Browsing Archive December, 2017

Nio launches 7-seat electric SUV for just USD67,000

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Chinese electric car startup Nio has recently demonstrated its new ES8 SUV to customers in Beijing, with home market sales already under way. It is priced from 448,000 yuan (around £50,500) after government incentives.

This ES8 SUV offers comparable specs to a Model X. It’s a full 7-seater, with an all-aluminium body and chassis, air suspension on all models and all-wheel drive.

Electric motors mounted on each axle give the ES8 a 0-100km/h time of 4.4 seconds, which is similar to a Tesla Model X 90D. The 70kWh battery pack allows a 220-mile NEDC range, although no claims of charging times have been made yet. A model which offers a 311-mile range is also available.

Buyers of the Nio ES8 can have the battery swapped out at power-swap stations in three minutes, or charge it via a service vehicle that travels to you. The ES8 also comes with an autonomous driving system similar to Tesla’s, with a variety of cameras and sensors making it capable of self-driving on main roads and motorways.

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Outlander is a 7-seat SUV with legendary 4×4 abilities

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With Malaysians showing no signs of reducing their demand for driving a SUV, Mitsubishi has a lot to offer starting with its well presented, compact-sized ASX, its rugged Triton pickup truck with 4×4 and 2×4 options and, of course, its popular family friendly Outlander 7-seat SUV which comes in a 2.0L variant and a 2.4L variant.

Mitsubishi does not release new products very often, but when they do you can assured it will be a winner. Here comes another Mitsubishi winner in the form of a 7-passenger SUV. Mitsubishi engineers have managed to pack in so many features into this Outlander that the asking price sort of defies logic.

The Outlander has recently benefited from a 2.0L engine. The Outlander has real stand-out appeal; the strong colour really suits the sporty front-end styling. It wears plenty of opulent but quality-look chrome and the large three-diamond badge on its thrusting hi-gloss black nose leave you in no doubt as to its identity.

The new Outlander 2.0L 4WD is powered by a proven 2.0-litre engine with 145 PS and 196 Nm of torque. The DOHC MIVEC engine is paired with INVECS-III CVT transmission. The Outlander comes with an intelligent 4WD system as standard across the range. Unlike on-demand 4WD systems in rival SUVs, the Multi-Select 4WD system in the Outlander has three selectable modes – 4WD Eco, 4WD Auto and 4WD Lock – to suit all conditions and terrain.

Safety features in this Outlander is impressive with 4WD, 7-airbags, ABS and EBD, Brake Assist, Active Stability & Traction Control (ASTC), Hill Start Assist (HSA) and ISOFIX child seat mounts are standard. The SUV also boasts a strong Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution (RISE) body construction.

Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia is currently represented by 53 showrooms (out of which 47 are 3S Centres) and 53 service outlets throughout Malaysia.  In East Malaysia, MMM is represented by 13 showrooms (6 in Sarawak and 7 in Sabah).  For further information and to register for interest, please visit www.mitsubishi-motors.com.my

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Geely just bought 8.2% of Volvo Trucks

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China’s Geely Holding, which already owns the Volvo Car Group takes a sizeable 8.2% stake in Swedish truck maker AB Volvo from activist investor Cevian Capital for around USD3.3 billion. Volvo Car Group was split from AB Volvo almost 20 years ago and Geely said it was not its current intention to try to reunite the two businesses.

“Given our experience with Volvo Car Group, we recognize and value the proud Scandinavian history and culture, leading market positions, breakthrough technologies and environmental capabilities of AB Volvo,” Geely Chairman Li Shufu said in a statement on Wednesday.

Geely’s expertise in the Chinese market and skills in developing electric and autonomous vehicles should help the truck maker to expand, he added.

AB Volvo owns 45% of Dongfeng Commercial Vehicles, one of China’s largest truck makers, and also has a significant construction equipment business in China.

The value of the investment amounted to around 27.2 billion Swedish crowns although Geely and Cevian did not disclose the exact value of the transaction in their statement on Wednesday.

The deal makes Geely the biggest individual shareholder in AB Volvo and second ranked in terms of voting rights behind Swedish investment firm Industrivarden.

AB Volvo shares have gained more than 50% this year as it and rivals in the truck industry such as Germany’s Daimler and Volkswagen hit a sweet spot thanks to robust demand in major markets.

Cevian, which has held shares in Volvo since 2006, this year called for a break-up, suggesting the smaller Volvo Construction Equipment and engine and technology firm Volvo Penta should be separated from the main truck making business.

As well as Volvo cars which it acquired in 2010, Geely also owns the company that makes London’s black cabs and sports carmaker Lotus.

In a sign of its ambitions, the Chinese company last month offered to take a stake of up to 5% in Daimler via a discounted share placement but was rebuffed, according to sources with knowledge of the talks.

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Scania Unveils Future-oriented City Trucks

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Scania has now completed its new truck generation following the introduction of its latest low-carbon transport solutions.

“With today’s release, Scania comprehensively sets the stage for the necessary shift towards sustainable transport, offering tailored low-carbon trucks for all transport applications,” says Christian Levin, Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing.

The new fuel-efficient future-oriented trucks all feature the widely acclaimed styling and product characteristics of the new truck generation. Among these are enhanced driveability as well as improved visibility, increased safety, ergonomics and comfort. With the new generation trucks, Scania is taking major steps in providing customer-adapted trucks for even better total operating economy.

With the introduction of the lighter trucks powered by the new 7-litre engine, Scania offers urban transporters a new level of transport efficiency with fuel savings of up to 10 percent. With its more compact dimensions, the new P-series cab can feature a lower engine tunnel, which opens up a more spacious cab interior. Drivers will enjoy the best driving conditions in the industry in vehicles that excel in handling, steering and driveability – all of which are essential in challenging urban traffic.

The L-series is Scania’s newly developed cab series for urban transport, such as distribution, refuse collection and maintenance. Drivers will benefit from vastly improved direct vision of the surroundings. Drivers will also be at the same height as other road users, with the added advantage of improved working conditions when repeatedly entering and exiting the cab. The Scania L-series features a kneeling mode and lower boarding steps on both sides of the cab. Drivers can also take advantage of the space in front of the engine tunnel to exit on the passenger side, thereby avoiding oncoming traffic.

In addition to the better view over surrounding traffic, Scania introduces the City Safe Window. Drivers will thereby have better opportunities to detect nearby pedestrians and cyclists. The window on the passenger side door is available for all P- and L-series cabs, those most common in urban transport, as well as for the CrewCab.

Since Scania’s new CrewCab will mainly be used by firefighters, it has been specifically tailored for emergency assignments, keeping both ergonomics and safety in mind. For extra safety, there is an option for up to four roll over side-curtain airbags. The CrewCab accommodates up to eight passengers with a high level of safety and comfort, which includes a separate climate system with its own heating for the crew area.

Scania already offers the broadest range of trucks for renewable fuels, including ethanol, biodiesel, HVO as well as hybrid technology.

With Scania’s introduction of a six-cylinder 13-litre gas engine specifically designed for regional and long-haulage operations, climate-conscious hauliers now have a strong alternative to conventional fossil fuels. For a 40-tonne truck-and-trailer combination with tanks for liquefied gas, the range has been extended to 1,100 kilometres. In parallel, Scania also releases a 9-litre gas engine for the new truck generation.

Scania Maintenance with Flexible Plans is now also made available for the gas engine range. Significantly greater maintenance precision can be achieved on the basis of the vehicle’s actual usage pattern as continuously monitored through connectivity. The solution ensures that every single truck gets exactly the right maintenance at exactly the right time, thereby reducing time in the workshop and increasing uptime.

“With the new generation trucks, Scania is taking major steps in improved safety, driver comfort and fuel economy. The released models have been universally praised and awarded for their innovative features and overall performance and we are certain that the new urban range will be equally successful,” says Levin.

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BMW X3 All Electric, it might be priced below RM299k

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The all new BMW X3 will also play a key strategical role in the BMW lineup. This SUV will become the brand’s first combustion engine model to receive a full-electric version, which will compete with the Mercedes-Benz EQC and Audi’s e-tron SUV. The X3 also gets an M-badged high-performance model for the first time in the M40i. It will use a 355bhp, 3.0-liter engine.

New for the cabin will be Microsoft Office 365, where users can opt for a secure server connection for exchanging and editing emails, calendar entries and contact details.

BMW says the X3 has a drag coefficient of just under 0.29, a benchmark setting for its segment, which has helped to reduce cabin noise by creating a cocooning effect.

The X3 is one of BMW’s highest volume models, selling more than 1.5 million units across two generations since its 2003 launch. Global sales rose 14% to 157,000 last year even though the X3 was approaching the end of its life cycle.

Despite giving the SUV larger 18-inch wheels, up from 17-inches, BMW was able to lower the X3’s center of gravity using ultra high-strength steel on the roof to lighten the vehicle’s top. Its weight was reduced by up to 55kg to give it a better power-to-weight ratio.

BMW also managed to improve the body’s torsional stiffness to boost handling while distributing the weight perfectly evenly, with roughly 900kg resting on each axle. “We wanted to emphasize the fun driving, this vehicle follows you instinctively and handles curves with extreme confidence.

 

Interior comfort has been improved by a wheelbase that is 50mm longer than its predecessor. The X3 also offers more practicality with a rear seating bench that folds flat to offer an additional 50 liters of cargo space. To further improve comfort in the rear, the angle of the standard 40:20:40 split/folding rear seat backrests can be adjusted individually and through various stages thanks to the optional rear comfort seat. This feature also allows the backrests to be released remotely from the load compartment, which expands the standard load capacity of 550 liters to 1,600 liters.

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Diesel SUV’s & Cars’s Going Into Retirement

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Is is too little to late? Car manufacturers say they are taking steps to clean up their diesels. Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz spent 3 billion euros to develop a new family of 4 and 6-cylinder diesels capable of drastically cutting on-road NO2 emissions. By the end of 2019, roughly 80% of all new diesels sold in Germany will be equipped with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) converters, which is the most expensive exhaust after-treatment system on the market. Acting now, however, may be too little, too late. The ground is already shifting beneath automakers’ feet.

During the first 6-months 2017, the penetration rate for diesels in Europe’s car fleet dropped to 45.3% from 49.4% during the same period last year. It was the lowest share and the fastest drop for diesel since 2009. By end of this year the figure is said to be even lower as more European car buyers opt more for petrol, electric and hybrid vehicles. The rate of adoption in Malaysia is also reducing even though we finally have quality diesel being sold in more than 130 BHPetrol fuel stations around the country.

 

Adjusted for that effect, the 2017 numbers for diesels look historically bad, especially in Germany where new manufacturer incentives to purchase new Euro 6 diesels have so far fallen flat.

Sensitized to the risk ever since the Stuttgart debate grabbed headlines nationwide, customer demand for diesels fell once more in August, with the share dropping to 37.7% in August as sales slipped 14%. That was their lowest this year and down sharply from 45% in the previous one.

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WABCO Invests 10 million USD To Boost Electric Commercial Vehicle Sector

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WABCO Holdings Inc. (NYSE: WBC), a leading global supplier of technologies and services that improve the safety, efficiency and connectivity of commercial vehicles, today announced that it has made a $10 million strategic investment in Nikola Motor Company, a leader in the design and manufacturing of hydrogen-electric vehicles, vehicle components, energy storage systems, and electric vehicle drivetrains headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah (USA).

The transaction further demonstrates WABCO’s commitment to advance the development of electric and highly automated commercial vehicles in North America and around the globe. In addition to the strategic investment, WABCO and Nikola signed an agreement to accelerate the development of industry-leading safety technologies specifically designed for electric commercial vehicles, including electronic braking systems (EBS), as well as traction and stability control technologies.

“As vehicles become increasingly autonomous, electric and connected, WABCO continues to be at the forefront of breakthrough technology innovation,” said Jacques Esculier, WABCO Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “We are excited to invest in Nikola Motor Company to help the industry realize our joint vision of electrified and autonomous trucks, buses, trailers and off-highway vehicles. WABCO’s technologies, notably industry-leading braking, traction and stability control systems, continue to advance the transportation industry.”

“WABCO continues to stay at the vanguard of technology and innovation. Here at Nikola, we are driving a paradigm shift in the transportation industry by creating the most advanced semi-truck ever built. WABCO is a vital business partner to enable autonomous driving, electronic braking, and stability control for trucks and trailers,” said Trevor Milton, Nikola Founder and Chief Executive Officer. “WABCO is recognized as a global leader in safety and efficiency technologies for next-generation commercial vehicles. We have added a world-class supplier to the Nikola truck family and are looking forward to our collaboration to bring Nikola’s zero emission trucks to market.”

Nikola plans to begin testing its zero emission trucks with commercial vehicle fleets in late 2018 and launch full production in 2021.

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Hyundai, Kia, Subaru, Toyota and Mercedes are the safest cars in the world

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Most of the TOP SAFETY PICK+ awards go to two manufacturers: Hyundai Motor Co. which owns the Hyundai, Kia and Genesis brands, has six models earning the award, and Subaru has four. Mercedes-Benz has two, while Toyota and Ford Motor Co. have one each.

Toyota Motor Corp. has the most vehicles, 10 which is on the TOP SAFETY PICK list. Hyundai is the runner-up with nine. All but one of the seven vehicles in Subaru’s 2018 lineup earn one of the awards. The Impreza, Legacy, Outback and WRX qualify for TOP SAFETY PICK+ when equipped with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights. The Crosstrek and the Forester earn TOP SAFETY PICK, also with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights.

IIHS has been recognizing vehicles with TOP SAFETY PICK since the 2006 model year to help consumers identify vehicles with the highest safety ratings without having to wade through information about individual tests. The TOP SAFETY PICK+ accolade was introduced in the 2013 model year to recognize vehicles that offer a superior level of safety. Over the years, IIHS has added to and strengthened criteria for both awards, pushing automakers to speed up safety advances.

The Institute releases ratings as it evaluates new models, adjusting the list of winners throughout the year. By fall of 2017, 69 vehicles had earned 2017 TOP SAFETY PICK+ and 51 had earned 2017 TOP SAFETY PICK. 

The Top Safety Pick+ winners are listed below.

Small cars

Kia Forte

Subaru Impreza (sedan and wagon)

Subaru WRX

Midsize cars

Subaru Legacy

Subaru Outback

Toyota Camry

Large luxury cars

Genesis G80

Genesis G90

Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan

Midsize SUVs

Hyundai Santa Fe

Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

Midsize luxury SUV

Mercedes-Benz GLC

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This is the cabin of the NEW G-Class SUV

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It is an off-road legend and the ultimate benchmark for so many fans of cross-country driving: the G-Class. Since 1979 more than 300,000 examples of it have allowed their owners to experience adventures that would have been unachievable with any other vehicle. Outwardly, the “G” has changed very little. But in fact this very special off-roader has constantly reinvented itself. With its completely updated interior and numerous new features, the G-Class has now undergone the most significant transformation of its almost 40-year career, in technical as well as stylistic terms – while still managing to stay true to itself.

Iconic elements continue to serve very specific purposes, now as then, and to give the G-Class its unique appearance. All these are still to be found in the new G-Class: the distinctive door handle and the characteristic closing sound, the robust exterior protective strip, the exposed spare wheel on the rear door and the prominent indicator lights. It is extraordinary features like these that combine with the off-roader’s angular lines to define its special look.

That this is a contemporary interpretation of a legend is also evident, for example, from the car’s clear, geometric lines: climbing aboard the G-Class reveals styling elements from the exterior transposed into the interior. The shape of the round headlamps, for instance, which is reflected in the air vents on either side. Or the design of the iconic indicators, found again in the shape of the loudspeakers.

Hallmarks of the G-Class include the grab handle in front of the front passenger and the chrome-highlighted switches for the differential locks, positioned in clear view. Both have been meticulously optimised and retained as characteristic features.

G-Class drivers are able to control the full infotainment system without taking their hands off the steering wheel. The touch-sensitive Touch Controls on the steering wheel respond to swiping motions in the same way as the surface of a smartphone. Thanks to haptic impulses and additional feedback from the onboard speakers, the driver can use the touchpad without looking away from the road. The input options are rounded off by shortcut keys in front of the Controller for frequently accessed operating tasks, and by the optional control array for the driving assistance systems above the rotary light switch. The driver sits up close to the windscreen and enjoys good all-round visibility from behind the wheel.

The very clearly laid-out and completely redesigned instrument panel features timeless tube-look analogue dials as standard. In other words, fans of classic round instruments will certainly not be disappointed in the new G-Class. As in the new E and S-Class, an alternative instrument panel in the form of a large display screen showing virtual instruments in the driver’s direct field of vision and a central display above the centre console is available as an option. Two 12.3-inch displays blend visually into a wide-screen cockpit beneath a shared glass cover. Drivers can choose between three different styles for the displays – “Classic”, “Sport” and “Progressive” – and also configure relevant information and views according to their individual needs.

High-quality materials and added comfort

With its unmistakable character and high-quality appointments, the G-Class has always managed to combine off-road capability and luxury in a particularly harmonious way. Even in its standard specification, the G-Class’s timeless and authentic open-pore wood trim gives it an air of classical elegance. Its stylish details include the generous use of high-quality metal or carbon fibre trim, and its leather seats.

The doors are very solid, clear evidence of that hallmark “G” functionality. The stowage space concept has been thoroughly overhauled, with numerous new storage areas ensuring that everything has a home. Under the armrest, for example, is an illuminated compartment for small items such as chewing gum, handkerchiefs or perhaps sunglasses. A wireless charging point here can be specified as an optional extra. In front of the touchpad in the centre console are two removable cup holders and an oddments tray. The rear doors are each capable of accommodating a 1-litre water bottle. The rear bench seat has a freestanding backrest, so allowing maximum variability and better visibility through the rear side windows.

The standard audio system features seven loudspeakers. The Burmester® surround sound system with 16 speakers and a 590 watt amplifier with Digital Sound Processing is available as optional equipment.

The revised dimensions of the now larger G-Class do not only benefit the driver, but also the passengers in the second row.

The most important data at a glance:

The rear seats can be folded down to 60, 40 or 100 percent. The seats in the G-Class are equipped as standard with numerous convenience functions such as the Memory function for the driver’s seat, seat heating front and rear, and luxury head restraints in the front. Such ride comfort can be enhanced still further if so required with the Active Multicontour Seat package. As well as the special multicontour seats, this encompasses such features as a range of massage functions, climatised seats and fast seat heating.

This variant also offers electrically adjustable lumbar supports for the driver and front passenger. The side sections of the seat cushions and backrests of the active multicontour seats include integrated air chambers that fill or empty on a continuous basis according to the driving dynamics, so providing better support for the seating positions of driver and front passenger and, for example, offering more lateral support during cornering. The front seats of the Active Multicontour Seat package are recommended by experts from the German spinal health organisation “Aktion Gesunder Rücken e.V.”.

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Renault and Brilliance China to Produce LCV for China Market

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Groupe Renault and Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Limited (Brilliance) have confirmed signing a contract for the formation of a joint venture to manufacture and sell light commercial vehicles (LCV) under the Jinbei, Renault and Huasong brands with the goal of achieving 150,000 sales annually by 2022 and an acceleration of electrifying powertrains.

The CPC Liaoning Provincial Committee and Liaoning provincial government have supported creation of the JV that will bring additional economic development to this area in northeast China, and Chen Qiufa, Secretary of the CPC Liaoning Provincial Committee; Tang Yijun, acting governor of Liaoning Province; and other officials participated in the inauguration ceremonies.

The new JV will be known as Renault-Brilliance-Jinbei Automotive Co., Ltd. with manufacturing operations in the Dadong District of Shenyang and will locally produce three key segments—MPVs, medium vans and heavy vans. The Chinese LCV market is reaching upwards of 3 million units annually.

To form the JV, Groupe Renault is purchasing a 49 percent equity interest in Shenyang Brilliance Jinbei Automobile Co. Co., Ltd. (SBJ). SBJ is being restructured into a JV owned 51 percent by Brilliance China and 49 percent by Groupe Renault. The companies had signed a framework cooperation agreement to pursue the formation of the joint venture in July of this year.

Thierry Aubry has been named CEO of the JV. Aubry’s background includes retail, manufacturing and distribution experience in China and France.

Groupe Renault is part of the world’s largest automotive group with its Alliance including Nissan and Mitsubishi. Brilliance has made significant investment in the Jinbei brand, which has been the No.1 bus brand in China for more than a decade with an expertise in entry-cost MPVs and with leading market share in medium vans at 31 percent.

The JV provides a platform for the partners to bring complementary strengths together with Brilliance delivering an existing dealer network of 220, project engineering capability and manufacturing capacity. As demand in China increases for Europe-style vans and LCVs that meet higher safety, emissions and energy-efficiency standards, Renault brings expertise in new technologies, core engineering capability and business management expertise. The JV’s first focus will be to invigorate the Jinbei brand and then to manufacture Renault LCVs in China by 2020.

Groupe Renault celebrates its 120-year anniversary in 2018 and has been making LCVs since 1900. The company is a global LCV leader that has a full line-up of vans and pick-ups with 10 LCV models including four EVs.

 

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