh screen and surround painted in matte bronze. Running boards and tailpipes are retained in matt black. Inserts in the exterior protective strips in high-gloss black complete the look.

This special model also has a high-quality interior design: the scope of equipment includes the designo Exclusive package in designo black nappa leather with seat side bolsters in a carbon-fibre look and topstitching in light brown. Carbon-fibre trim elements with decorative stitching in bronze, the milled Edition lettering in the grab handle plus floor mats with leather edging in light brown and topstitching in black round off the look. The driver sits behind an AMG Performance steering wheel in black nappa leather featuring a flattened bottom section and excellent grip. Driving is particularly comfortable thanks to the Seat Comfort package including multicontour seats and climatised seats for driver and front passenger.


SUV deliveries in China up for VW Group


The Volkswagen Group delivered over 1 million vehicles to customers for the first time in September, the highest level ever for a single month: at 1.01 million, deliveries were 6.6 percent up on the previous year. This represents the best monthly performance in the history of the Volkswagen Group.

Fred Kappler, Head of Group Sales, commented: “This record result demonstrates the strength of the Volkswagen Group. Vehicles from our brands are thrilling more and more customers worldwide – our new SUVs in particular are very popular. China continues to play an important role in this respect.” The Group also reported a significant rise in deliveries in South and North America as well as Central and Eastern Europe in September. At 7,806,600 vehicles, Group deliveries have risen by 2.6 percent since the beginning of the year.


404,500 vehicles (+1.5 percent) were handed over to customers in Europe in September as the Group stayed on its stable growth path. The Central and Eastern Europe region continued its upward trend, with deliveries running at 63,400 vehicles, an increase of 13.8 percent. While deliveries in Germany were slightly down (-3.3 percent), the overall trend in Western Europe remained stable (-0.5 percent) on the back of increases in Spain and Italy.

The Group handed over 85,900 vehicles to customers in North America, a rise of 13.5 percent compared with the previous year. This positive trend was driven by the launch of the Atlas SUV and the new Tiguan in the USA (+21.8 percent). The Volkswagen Group also reported an increase in deliveries in South America in September, handing over 47,800 vehicles to customers, a rise of 68.4 percent. There were sizeable increases in Brazil (+110.5 percent) and Argentina in particular.

The Volkswagen Group handed over 436,700 vehicles to customers in the Asia-Pacific region in September, 6.1 percent up on the previous year. This increase is chiefly attributable to good developments in China, where many customers chose the newly-launched Terramont and Tiguan from Volkswagen, the Audi A4L and the ŠKODA Kodiaq. In total, 406,500 vehicles (+6.3 percent) were handed over to Chinese customers in September.


Brazilian Ministry of Health Buys 800 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Ambulances

Gesundheit! Brasilianisches Gesundheitsministerium kauft 800 Mercedes-Benz Krankenwagen-Sprinter

Gesundheit! Brasilianisches Gesundheitsministerium kauft 800 Mercedes-Benz Krankenwagen-Sprinter

Mercedes-Benz Brazil has just won the tender by the Brazilian ministry of health for a large-scale order.

In total the Daimler subsidiary will deliver 800 Mercedes-Benz ambulance Sprinter vans to the ministry’s mobile emergency services.

While the first 225 units were already handed over and will be put to action all over the country immediately, the rest will be delivered batch by batch by end of next year.

According to Mercedes-Benz Brazil, the Sprinter became the choice of the Brazilian  Health Ministry due to its advanced technology, high reliability as well as its low operating costs.

Its spacious interior offers paramedics plenty of room for equipment and professional medical care. The Sprinter’s success in South America also helped Mercedes-Benz Brazil to increase its market share in the highly competitive large-van segment up to 33.9 percent – a growth of 9 percentage points compared to the previous year’s result at this time (YtD 09/2017).

Since 2012 Mercedes-Benz’ market share grew by almost 20 per cent.


Win an iPhone 8 When You Test the New Mitsubishi Outlander!


Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia (MMM) will be officially launching the locally-assembled Mitsubishi Outlander SUV 2.0L tomorrow.

Mitsubishi Motors authorised dealers will be hosting an exclusive showroom event on the following dates:

During the showroom event, three lucky customers who test-drive the Mitsubishi Outlander will stand a chance to win a brand new iPhone 8!

That’s not all! The first 200 customers who book and register the Mitsubishi Outlander are also entitled for RM300 worth of petrol vouchers. The Mitsubishi Outlander is contract assembled by Tan Chong Motors Assemblies (TCMA) at its plant in Segambut, Kuala Lumpur.


The Outlander SUV boasts outstanding safety and space for the family, and the move to locally assemble a new 2.0L variant makes the SUV even more affordable for Malaysians. The Outlander was launched in Malaysia in April 2016 as a completely built up (CBU) import from Japan. The new locally-assembled Outlander 2.0L 4WD variant will be sold alongside the CBU 2.4L 4WD, which widens the SUV’s appeal.

The introductory price for the locally-assembled Mitsubishi Outlander 2.0L 4WD is RM 139,988.00 until year end. The Outlander comes with MMM’s standard factory warranty of five years and unlimited mileage.