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  • UMW Toyota recalls Vios, Altis, Yaris, Alphard in M’sia for airbag inflator replacement – grey imports covered


    Following Toyota Motor Corp’s massive global recall to replace Takata airbag inflators involving millions of cars worldwide, including some of its best-selling models, local distributor UMW Toyota Motor (UMWT) has announced a “special service campaign” a.k.a. product recall for Malaysia.

    This is a big one, and it involves the replacement of the inflator module in the airbag system on the front passenger side in various models. They are the Vios, Corolla Altis, Yaris and Alphard manufactured between October 2007 and December 2011. UMWT says that around 80,000 units are involved, and the figure only includes cars distributed by the official channel.


    This latest recall is an expansion of earlier campaigns to fix the same Takata airbag issue that has dogged almost all the major Japanese brands. It is the auto industry’s biggest ever recall.

    The defect is due to propellant degradation occurring after prolonged exposure to high humidity and temperatures. The inflators contain a non-desiccated, phase stabilised ammonium nitrate propellant that may cause the rupture of the module. If it does, metal fragments will pass through the airbag as it inflates and shoot into the cabin, leading to serious injury or death.

    UMWT says that its princpal TMC is currently working on obtaining the necessary parts for the recall. Once the parts are available, UMWT will notify owners, requesting them to bring their cars to an authorised Toyota service centre for a job that will take from one to three hours. All costs will be borne by UMWT.

    The company says that it is aware that some customers who are not the first registered owners of the affected cars may not be contactable, and they should contact Toyota service centres or get in touch by Toyota Freephone at 1800-8-TOYOTA (869682). Toyota is also currently updating its VIN database and owners can check their car’s VIN number at this dedicated page.

    The inclusion of the Alphard raises questions about the fate of the many grey imports running in Malaysia. We reached out to UMWT and a spokesman said that yes, grey imported Alphards/Vellfires manufactured in the same period (October 2007 and December 2011) will be covered, although it’s only normal for the company to take care of its own customers first. Still, that’s good news for owners of the grey big MPVs. The online VIN checker is only for UMWT cars, so you’ll have to call Toyota Freephone.

  • Seat Ibiza ST – B-segment wagon variant discontinued


    The Seat Ibiza ST has been culled. Autocar reports that production of the small estate, based on the Ibiza supermini, has been stopped due to poor sales, and the rise of the small SUV.

    “Last year the B-SW registrations totalled 8,234 units, and September 2016 year-to-date shows a 3.2% increase at 6,705. However, their segment share was almost half that posted in 2009, at 1.72% of the B segment total,” said Felipe Munoz, a global automotive analyst at market research firm Jato. He added that Ibiza ST sales had dropped continuously since its 2011 peak of 2,544. Last year, only 686 were sold, and over that time its share of Seat UK overall sales fell from 13.3% to just 3.4%.

    The demise of Seat’s Ibiza ST leaves the UK small wagon segment, also known in the industry as B-SW, with just the Skoda Fabia Combi and Dacia Logan MCV. Last year, Skoda and Dacia shifted 4,131 and 3,417 units of the Fabia Combi and Logan MCV respectively. Wagon versions of the Renault Clio and Peugeot 207 used to be sold in the UK.


    Munoz explained that the popularity of small SUVs is a main factor in the decline of small estates. Small SUVs have the benefits of an estate but are taller, and appear more capable and attractive to customers. There’s not big difference in price as well – the analyst pointed out that in the UK, the average price of the registered Peugeot 2008 in H1 2016 was 7.8% higher than the average price of the Ibiza ST.

    The SUV killing the wagon is a general trend, and not confined to the B-segment, it is noted. “In general, the SW body type continues to lose ground in the majority of global markets. Only Italy, Germany and Northern Europe show a preference for that body type. SWs have almost disappeared from the US market, while in China and South America they are quite rare to see,” Munoz said.

    A spokeswoman from Seat said that production of the Ibiza ST was stopped in May, and it was due to poor sales. This is in contrast with the Ibiza ST’s bigger sibling. The Spanish brand, when revealing the Leon facelift range last week, revealed that 35% of that C-segment model’s sales come from the Leon ST.

    While wagons have their appeal, supermini-based estates have always looked slightly odd, proportionally, and we doubt that type of car will be missed by many.

  • Riding gloves mandatory in France from 2017 onwards


    Reports from the previous month stated that EC-approved riding gloves will be mandatory for motorcyclists in France from 2017. This is in an effort to stem hand injuries resulting from motorcycling accidents, where abrasion and impact damage saw riders sustaining what were deemed to be preventable injuries.

    “Yes, it will be mandatory from 2017 that all riders in France will have to wear not just the EC-approved helmet, but also the gloves while riding,” said Jean-Marc Autheman, export and racing manager for French riding gear manufacturer Furygan.

    Currently all riders sitting for a motorcycle licence test in France are required to wear a helmet, jacket, gloves and shoes – all with EC-standard markings. Autheman said that a concerted effort is being made to have moped and scooter riders – predominantly comprising of younger riders – treat wearing proper gloves while riding as second nature.

    It is hoped that this will translate into young riders wearing proper gear as they grow up and migrate to bigger and faster machines. “When I ride my motorcycle, I feel very strange if I am not wearing proper riding gear, especially my gloves,” said Autheman.

    “I feel like there is something missing,” he said. “Furygan makes EC-approved gloves from the top-level for racing use, to riders who want a value-for-money glove for street riding,” continued Autheman, “with a range of styles and colours.”

    According to Autheman, what is important is that riders realise riding without gloves may cause injuries that can be life-changing, in the event of a fall. “A small injury to your hands, if you fall, can mean that you cannot work for maybe one or two weeks. This can be a loss of income which could be prevented if proper gloves are worn,” Autheman said.

  • SPYSHOTS: Next Jaguar XF Sportbrake seen testing


    Launched first in sedan form, the Jaguar XF has been spotted testing in second-generation estate guise. It’s the first sighting of the upcoming new wagon, and here we can see that the front is pretty much identical to the sedan’s, albeit currently with cladding to disguise the test mule.

    As is typical for Jaguar wagons, the next-gen Sportbrake has a fast rear windscreen rake, sacrificing some cargo room in return for a more dynamic look. The load sill also appears to be very low, likely in an effort to make loading cargo into the boot an easier affair.

    In terms of powertrain options, the XF Sportbrake can be expected to feature Jaguar Land Rover’s new Ingenium 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol and diesel engines, a 3.0 litre twin-turbo V6 diesel and the F-Type’s 3.0 litre supercharged petrol V6 – each mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission driving the rear wheels.


    At the top of the range, the next XFR Sportbrake can be expected to used a developement of the 5.0 litre, supercharged petrol V8 engine which powers the likes of the F-Type SVR and the XJR.

    With the new Mercedes-AMG E 63 now sporting an all-wheel drive layout – and the upcoming F90 BMW M5 set to follow suit – it should not be too tricky for Jaguar to have an all-paw XFR, considering that such a powertrain has already been deployed in the F-Type range.

    GALLERY: Jaguar XF in Malaysia

  • 2017 Skoda Octavia facelift – new looks and tech


    Skoda has given the third-gen Octavia, which it describes as the ‘heart of the brand’ a facelift. The Czech brand’s best-selling model (five million sold in 20 years) has been updated with new front and rear end designs; new driver assistance tech, infotainment and connectivity; as well as new equipment.

    Available as a sedan and Combi wagon, the 2017 Skoda Octavia will be available from end-2016, with deliveries starting early next year.

    As far as updates go, this is quite a big facelift, headlined by the new split headlamp arrangement. The cluster is now divided into two, with one half stuck to the grille, and the other half floating independently. Skoda calls it the ‘dual face with a crystalline look.’ The headlamps can be had as LEDs, and are underlined by LED DRLs. The VW brand says that the logo has gained even more presence, while the fascia is more powerful, wider, and has more character. Definitely, but do you like the new look?


    No change to the body and chassis, which means that the Octavia remains as one of the largest cars in its European class. Both sedan and estate offer 1,782 mm of interior space and 73 mm of rear legroom. Their boots can hold up to 590 and 610 litres, respectively, expandable to 1,580 and 1,740 litres. The Octavia Combi can be ordered with an electric tailgate.

    This refresh comes with new infotainment systems. All four – Swing, Bolero and the navi-equipped Amundsen and Columbus – now have capacitive displays in glass design that respond to light touches. The top Columbus now has a large 9.2-inch display, a WLAN hotspot and a SIM card module with LTE connection. As for connectivity. Skoda Connect is divided into Infotainment Online and CareConnect, the latter available in all but one trim level.

    The revised Octavia is packed with assistance systems. If it’s used to tow, the trailer assistant will take over the steering when the vehicle is slowly reversing. Predictive pedestrian protection complements Front Assist, and the parking assistant has been further optimised. There’s also Blind Spot Detection, Rear Traffic Alert and a reverse camera.


    New features include a customisable key (allows multiple users to save their own vehicle settings), a heated steering wheel, folding tables on the back of the front seats, bottle holders which facilitate the opening of PET bottles, and a removable torch in the boot of the wagon.

    Five VW Group TSI and four TDI engines are available, ranging from 1.0 to 2.0 litres in size, with 84 hp to 184 hp. For almost all motors, a DSG automatic with six or seven gears is available in addition to the good old stick shift. AWD is an option for the 1.8 TSI and 2.0 TDI versions. VAG’s Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) – which enables the driver to regulate steering and damping characteristics in Comfort, Normal and Sport modes – is optional.

    GALLERY: Pre-facelift Skoda Octavia RS

  • 2017 Hyundai Grandeur – first photos of sixth-gen out

    Hyundai Grandeur 1

    After revealing a few teaser sketches of the new 2017 Hyundai Grandeur earlier this week, the company has finally released the first photos of the real thing. The sixth-generation full-size sedan – badged as the Azera in certain markets – will go on sale in its home market of South Korea next month.

    There’s definitely a more upmarket look to the Grandeur now, with elongated proportions and taut lines. At the front, the trapezoidal full-LED headlights appear to have been nicked from the new G30 BMW 5 Series, flanking the new corporate cascading grille first seen on the i30.

    Along the sides, a sweeping shoulder line stretches from the headlights to the rear doors, before being picked up over the rear wheel arches. The slim two-piece tail lights are connected via a horizontal bar.

    Hyundai Grandeur 2

    Inside, the dashboard has a horizontal, layered design with controls and information on each layer. The upper layer, which carries the touchscreen and an analogue clock, looks rather like the one on the Toyota Sienta. Hyundai claims that new paint technologies and enriched materials creates its Modern Premium feel.

    No mention of powertrain choices as yet for the front-wheel drive offering, but those available for the new Grandeur shouldn’t depart from that seen on the current car, which sits between the Sonata and Genesis within Hyundai’s model range.


    Presently, the vehicle is available with two Theta 2.4 litre four-pots (MPI and GDi) and two Lambda V6 units, a 3.0 litre and a range-topping 3.3 litre, as well as a hybrid variant featuring the 2.4 litre MPI and a 35 kW electric motor combination.

    As standard, the existing car features a six-speed automatic transmission, but it’s expected that the new eight-speed ‘box seen on the new second-gen Kia Cadenza will also be offered on this one.

  • AD: Subaru Forester 2.0i-Premium for just RM129,900 – unregistered 2016 Russ Swift show units available


    Motor Image Malaysia is now offering limited display units of the Subaru Forester 2.0i-Premium from the Russ Swift stunt shows, for only RM129,900 in Peninsular Malaysia, and RM132,958 in Sabah and Sarawak. Both are on-the-road prices, without insurance.

    That’s a significant saving over the Subaru Forester 2.0i-Premium’s list price of RM161,908. The offer is for unregistered units manufactured in 2016, used as show and display models at recent Russ Swift stunt shows. All models come with a five-year, 100,000 km warranty. Offer valid while stocks last.

    As a recap, the Forester 2.0i-Premium gets Subaru’s signature 2.0 litre boxer engine and Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (S-AWD), with 150 PS at 6,200 rpm and 198 Nm at 4,200 rpm. There’s also an X-MODE which ensures optimised control of the vehicle through all terrains.

    Other standard features include class-leading seven airbags (dual front, sides and curtains and driver’s side knee), Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC), Hill Descent Control (HDC), Steering Responsive Headlights and a Power Rear Gate. To see more of the Forester, you can check out our walk-around video of the SUV, here.

    Interested? Click here to find out more, or visit your nearest Subaru Showroom.

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  • Volkswagen Golf lineup to shrink to cut costs – report

    Der neue Volkswagen Golf Alltrack

    When the revised Volkswagen Golf makes its debut in November, the famed nameplate will be offered in fewer variants. The Mk7 Golf is currently offered in hatchback, estate, convertible, Alltrack and SV bodystyles; however this lineup is set to be streamlined to reduce cost and complexity, according to Autocar.

    The move was hinted at through a recent decision to stop selling the convertible in the United Kingdom, one of the markets where open-topped cars have been more popular. Instead, the company will put greater emphasis on crossovers.

    “We need to simplify the product offering of the next Golf and have fewer variants, because we have got to get more cost-effectiveness into our company. We need to be more agile and more innovative, and this is one example,” said chairman Herbert Diess.

    Volkswagen Golf Mk7 Cabriolet

    Rendering of a potential Mk7 Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet

    Diess is said to believe that the MQB architecture which underpins the Golf range has been over-engineered for the price points the products are positioned at, and is said to have pushed engineers to reduce related expenses. Alongside costs reductions, Diess is also pushing for greater margins due to concerns that the company’s £1.5 billion (RM7.66 billion) investment in the new MEB platform – on which the I.D. concept sits – will further strain the company’s profitability.

    There’s another challenge for Diess, in the form of the workforce behind the Golf. “One of the biggest hurdles we still have to take is a new deal with the unions. I am looking for higher productivity and to restructure the value chain to focus on new technology. We are talking, and I hope we can have an agreed plan to have a fix in place by 2020,” he said.

  • VIDEO: 2017 Honda CR-V’s features get showcased

    Honda unveiled the 2017 CR-V earlier this month, which has been completely redesigned and re-engineered as it enters its fifth generation. Recently, Honda USA released two videos that highlight just some of the features that are available on the popular nameplate.

    In one of the videos, we are introduced to some of the design cues that are on the SUV, starting with those sleek, full-LED headlamps at the front, part of a bold new iteration of Honda’s Solid Wing Face. We also get to see the model’s restyled rear taillights and hands-free powered liftgate in operation.

    Elsewhere, there’s the 1.5 litre turbocharged engine under the hood – a first for the CR-V. The direct-injected DOHC unit outputs 190 hp at 5,600 rpm and 243 Nm of torque between 2,000 to 5,000 rpm, making it more powerful compared to the unit found in the Civic FC.

    As for the interior, the CR-V is now fitted with improved materials to provide a more premium feel that compliments the revamped cabin. We also get to see glimpses of the car’s touchscreen infotainment system (now featuring a volume knob), as well as the instrument cluster.

    The latter features a full-colour LCD screen for the rev counter, speedometer and multi-info display, similar to the Civic FC. The host in the video also emphasises the increased legroom, courtesy of the CR-V now longer wheelbase – 2,660 mm vs 2,620 mm.

    He also highlights one of the practical features found inside the cabin – dual USB charging ports – with an output of 2.5 A each, perfect for charging your tablets or smartphones.

    GALLERY: 2017 Honda CR-V

  • BMW R nineT Scrambler launched in Malaysia – RM92k

    BMW R nineT Scrambler

    BMW R nineT Scrambler

    Malaysian retro bike enthusiasts can rejoice, as BMW Motorrad Malaysia has announced that the BMW R nineT Scrambler is coming to our shores. Due to be launched this weekend at the Malaysian MotoGP at Sepang, the R nineT Scrambler is the latest addition to Motorrad’s “Heritage” series of retro-styled machines.

    Carrying the possibly the last iteration of the legendary air-cooled BMW boxer-twin, the Scrambler carries a 1,170 cc engine that produces 110 hp at 7,750 rpm and a maximum torque of 116 Nm at 6,000 rpm. The The engine is now Euro 4-compliant, with a new engine map that allows the big twin to pass emissions testing.

    The 17-litre brushed aluminium fuel tank takes pride of place, with the intake runner on the right side prominently embossed with the R nineT logo. The rear sub-frame can be dismounted, allowing for a solo setup, or with a pillion, as preferred.

    Twin raised exhausts exit on the left side in scrambler style, tucked in close to the body. Emissions is brought under control by a large catalytic convertor and the dual exhaust barrels are ECE R41-04 compliant.

    To complete the retro scrambler look, the suspension has been raised slightly over the base R nineT – 125 mm versus 120 mm and 140 mm versus 120 mm, front and rear respectively. The rear suspension is stepless-adjustable for pre-load using a wrench, compared to the hydraulic adjustment on the road R nineT.

    A 19-inch cast-alloy wheel shod with 120/70 R19 rubber is mounted on the front, while the rear 17-inch wheel is carries a 170/60 R17 tyre. Braking is done by twin 320 mm discs in front and a single 265 mm disc at the back with radial mounted brake calipers on the forks, with ABS as standard.

    BMW R nineT Scrambler

    In keeping with the old-school vibe of the R nineT Scrambler, there are no riding aids or traction control, while the instrument cluster is a single analogue speedometer with an LCD display showing the odometer and other pertinent riding information. Coming with a more relaxed riding position, taller handlebars are fitted with less padding in the seat, and foot pegs set lower to the rear.

    The R nineT Scrambler comes only in Monolithic metallic matte, with the rest of the bike painted in basic black, with a full range of accessories and customisation options available from the Motorrad official catalogue. It retails for RM92,900 on-the-road without insurance, nearly RM7,000 cheaper than the standard R nineT’s RM99,888 price tag.


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