Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Toyota iQ is Japan's Car Of The Year

After bagging the grand prize at the Good Design Award domestically, the little tyke that is the Toyota iQ has won the 2008 Japan Car of the Year award, and by a landslide. The innovative iQ scored more than double the points of the second placed vehicle, receiving top marks from 39 of the 65 jurors who voted for the 41 vehicles on the list.

The judges praised the iQ for its space efficiency and design, particularly the car's capacity for seating four people within a body less than three metres long, as well as its combination of high levels of safety and low CO2 emissions.

This incredible result, however, will not be repeated in the 2008 European Car of the Year. The reason is that sales of the car in Europe won't begin until Jan 2009, past the cut-off for the European COTY for the year.

Both Japanese and European COTY competitions are run in similar ways with a wide selection of new cars appraised and voted on by motoring journalists. In Japan, each of the 65 jurors have 25 points, of which 10 have to be given to one car, and the remaining 15 points allocated to four other cars.

Results of Japan Car of the Year 2008
1. Toyota iQ - 526 points
2. Citroën C5 - 223 points
3. Nissan GT-R - 201 points
4. Audi A4/A4 Avant - 180 points
5. Jaguar XF - 115 points
6. Daihatsu Tanto - 100 points
7. Fiat 500 - 90 points
8. Honda Freed - 62 points
9. Mazda Atenza - 60 points
10. Suzuki Wagon R/Wagon R Stingray - 37 points
11. Subaru Exiga - 31 points

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Modified New Honda City 2009!! Cun Gile!!

Enjoy the pictures.. (it is displayed at the 2008 Sydney Motor Show)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Sexy in the City

By Christopher Tan

A picture may be worth a thousand words but in the case of the Honda City, what you see is not what you get.

The third-generation City is a looker all right. Sleek, sporty, elegant and well-proportioned, it stands tall among other made-in-Asia, made-for- Asia models.

Indeed, it is not often you find such modern lines, such poise in a budget car. Then again, the new City is not exactly a budget car. Its starting price of $66,300 is some $11,000 above its predecessor's tag. It is even pricier than the bigger, roomier and better-finished Toyota Corolla Altis.

Sure, it looks better than the sedate Corolla but is the sexy styling worth the sizeable $4,000 premium?

The answer would have been clearly a "yes" if Honda had paid as much attention to other aspects of the car as its outward appearance.

The City's cabin is a tad crusty, even for an Asian car. Clearly, efforts have been made to give it some sophistication, like an integrated centre console with iPod connectivity and paddle shifters (LX version only) on a sporty steering wheel.

But overall, the cabin comes across as overly plasticky, ill-fitted and austere.

On the go, the car is unremarkable for a Honda. It tracks well enough and the ride is adequately cushioned but it betrays an unexpected level of body roll.

Its tyres, although quiet, can do with more grip. The cabin is generally well insulated against external noises but the sound of the high-revving engine mars the ambience somewhat. Its 120bhp iVTEC power plant may be the most powerful in its class but it achieves its grunt at lofty revs. Alas, it does not sound anywhere as good as the car's sheet metal looks.

Fortunately, you do not need to summon all its horses often. The car's five- speed autobox offers highway cruising at leisurely engine speeds.

A comparable Corolla has a four-speed transmission. And the Toyota does not come with the City's nifty paddle shift options either.

Found in the LX version, they let the enthusiastic driver take over the reins instantly. And shifting down with your fingers does bring about meaningful engine braking, unlike some "Tiptronic-style" shifters in other cars.

One of the most attractive propositions of the City is its thriftiness. It achieves 12.5km per litre, even when driven with a heavy foot.

Other attributes are what you might take for granted but are nevertheless worthy improvements. They include excellent side and rear visibility, thanks partly to a clever wing mirror design, a sizeable 506-litre boot and reclinable rear seats.

While the cabin is not the last word in build quality, it does have brilliant spots. The instrument cluster, for one, not only looks good but also offers lots of useful information. The new City is built on a stretched Honda Jazz platform (new model). At 2,550mm, its wheelbase is 100mm longer than the previous City's. It is 50mm shorter than the Corolla's wheelbase. In fact, it is on the whole not as long or wide as the Toyota. It is however a mite taller.

It is probably not right to compare the City with the Corolla. But since Honda has priced its entry-level sedan above Toyota's best-selling model, it is asking for the comparison.

Honda agent Kah Motor explains that the City is priced the way it is because of its relatively high open-market value (roughly its cost price) of $19,700. The Corolla has an OMV of around $16,700.

The higher a car's OMV, the more you will get back in rebates once you scrap it. But of course, you will incur higher financing charges on your car loan in the first place.

The City's rightful rival is really Toyota's own made-for-Asia Vios. It has exactly the same wheelbase as the Vios, although the car is longer, wider and taller.

It completely outclasses the Vios in the drivetrain department but the advantage is not apparent on the road. The more compact (and lighter) Toyota comes across as a tad more nimble and zesty, even if it will not win accolades for handling either. It is also very frugal on fuel.

The Vios is $9,000 cheaper. Its equipment list may not be as impressive but its build quality certainly will match, if not exceed, the Honda's.

The bottom line?

The Honda City is a beauty with features you will normally find in a bigger car. It is however pricey. The price premium would have been easier to stomach if the Thai-made car's overall quality had been better. One interesting point to note: The previous City was exported back to Japan but Honda has decided not to do so with the new model. Apparently, no one buys sedans in Japan anymore.

Honda City LX
Engine: 1,497cc 16-valve inline-4

Transmission: Five-speed automatic with paddle shift

Power: 120bhp at 6,600rpm

Torque: 145Nm at 4,800rpm

0-100 kmh: 12.2 seconds

Top speed: 185kmh

Fuel consumption: 6.6 litres/100km (city-highway)

Price: $66,300 with COE

Distributor: Kah Motor

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ferrari Certified Specialists in Malaysia

Ferrari owners in Malaysia can now enjoy the highest levels of care and servicing for their vehicles through Naza Italia Sdn Bhd's official Ferrari support and service facilities. The service centre, at Naza Italia's premises at the Naza Automall in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, are fully staffed by a team of Ferrari authorised technicians and consultants.

“Ferraris represent the very best automotive performance, combined with hand-built vehicles that are, in themselves, works of art. Each car, hand-built and numbered, also marks the owner as a ‘maverick’ of sorts – someone who demands the best and is willing to aspire towards it. This service centre offers them the ability to look after their vehicles with a similar level of detail and care,” said Naza Italia Sdn Bhd CEO S.M Faisal S. M. Nasimuddin.

The service centre is a precursor to a brand new 45,000 square foot sales and service centre that will be operational early next year. The centre, one of the largest and most advanced outside of Ferrari's own facilities in Italy, will offer Ferrari owners additional customisation, service and sup-port functions once operational. The current service centre already has a staff of 7 Ferrari service specialists with a combined total of over 10 years of experience with the vehicles.

“We want people to drive their Ferrari’s and live the dream. The fundamentals to accomplish this include keeping the car in prime running condition. This centre is the first step towards ensuring that,” added Encik S.M Faisal.

Naza Italia was appointed as the official distributor for all things Ferrari in Malaysia in March and is also the first company to be appointed by Ferrari SpA for the Malaysian market.

For more information, service bookings or queries on the service centre, contact Naza Italia AfterSales at 03-7956 8599.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

New Mazda3 sedan

Mazda Motor Corporation has announced that its sedan version of the all-new Mazda3 (known as Mazda Axela in Japan), which has been fully redesigned for the first time in five years, will be unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Mazda presented the first official images of the car at the Australian International Motor Show, which is currently running in Sydney.

The world debut will see the North American specification sedan coming in both 2.0l and 2.5l form, and the five-door hatchback version will also be revealed in line with Mazda’s global sales schedule.

Besides the external redesign, the claims are that the new offering will continue to offer an exhilarating drive experience while delivering a more refined and restful ride, as well as improved efficiency and levels of quietness.

Friday, October 10, 2008

New Myvi SE 2008 Launched!!

According to Perodua Websites. It has been launched and ready to booked Enjoy the picture. Specs will be updated soon..

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

New Honda City 2008 set to arrive on December to Malaysia

COME December, Honda Malaysia Sdn Bhd will be rolling out the latest-generation Honda City.

The new model, with a rising beltline, is slightly longer but lower compared with the current model, imparting a “well proportioned” and a shaper “arrowshot” appearance.

It also gets flushed headlights and grille combination, which borrowed some styling cues from the Honda FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle.

Unveiled to the Malaysian media at Honda’s R&D facility in Ayutthaya, Thailand, recently, the City comes with a 120bhp 1.5-litre i-VTEC engine and a five-speed automatic transmission, promising a good balance of power and fuel economy.

The powertrain system is similar to that in the recently launched Honda Jazz.

The City is equipped with electric power steering system and a steering wheel with paddle shifters.

Honda R&D Co chief engineer and Large Project Leader for the new City, Takeshi Nakamura, said while the roofline of the new City was lower, the car was getting a longer wheelbase which made for a roomier interior.

“The nose of the City is designed to be sharper than most sedans in the 1.5-litre segment for a unique powerful appearance,” he said.

The dashboard is a new design with a mix of light and dark colours, with metallic effect on the centre console and interior door trim inserts.

The boot space is also larger than the previous City.

Another feature that is seldom found in small sedans is the rear seat that has a 60:40 split backrest with a two-angle adjustment.

Safety features includes dual front airbags, anti-lock braking system with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist.

Honda claims the pedestrian safety feature of the City has also been enhanced.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A1 GP: Malaysia wins Sprint race and Second Place on Feature Race

Fauzy took up his pole position on the grid for the Feature race this afternoon, but with the rain relentlessly pouring down at the Zandvoort circuit there was no alternative but for the organisers to declare a safety car start for this race. After two laps the field of 17 nations taking part this weekend were released to race for national glory.

Fauzy led the grid away at the green flag and retained his lead in the opening laps pitting early in the first pitstop window, while second placed team, France, continued on. An errant wheel nut delayed the team by a few seconds but Fauzy was soon back out.

The French team made a late stop and in the process took the lead of the race with Malaysia four seconds behind at the end of the first round of pitstops. As the laps counted down Fauzy remained in second place, and the second round of pitstops saw a clean stop from the Malaysian crew placing Fauzy back out on track in the runner up spot. A dramatic accident for the Lebanon and China cars brought out a safety car close to the end of the race, with the race finally finishing under the safety car. A1 Team Malaysia claimed second place, and after winning the Sprint race now lead the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport standings.

Fauzy said of his two podium results, "It's been a dream start to the season for A1 Team Malaysia. We were certainly hoping to have a good performance here, and two podiums is just great. The weather conditions were treacherous today, which made it difficult for all of us, but that makes it all the more rewarding. There is something extra special when you are driving for your nation, so I'm very proud of our achievements today. Its been a real team effort and Im delighted that we are leaving Zandvoort leading the championship."

A1 Team Malaysia Chief Executive, Jack Cunningham, added, "Fairuz performed extremely well. These are probably the worst conditions we've seen and he showed real professionalism, real ability to think under pressure, recognition of how to get the best out of the car, defeat the weather; a really excellent performance. On top of that I think all the teams should be congratulated on the fantastic event they have put on today, defying all the odds that have faced us in the build up to the start of the season."

The A1GP World Cup of Motorsport continues its ten event global tour next month with the second round taking place at Chengdu, China from 7 - 9 November 2008.

RESULTS: Sprint race
Pos A1 Team Driver Laps Time Gap
1 Malaysia Fairuz Fauzy 10 19'44.533
2 New Zealand Earl Bamber 10 19'48.007 3.474
3 France Loïc Duval 10 19'50.803 6.270
4 Netherlands Jeroen Bleekemolen 10 19'57.966 13.433
5 Switzerland Neel Jani 10 20'01.429 16.896
6 South Africa Adrian Zaugg 10 20'05.458 20.925
7 Italy Fabio Onidi 10 20'06.747 22.214
8 USA Charlie Kimball 10 20'08.683 24.150
9 Portugal Filipe Albuquerque 10 20'13.960 29.427
10 Lebanon Daniel Morad 10 20'23.462 38.929
11 Australia John Martin 10 21'12.004 1'27.471
12 China Ho-Pin Tung 9 18'09.652 1 lap
13 Brazil Felipe Guimarães 9 19'24.409 1 lap
14 Korea Jin Woo Hwang 3 7'27.249 7 laps
15 Indonesia Satrio Hermanto 2 5'27.400 8 laps
16 Ireland Adam Carroll 2 5'58.094 8 laps
17 Monaco Clivio Piccione 1 2'48.422 9 laps

RESULTS: Feature race
Pos A1 Team Driver Laps Time Gap
1 France Loïc Duval 36 1:11'58.723
2 Malaysia Fairuz Fauzy 36 1:12'01.011 2.288
3 New Zealand Earl Bamber 36 1:12'01.432 2.709
4 Australia John Martin 36 1:12'05.052 6.329
5 Netherlands Jeroen Bleekemolen 36 1:12'06.996 8.273
6 Monaco Clivio Piccione 34 1:12'03.356 2 laps
7 Korea Jin Woo Hwang 33 1:12'28.432 3 laps
8 Lebanon Daniel Morad 32 1:03'15.216 4 laps
9 China Ho-Pin Tung 31 1:03'14.803 5 laps
10 USA Charlie Kimball 30 59'04.806 6 laps
11 Portugal Filipe Albuquerque 15 29'34.235 21 laps
12 Indonesia Satrio Hermanto 12 26'14.548 24 laps
13 South Africa Adrian Zaugg 5 11'00.955 31 laps
14 Italy Fabio Onidi 5 11'01.706 31 laps
15 Brazil Felipe Guimarães 5 1:12'03.879 31 laps
16 Ireland Adam Carroll 4 9'17.297 32 laps
17 Switzerland Neel Jani 4 9'52.638 32 laps

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Naza Citra II Rondo

If you visited the Naza-Kia stand at the KL International Motorshow in 2006, you would have seen a concept MPV called the ‘Multi-S’. By then, Kia had already decided the Rondo would be the next generation of the Carens, a model which was adapted by Naza-Kia to be the Naza Citra in 2005. At that time, it was unknown if Kia would let Naza-Kia adapt the next generation of the Carens as a continuation of the Citra line or the Citra (second generation Carens) would remain in production for some time.

Kia Multi-S concept MPV at KLIMS 2006

As it turns out now, both approaches have been taken: Kia has provided Naza-Kia with the rights to adapt the 3rd generation Carens (also known as Rondo in the US market) into a model called the Citra II Rondo and at the same time, the original Citra will still be assembled and sold alongside the new generation (also assembled locally).

The decision to continue selling the original Citra is because it is priced lower than the new Citra II and it has been Naza’s best-selling model, averaging almost 700 units a month in 2007 and about 600 units a month this year. The Citra II is a notch up in image and costs more so Naza-Kia reckons that it can extend its reach a bit further upmarket while maintaining its share of the lower end of the compact MPV market.
Citra I will still be on sale alongside Citra II

"Steady sales of the Citra have proven that Naza-Kia‘s 7-seaters are popular choices for Malaysian customers. To further increase customer choice in this segment, Naza-Kia is adding the new Citra II Rondo, positioned between the Citra and Ria, to be a serious contender in the crossover segment," said SM Nasarudin, CEO of the Naza Group of Companies, at the launch this morning.

It was very refreshing to note that the Naza CEO had no issues about the association with the Kia product, even acknowledging it in his speech – a great contrast to the mentality of a certain very senior person in the company in 2005 who demanded that an article (written by me) on the Citra be amended to exclude any suggestion that the Citra was related to the Carens, asserting that it is ‘a unique Naza design, nothing to do with Kia’. She even demanded that a picture of the Kia Carens, included in the article, be removed! Thankfully, that very senior person is no longer working in the company (obviously, it was not the late Tan Sri Nasimuddin SM Amin being referred to).

As mentioned earlier, the new Citra II is adapted from the latest Kia Carens/Rondo and is a full model change. It rides on Kia’s MG platform which is also used for the latest Optima sedan and also has the 2-litre petrol engine with CVVT (continuously variable valve timing) which puts out 145 ps at 6000 rpm and 189 Nm of torque at 4250 rpm. The engine is the GEMA engine which was jointly developed by Hyundai, Kia, Mitsubishi Motors and Chrysler. Claimed performance with the standard 4-speed electronic automatic Shiftronic transmission (manual sequential shift also possible) is 11 seconds for 0 – 100 km/h and a top speed of 190 km/h.
Power and torque curves of the 2-litre GEMA engine

Sharing the platform with the Optima means it has a front suspension consisting of MacPherson struts hinged off a subframe and 2700 mm away (wheelbase), a rear suspension with a multi-link layout. Surprisingly, the wheelbase is 20 mm shorter than that for the Optima and in fact, the Citra II has a smaller ‘footprint’ than the Optima. However, its roofline is much higher, which tends to give it a somewhat bulbous profile but the explanation is that generous interior headroom was an important consideration.

Disc brakes are fitted to all four wheels and ABS +EBD is standard. There are two wheel sizes – 6Jx15 for the EX version and 6.5Jx16 for the EXS version. Locally-made Goodyear NCT5 tyres are standard rubber.

A lot of effort has gone into bringing down noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) in the Citra II and sources of NVH in both the bodyshell and the powertrain were directly addressed. One example: the use of a dynamic damper, continuously-variable valve and resonance chamber along the exhaust system cuts down NVH significantly. The use of a morse-type timing chain also reduces noise while providing a more durable timing chain.

Multilink rear suspension

Keen to make a strong impression in Europe, Kia has given a lot of attention to safety, which European customers are very concerned about. The Citra II gets all the structural features which make the bodyshell strong and both front occupants have the additional protection of airbags. All seven persons in the cabin get seatbelts and head restraints. Also rare in this class is the impact-sensing door unlock system which makes it easier for rescuers to get injured occupants out after an accident.

The shift lever is on a panel which extends from the base of the centre console and might be a bit of a stretch for some people. To maximise utility space, the parking brake is operated by a foot pedal next to the brake pedal, instead of the usual lever between the seats.

The climate control system is automatic in the more expensive EXS version and manually controlled in the EX version but both versions have additional vents behind the centre console box between the seats to bring cool air to the rear occupants. There are no vents for the third row but it is rare to find such a provision in this class of MPV too.

Vents behind console box send cool air further back

The three rows of seats can be adjusted in various ways to create different configurations according to needs. The two rear seats (which still seem a bit low like in the Citra I) can be easily folded flat and if more floor space is needed, the second row can also be folded flat. With seven people on board, though, luggage space is rather limited.

When all seats are used, baggage capacity is rather limited

Other notable features that come with the Citra II are the remote tailgate unlock function, a tripcomputer, LED indicators on the door mirrors, nice deep cupholders, a teh tarik hook and illuminated vanity mirrors. The more expensive EXS version gets you the automatic climate control, a roof rack and audio controls on the steering wheel.

At RM84,888 (RM4,000 more for the EXS version), the Citra II Rondo is certainly going to challenge the Nissan Grand Livina but Naza-Kia is not looking at beating the Nissan since their target for the Citra II is around 200 units a month (the Grand Livina does about a thousand units a month). It would probably also appeal to Toyota Avanza owners who want to move up but who do not want to get a much bigger MPV like the Innova. With its passenger car platform and dynamics, it should also be an easy transition for those who are moving from a sedan to a MPV.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Nasim introduces Peugeot 308 GT

Nasim has introduced the Peugeot 308 GT into the market. The three-door performance hatch is the second Pug to be launched by the company here following the facelifted 407 sedan's arrival in July.

The GT is powered by a Prince 1.6l 16-valve turbo high pressure (THP) block, the same as found on the MINI Cooper S, which produces 175bhp at 6,000rpm and 240Nm of torque available from 1,600rpm on. Transmission type is a six-speed manual gearbox, and performance figures are a 225kmh top speed and 0-100kmh time of 8.3secs.

Equipment spec levels on the NCAP 5-star rated vehicle include 18-inch alloys, automatic Xenon headlights, leather seats, six airbags and a large panoramic moonroof.

There's no doubt that the 308 GT THP 175, which is priced at RM159,999 (on the road) is targeted at the enthusiast, and makes for a very interesting addition to the performance category. The car is now available for viewing in all Nasim showrooms and authorised Nasim dealers. For further information, please contact the Peugeot Careline at 1-800-88 6292.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

2009 Honda City officially launched in Thailand!

Honda Automobile (Thailand) Co., Ltd. (HATC), Honda's automobile production and sales subsidiary in Thailand, today began sales of the all-new CITY.

The design of the new CITY is based on the total pursuit of a compact, yet dynamic form with road presence. In addition, class-leading*1 interior space was achieved to create a cabin that surrounds the occupants with an open and secure feeling. The new CITY is equipped with a 1.5-liter i-VTEC engine, which is further advanced in every way, including greater output and fuel consumption. Furthermore, with Honda's unique commitment to provide both advanced safety and environmental performance, the new CITY achieves the highest levels in every area in the effort to become the new bench mark for subcompact sedans.

The first generation Honda CITY was introduced in 1996, quickly responding to the growing needs for automobiles in Asian markets associated with economic growth in the region. Today, CITY is produced in seven countries*2 and enjoyed by customers in 39 nations around the world. CITY also is becoming one of Honda's core models, along with Civic, Accord, CR-V and Jazz (Fit), with cumulative sales passing the 1 million unit mark in late May 2008.

The sales of this third-generation CITY will begin in Thailand from today and expand successively to other existing markets. Honda also envisions further expansion of CITY sales, in order to meet growing customer needs, especially in emerging markets.

Regarding production of the new CITY, HATC will support the startup of production in developing countries including ASEAN markets, India and China. Honda's automobile production capabilities in Thailand have grown continuously for more than 20 years, which is helping accelerate the advancement of automobile production in the region as a whole by providing technical support for other production operations in neighboring countries. Honda has been strongly promoting local autonomy by transferring more production and procurement functions from Japan to Thailand with the goal of strengthening Honda's production strategy and to increase local parts sourcing. In addition, increased coordination with local R&D and production engineering functions (production equipment and tooling) is supporting the advancement of Honda production operations in Thailand as the leader plant in the region. As a result, the local content of the new CITY has now reached 93% from 83% of current model.

The second HATC plant will begin operation in late October of this year, expanding the total annual production capacity to 240,000 units. HATC will also expand auto exports and technical support to other operations to enhance its role as the leader plant, and strengthen it's competitiveness in the world.

*1 1.5-liter subcompact sedan category

*2 Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, China, Turkey

About the New CITY
Engine Drive Transmission Size(mm) Price(baht)
1.5L i-VTEC FF 5AT, 5MT 4,395 x 1,695 x 1,470 524,000 - 694,000
*1 baht=approx. 3 yen
About Honda Automobile (Thailand) Co., Ltd.
Establishment: December 2000
Capital Investment: 5.46 billion baht
Capitalization Ratio: 75.94% Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
13.05% Asian Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
11.01% Others
Representative: President: Kenji Otaka
Employment: Approximately 6,500 associates
Business Areas: Production and sales of automobiles

About Honda Motor Co., Ltd.

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (TSE:7267/NYSE:HMC/LSE:HNDA.L) is one of the leading manufacturers of automobiles and power products and the largest manufacture of motorcycles in the world. Honda has always sought to provide genuine satisfaction to people worldwide. The result is more than 120 manufacturing facilities in 30 countries worldwide, producing a wide range of products, including motorcycles, ATVs, generators, marine engines, lawn and garden equipment and automobiles that bring the company into contact with over 19 million customers annually. For more information, please visit .