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SDAC-Ford Introduces its ‘Digital Salesperson’ for Customers During CMO

Sime Darby Auto ConneXion (SDAC), the sole distributor for Ford in Malaysia today introduced its ‘Digital Salesperson’, a dedicated WhatsApp live chat line to address customer queries relating to vehicle purchases. The campaign starts today until 30 June.

“In light of the Movement Control Order being extended until 14 April 2020, we are introducing an alternative method of a ‘Digital Salesperson’ which will allow customers to continue conversing with us via digital means. This comes as we understand that there are customers wanting to purchase our vehicles, but unable to walk into our showrooms during this period,” said Syed Ahmad Muzri Syed Faiz, Managing Director, Sime Darby Auto ConneXion.

Muzri commented, “Post the Movement Control Order, we will continue to offer this alternative method, as we care and understand that customers may still want to limit public exposure.”

The ‘Digital Salesperson’ seeks to address product related queries as well as on any ongoing sales promotions. This service also aims to bridge the gap by linking customers to an actual Ford authorised salesperson located nearest to them.

Once connected to a Ford authorised salesperson, customers would be able to be informed on the colour and stock availability, in-showroom promotions, loan financing options, road tax and vehicle registration fees and insurance options.

With the introduction of this alternative option, customers would also be able to transact at their own convenience and pay the deposit for their vehicle – and take advantage of upcoming festive promotions. Once the Movement Control Order is lifted, the Retail Customer Order and loan documents can be signed and processed.

Jeffrey Gan, Managing Director for Retail and Distribution, Malaysia, Sime Darby Motors, said, “When the Movement Control Order is lifted, we welcome customers who wish to come in-person to any of our flagship showrooms located at our latest automotive facility, Sime Darby Motors City at Ara Damansara, as well as our showrooms at other parts of the country.

“We would like to assure our customers that we have taken the necessary precautions to ensure the health and safety of our staff and visitors which includes, practicing social distancing. At certain showrooms, we require all visitors to perform temperatures checks upon entering the premise, in addition to supplying hand sanitiser dispensers located in the showrooms.”

The ‘Digital Salesperson’ is available to assist customers from 9am – 4pm, Monday – Friday. Customers simply need to WhatsApp +6019-204 1200 to start chatting where queries will be attended to within 24 hours.

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New Mercedes-Benz EQV Undergoing Extreme Winter Testing in the Arctic Circle

Customers, whether private or commercial users, place the same demands on electric vehicles as they do on equivalent vehicles with combustion engines: complete reliability and functionality – even in severe conditions.

That was exactly what the winter test of the Mercedes-Benz EQV 300 (combined power consumption: 26.4-26.3 kWh/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 0 g/km)1 focused on.

For several weeks, the development team subjected the first purely battery-electric premium MPV from Mercedes-Benz to an endurance test in Arjeplog, Sweden under severe climatic conditions.

At temperatures reaching minus 30 degrees with icy roads and deep snow, the EQV proved its operability under extreme conditions. Thus, the vehicle completed one of its last milestones on the way to its market launch in the second half of 2020.

The vehicles were put through numerous complex tests on the test site close to the Arctic Circle. Over 30 engineers, electronics experts and mechanics from Mercedes-Benz Vans were involved: for example, they drove over frozen lakes and measured the effects of extreme cold on handling, ergonomics and comfort, using specialised measuring technology.

The starting behaviour and low-temperature resistance of the drive components, software and interfaces, and the thermomanagement of the entire vehicle, were tested in cold cell facilities.

A further important element of the test: charging behaviour. The EQV is equipped with an integrated fast-charging function with which it can recharge from 10 to around 80 percent of its energy in 45 minutes. This is a great advantage, particularly when travelling, but it must function reliably regardless of the temperature.

Reliable handling in ice and snow is also essential. On the test drives, the EQV showed that the low, central positioning of the lithium-ion battery in the underbody has a positive effect on the vehicle’s handling, specifically under winter conditions. The conclusion of the testers was that the EQV is fit for customer operations – even in arctic conditions.

“In this final winter test, we demanded everything of the EQV – and it performed very well. We used these extensive tests for the last milestones on the way to market readiness”, said Benjamin Kaehler, Head of eDrive@VANs at Mercedes-Benz Vans. “Particularly with regard to thermal management, so important to electric vans, we were able to gain insights which will make the EQV safer and more comfortable.”

The market launch of the EQV will be in the second half of 2020.

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Toyota and Hino to Co-develop Fuel Cell Truck

Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) and Hino Motors, Ltd. (Hino) have agreed to jointly develop a heavy-duty fuel cell truck, and to proceed with initiatives toward its practical use through verification tests and other means.

Toyota and Hino are determined to take proactive action toward resolving global environmental issues as one of the most important corporate tasks. The two companies have declared ambitious goals to reduce CO2 emissions by 2050 and are developing electric vehicle technologies for widespread use in society.

In order to achieve further reductions in CO2 emissions, major improvements will be required in the environmental performance of heavy-duty trucks, which account for about 60 percent of the total CO2 emissions from commercial vehicles in Japan 2.

For the electrification of commercial vehicles, the optimum powertrain must be adopted to ensure both outstanding environmental performance and just-right practicality as a business vehicle in terms of cruising range, load capacity, and other aspects depending on the usage.

Heavy-duty trucks are typically used for highway transportation; therefore, they are required to have sufficient cruising range and load capacity as well as fast refueling capability. For this reason, fuel cell vehicles that run on hydrogen with its higher energy density are considered effective.

The heavy-duty fuel cell truck in this joint development project is based on Hino Profia, and is being developed taking maximum advantage of the technologies both Toyota and Hino have cultivated over the years. The chassis is specially designed with the optimum packaging for a fuel cell vehicle, and steps are being taken through comprehensive weight reduction to ensure a sufficient load capacity.

The powertrain is equipped with two Toyota fuel cell stacks that have been newly developed for Toyota’s next Mirai and includes vehicle driving control that applies heavy-duty hybrid vehicle technologies, developed by Hino. Also, cruising range will be set at approximately 600 km, aiming to meet high standards in both environmental performance and practicality as a commercial vehicle.

Toyota and Hino have positioned hydrogen as an important energy source for the future and have worked together on developing technologies and spreading and innovating fuel cell vehicles for over fifteen years since their joint demonstration trials of the fuel cell bus in 2003. Going forward, Toyota and Hino will further strengthen its partnership and accelerate efforts toward the realization of a hydrogen society.

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The Volkswagen E-Bulli, Where Past Meets the Future

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (VWCV) is presenting for the first time the e-BULLI, an all-electric vehicle that produces zero emissions on the road.

Equipped with the drive system components of the latest Volkswagen electric vehicles, the concept vehicle is based on a T1 Samba Bus produced in 1966 and comprehensively restored.

The stage for the world premiere was to have been Techno Classica 2020. As it has been postponed, VWCV is now presenting it virtually. An important message for all fans of the Bulli and of electric mobility: the combination of high-end classic and high-tech electric vehicle will be available to buy for real. VWCV partner eClassics is planning to offer T1 conversions and T1 complete vehicles in the style of the new e-BULLI.

It started with the seemingly audacious idea of switching an historic Bulli over to a drive system producing zero emissions on the road in order to bring it in line with the challenges of a new era. To this end VWCV engineers and designers formed a team along with drive system experts from Volkswagen Group Components and the eClassics company, which specialises in electric car conversions. As the basis for the future e-BULLI the team chose a T1 Samba Bus produced in Hannover in 1966, which prior to its conversion spent half a century on the roads of California.

One thing was certain from the start: the e-BULLI was to be a T1 that utilises the Volkswagen Group’s latest electric drive system components. This plan has now been realised with the e-BULLI. The vehicle serves as an example of the great potential that this concept offers.

The 32 kW (44 PS) four-cylinder boxer engine gave way in the e-BULLI to a silent Volkswagen electric motor delivering 61 kW (83 PS). The comparison of the engines’ power output alone makes it very evident that the concept vehicle has completely new drive characteristics, as the electric motor is almost twice as powerful as the boxer.

What’s more, with maximum torque of 212 Nm, the new drive provides more than twice the force of the original T1 engine from 1966 (102 Nm). The maximum torque is also – as is typical for electric motors – immediately available. And that changes everything.

Never before has there been an ‘official’ T1 as powerful as this e-BULLI. New in this form, it thus becomes a silent cruiser that combines the fascination of a zero-emission drive system with the incomparable style of a classic Bulli.

Power transmission is by means of a 1-speed gearbox. The drive system is coupled with the gear lever, which is now positioned between driver and front passenger seat. The automatic transmission’s selector settings (P, R, N, D, B) are shown next to the lever.

In position B the driver can vary the degree of recuperation, i.e. of energy recovery when braking. The e-BULLI reaches a top speed of 130 km/h (electronically limited). With the original drive system the T1 managed a top speed of 105 km/h.

Just like the boxer engine of the 1966 T1, the combination of gearbox and electric motor integrated in the back of the 2020 e-BULLI drives the rear axle.

A lithium-ion battery is responsible for supplying the electric motor with power. The battery’s usable energy capacity is 45 kWh. Customised for the e-BULLI in collaboration with eClassics, a power electronics system in the back of the vehicle controls the high-voltage energy flow between the electric motor and the battery and in the process converts the stored direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC). In addition, the on-board electronics are supplied with 12 volts via a so-called DC/DC converter.

All of the electric drive system’s standard parts are being made by Volkswagen Group Components in Kassel. Added to this come the lithium- ion modules designed at the Braunschweig components site.

They are transferred by eClassics into a battery system appropriate for the T1. As in the new ID.3 and future ID.BUZZ, the high-voltage battery is housed centrally in the vehicle floor. This layout lowers the e-BULLI’s centre of gravity and thus improves its driving characteristics.

Compared to the T1, riding in the e-BULLI feels completely different. This is further enhanced by the chassis, which has also been redesigned: multi-link front and rear axles with adjustable shock absorbers and coilover struts, plus a new rack-and-pinion steering system and four internally ventilated disc brakes contribute to the new dynamic handling being transferred to the road with serene poise.

In parallel with the new electric drive system, an interior concept has been created for the e-BULLI that is both stylish and avant-garde. The new look and corresponding technical solutions were developed by the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles design centre in cooperation with VWCV Vintage Vehicles and the Communications department.

The designers modernised the exterior of the iconic vehicle with great sensitivity and finesse, including giving it a two-tone paintwork finish in ‘Energetic Orange Metallic’ and ‘Golden Sand Metallic MATTE’. It is details such as the new round LED headlamps with daytime running lights, via which the transformation into the modern era is outwardly communicated. On the outside at the rear there are also LED charge indicators. They signal to a driver walking up to the e-BULLI how much charge the lithium-ion battery still has even before they reach the vehicle.

The cockpit too has been sensitively modernised. The new speedometer is based on the original, while a two-digit display integrated into it creates a link to the modern era. This digital display in the otherwise analogue speedometer provides the driver with a variety of information, including range.

LEDs also indicate whether, for instance, the parking brake is on or the charging connector is plugged in. There is a small but lovely detail in the centre of the speedometer: a stylised Bulli symbol. A multitude of further information is shown via a tablet integrated into the roof console.

Via Volkswagen ‘We Connect’ the e-BULLI driver can also call up information online by smartphone app or via a PC and a corresponding web portal such as on remaining charge time, current range, kilometres travelled, trip times, energy consumption and recuperation.

Music on board comes from an authentic-looking retro-style radio, which, however, is equipped with cutting edge technology such as DAB+, Bluetooth and USB. The radio is linked to a sound system with out-of-sight components, including an active subwoofer.

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Suzuki Celebrates 100th Anniversary

This year, Suzuki are celebrating its 100th anniversary. It was on March 15, 1920 that Suzuki Loom Manufacturing Company was founded by Michio Suzuki.

Since then, Suzuki has expanded its business from looms to motorcycles, automobiles, outboard motors and ATV’s, always adapting to the trend of the times as well as domestic and global markets.

After changing its name to Suzuki Motor Co. Ltd in 1954, Suzuki launched the Suzulight, the first mass-produced mini vehicle in Japan.

The company name was then changed to ‘Suzuki Motor Corporation’ in 1990 in view of its business expansion and globalization. The journey of 100 years was never easy, to overcome a number of crises since the foundation, although every member of Suzuki united as one and continued to make the company thrive.

Suzuki has grown to a company with many fans across the globe and even today, its unchanging spirit of manufacturing has been passed on. Marking the beginning of the next century this year, every member of Suzuki is committed to achieve an even greater business.

Director and Chairman, Osamu Suzuki and Director and President, Toshihiro Suzuki shared their message and commented:

‘All members of Suzuki Motor Corporation take this as an important milestone to reaffirm the founder’s philosophy of ‘focusing on customers’ and strive to deliver products to our customers across the globe. Your kind support is truly the greatest factor that has enabled us to always be close to our customers’ daily lives and achieve our commemorative 100th anniversary. We sincerely appreciate your continuous support.’

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Politeknik Sandakan Sabah Becomes First Institution to Sign Scania Ecolution Agreement

Politeknik Sandakan Sabah (PSS) became the first Educational Institution of Higher Learning in Malaysia to sign the Scania Ecolution Partnership Agreement.

In an official signing ceremony held at the Campus in the Education Hub of Sandakan, the partnership was forged when Mr Tajul Ariffin Mohamed Arif, Director of Politeknik Sandakan Sabah signed on the dotted line with Mr Tom Kuiphuis, the Pre-Sales Director of Scania Southeast Asia.

Being the second of only 2 Polytechnics in Sabah, PSS was established in 2008 but fully facilitated in 2012 with its own campus. It now offers a Diploma in Agro-technology and Diploma in Aquaculture to SPM qualified students from all over Malaysia with 85 percent of them from Sabah.

“We chose to offer these 2 Diplomas due to its close association with nature, especially with PSS Strategic Plan 2019 – 2023 of transforming its building complex into a Green Campus by 2023.”

“We believe being part of the Scania Ecolution programme will help us towards our Green objective; to reduce the impact onto the environment by emitting less carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) into the atmosphere via our Scania K360IB4x2,” said Mr Tajul.

PSS was very happy to be presented with this opportunity to be part of Scania’s programme that is significantly lessening the impact to the environment.

It is a programme that will not only lower PSS’ coach operation cost but will also reduce its carbon footprint by lessening the emission of carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) through the reduction of fuel consumption.

To be able to utilise the full potential of the Scania coach, the drivers have to have the right attitude when handling this technologically-advanced machine.

PSS will be enlisting the drivers into the Scania Driver Training and Coaching services that will help change their mindset into believing that every individual driver matters and is part of a very big picture in the preservation of mother earth.

The Scania coach truly helps with the smooth running of all the PSS’ programmes be they in Sandakan or throughout Sabah, right up to Brunei due to the excellent uptime that it gives.

Now with the Scania Maintenance contract and Scania Fleet Mangement System Control 10 subscription and the Scania Ecolution agreement that PSS has signed for, its coach operation is virtually hassle-free.

Purchasing the Scania K360IB4x2 coach was a worthwhile investment that PSS has made and ensured the smooth transportation of PSS’ student state-
side.

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Volvo Trucks Launches Four New Models

Volvo Trucks is introducing four new trucks, with a strong focus on the driver environment, safety and productivity.

“We are really proud of this big forward-looking investment. Our aim is to be our customers’ best business partner by making them even more competitive and help them attract the best drivers in an increasingly tough market,” says Roger Alm, President Volvo Trucks.

The four heavy-duty trucks; Volvo FH, FH16, FM and FMX, represent about two thirds of Volvo Trucks’ deliveries.

The new Volvo FM and Volvo FMX have a brand new cab, as well as many of the same instrument display functions as their larger Volvo counterparts.

Their interior volume has been increased by up to one cubic meter, providing better comfort and more working room. The visibility is now even better due to larger windows, a lowered door line and new mirrors.

Both the environment and economics are important factors for haulage companies. As there will not be one singular energy source that addresses all climate change issues, and since different transport segments and assignments will require a variety of solutions, several types of drivelines will continue to exist in parallel for the foreseeable future.

In many markets, the Volvo FH and Volvo FM are available with the Euro 6 compliant gas-powered LNG engine that offers fuel efficiency and performance on par with that of Volvo’s equivalent diesel trucks, but with a far lower climate impact.

The gas engine can run on either biogas, which cuts CO2 by up to 100 percent, or natural gas which reduces CO2 emissions by up to 20 percent when compared with Volvo’s equivalent diesel trucks. This relates to emissions from the vehicle during usage, known as tank to wheel.

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ISUZU COMPACTOR TRUCKS, THE PREFERRED CHOICE FOR WASTE MANAGEMENT NEEDS

Isuzu Malaysia Sdn Bhd recently held a handover ceremony in early February to commemorate the procurement of Isuzu FORWARD FVR compactor trucks by Environment Idaman Sdn Bhd, and their sub-contractor, Warisan Integriti Sdn Bhd.

The trucks were procured from Indah Utara Auto Sdn Bhd, an authorised dealer of Isuzu Malaysia.

Environment Idaman Sdn Bhd offers a wide range of sustainable and innovative waste solutions and cleaning services in the Northern region of Peninsular Malaysia.

The newly procured units are expected to replace Environment Idaman’s aging fleet, whereas for their sub-contractor Warisan Integriti, the procurement is part of their long-term fleet expansion exercise.

The FORWARD FVR compactor trucks are slated to be used for solid waste management, collection and disposal for local municipalities in Perlis and Kedah.

Environment Idaman Sdn Bhd procured a total of 6 units of Isuzu FORWARD (FVR 240MT) trucks for this year, whereas 4 units of Isuzu FORWARD (FVR 240AT) trucks were procured by Warisan Integriti Sdn Bhd.

During the handover ceremony, Atsunori Murata, Chief Operating Officer of Isuzu Malaysia, took the time to personally thank representatives from Environment Idaman Sdn Bhd and Warisan Integriti Sdn Bhd for preferring Isuzu FORWARD FVR compactor trucks.

Murata is confident that Isuzu’s reliability and durability will serve both companies well in their pursuit of providing timely services for day-to-day operations.

Later, to commemorate the special occasion, Murata presented an appreciation memento in the form of an Isuzu Miniature Truck and appreciation gift to Environment Idaman’s Head of Operation Division, Munir Amani bin Dasheer; and also to Warisan Integriti’s Director, Dato’
Haji Md Rosli bin Haji Abd Wahab.

In attendance were representatives from Environment Idaman Sdn Bhd’s Fleet Engineering & Management Department, Azman bin Shamsuddin, Manager; and Termizi bin Hat, Technical Executive; aside from Zakaria bin Hamid, Operation Manager of Warisan Integriti Sdn Bhd. Poh Seng Hooi, Managing Director; and Rodney Lee, General Manager of Indah Utara Auto Sdn Bhd, were also present to witness the handover ceremony.

Isuzu Malaysia will be providing a training session to allow drivers of both companies to properly familiarise themselves with the FORWARD FVR trucks.

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New Honda BR-V Now Open For Booking

Honda Malaysia (or the Company) announced today, that the New BR-V, the Full 7-Seater Crossover with fresher appearance and upgrades is now open for booking at all 100 Honda dealerships nationwide. The much-anticipated New BR-V is set to be launched in Malaysia in Q1 2020.

The Bold Runabout Vehicle (BR-V) was first introduced to Malaysia in 2017. Combined with SUV style design and impressive versatility, the BR-V is an all-rounder crossover, which quickly became one of the most sought-after cars in the market; particularly popular among customers with family.

Honda Malaysia Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Mr. Toichi Ishiyama said, “The BR-V was developed exclusively by Honda R&D Asia Pacific Co., Ltd. (HRAP) for the ASEAN market. It is also the first HRAP model in Malaysia. The BR-V is set to cater to the increasing market demand for a 7-seater car that is spacious and versatile at the same time. Since its launch in 2017, over 36,000 units of BR-V were sold in the country as at January 2020. This encouraging result was translated into 45%* market share in 2019, which helped the BR-V maintain its position as the segment leader*.”

“To continue offering high-quality products and meeting customer expectation, Honda Malaysia conducted market study and collected customer feedback that can help us understand our customers better. Armed with significant insight of the market, the New BR-V received exciting enhancements that are able to further captivate the hearts of Malaysians,” Mr. Ishiyama added.

The exterior of the New BR-V is upgraded with a fresher and stylish appearance while maintaining its bold and attractive traits. The front design of New BR-V has an improved Front Bumper coupled with New Front Grille, New Lower Bumper Garnish and New Front Fog Light Garnish.

The New BR-V also comes with a New Rear Lower Bumper Garnish, New Shark Fin Antenna and a New 16-inch Alloy Wheel Design. Adding to the new features, the customers can enjoy ultimate convenience and ease when entering and exiting as well as starting the car with the Keyless Entry and Push Start Button which are now the standard features for all variants.

Performance-wise, the upgraded New BR-V is powered by a 1.5L SOHC i-VTEC engine, generating maximum power output 120PS and maximum torque of 145Nm, which is the highest in its segment. This makes the BR-V deliver an impressive drivability for a 7-Seater Crossover body type.

Honda Malaysia believes the New BR-V is the ideal option for customers with families as it is designed to give more space that can fit the passengers as well as various sizes of goods. The third row seats are adjustable with 50:50 Tilt & Full Tumble that can lie flat and fully tumbled to maximise the boot space. It is the perfect companion for family trips; be it a leisurely family or adventurous drive. The New BR-V will also have a New Leather Seat with added Red Accent which are set to provide a sporty and comfortable experience for both driver and passengers.

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Shell Launches Helix Eco Fully Synthetic Engine Oil For Compact Cars

Economic and environmental considerations are key factors in today’s consumer purchase decisions, especially among millennials. When it comes to cars, small cars which are more affordable and economical to run, are becoming popular in Malaysia.

In conjunction with this, Shell Malaysia Trading Sdn Bhd has launched its new low-viscosity, fully-synthetic engine oil to cater to the growing number of modern compact cars with engine capacities below 1200 cc, on Malaysian roads.

The new Shell Helix ECO 0W 20 engine oil is specifically developed for small cars, where the engines are often subjected to high stress, stop-start driving conditions in the city.  It promises better fuel economy and superior protection for engine parts against wear and friction.  It also features a low evaporation formula that always helps keep the engine well lubricated and protected.

“The new Shell Helix ECO, with its lower viscosity, can help lower fuel consumption and ensure a smoother ride.  Car owners will now be able to enjoy savings from lower maintenance costs as it is a premium fully synthetic engine oil that is able to cleanse your engine as well as provide optimal engine protection until your next oil change,” shared May Tan, General Manager, Shell Lubricants Marketing.

Available in a convenient 3.5-litre pack that is ideal for one oil change, the new Shell Helix ECO 0W 20 has recommended retail prices of RM143.50 in Peninsular Malaysia and RM144.20 in Sabah and Sarawak.  It is available at authorised Shell Helix workshops nationwide.

In conjunction with its launch in Malaysia, every 3.5-litre pack of genuine ‘Untuk Pasaran Malaysia’ Shell Helix ECO 0W 20 comes with a free sunshade. This offer is valid from 1 March 2020 while stocks last.

Customers who purchase genuine ‘Untuk Pasaran Malaysia’ Shell Helix from authorised Shell Helix workshops are entitled to participate in the unique Shell Advantage and Rewards (SHARE) programme (https://share.shell.com/consumer/my).  SHARE members are entitled to one pack of FREE Shell Helix engine oil for every four packs purchased from authorised retail outlets.

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