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  • Proton sold 11,873 cars in February 2021 – Saga still top seller, market share now 27.1%, highest in 7 years

    Proton has announced its sales performance for February 2021. The national carmaker delivered 11,873 units (domestic and export) last month, which was 5,909 units (or 99%) more than that managed in January, when it sold 5,964 units.

    Compared to the same month last year, volume has grown by 19.9%, though the overall total for the first two months of the year is 643 units, or 3.5%, behind last year’s cumulative total. The company added that the month was its best February in over a decade, and estimated its market share to be at 27.1%, the highest for the company since September 2013.

    The Saga, which became the first Proton model to go on sale in Kenya on February 25, continued to lead sales for the brand, with 4,217 units delivered last month. Deliveries of the X50 amounted to 3,345 units, while 1,475 units of the X70 were registered last month.

    Elsewhere, the automaker claimed that the Persona regained leadership in the B-segment sedan category, with 1,818 units delivered, while Exora sales for the month totalled 361 units and 650 units of the Iriz were delivered in February.

    “February continued to be a difficult month for Malaysia’s automotive industry, but it turned out very well for Proton. Thanks to the efforts of the government to ensure a continuation of economic activity during the MCO, we were able to produce more cars and in so doing started to clear our backlog of orders. This is important as we need to consistently deliver on the bookings made to avoid a rush before the Penjana incentives expire at the end of June this year,” said Proton Edar CEO Roslan Abdullah.

    “The automotive sector continues to be vibrant with exciting new model launches sure to spark consumer interest andcreate healthy competition amongst Proton and other brands, but we will continue to be cautious even as we push forward to avoid infection rates flaring up again and disrupting operations,” he added.

  • Touch ‘n Go PayDirect now in Gurney Paragon Mall Penang; receive up to 20% cashback until April 30

    Touch ‘n Go has announced that motorists can now enjoy the convenience of its PayDirect facility at the Gurney Paragon Mall in Penang, the retail centre becoming the first location on the island to introduce the cashless payment method.

    To use, customers will need to add their Touch ‘n Go card to their Touch ‘n Go eWallet mobile app, and tap their cards at entry and exit points as usual. The parking charges will be deducted directly from the eWallet, and only in the event of insufficient funds in the eWallet will funds be deducted from the card itself.

    Users will also get up to 20% cashback (up to a limit of RM1.00) when they pay for parking at Gurney Paragon Mall with PayDirect from March 1 until April 30, 2021, said Touch ‘n Go. This is limited to one instance of cashback per user throughout the promotional period, and is limited to the first 10,000 redemptions.

    Members of the public are constantly on the lookout for safe, convenient and innovative payment options, and Touch n Go PayDirect is one such example, said Chong Fhui, chief commercial officer at Touch ‘n Go. “We are also very happy that Gurney Paragon Mall is one of the pioneer sites in supporting Touch ‘n Go’s initiative in removing the parking surcharge for users,” he said.

    “Following the introduction of our carpark’s cashless and ticketless parking on September 15, 2020, we are pleased to work with Touch ‘n Go for the rolling out of PayDirect-enabled parking for our shoppers. This means our patrons will no longer need to hunt for kiosks to reload their cards in order to pay for their parking fees, which will also lead to less congestion at the entrances and exits,” said group executive director of Hunza Properties Khor Tze Ming.


  • Proton working round the clock to revamp aftersales

    Over the past few months, there have been reports of Proton customers facing issues with aftersales parts, for both accident repairs and scheduled services. This has left some cars stuck waiting for parts, or serviced with a few parts short (commonly brake fluid and cabin filters, with owners asked to return later when the parts are in stock).

    To get the full picture of why this is happening, we reached out to Proton for some official comments. Proton vice president of sales and marketing and Proton Edar CEO, Roslan Abdullah said: “Proton admits that some aspects of our business have not been able to keep up with our recent successes. While we have dramatically moved forwards in product quality, brand image and the technology offered in our cars, our aftersales service has not made the same leap.”

    “This situation was exacerbated in 2020 by firstly Covid-19, and then our decision to invest in a completely new backend ordering and delivery system. As a result, we have experienced integration issues and customers requiring accident repairs as well as regular servicing have faced delays,” Roslan added.

    “We are working on these issues around the clock to overcome them in the shortest time possible. But for now, I urge all Proton owners facing delays to please contact our customer care hotline at 1-800-88-8398,” Roslan explained.

    According to its press statement, Proton’s 10-year strategy required the company to completely overhaul some of its operations in order to succeed. Those include the immediate improvement of product quality, and today Proton said its quality scores are close to matching Geely’s.

    The national automaker’s distribution network has also improved drastically – Proton currently has the most 3S/4S facilities in Malaysia and has moved its focus to a wholesale rather than consumer driven business.

    With these measures in place, Proton has managed to post some of the highest sales growth numbers for the industry over the last two years. But for 2021, the focus is on improving its entire aftersales value chain so customers can enjoy a premium brand experience after buying their cars.

  • SPIED: 2021 Proton Iriz facelift with LED headlights!

    The facelifted Proton Iriz and Persona are continuing to make the rounds ahead of their launch, and this latest spyshot finally gives us a more detailed look at the front of the Iriz. Zola from the Proton Persona Community Malaysia group on Facebook snapped a photo of the camouflaged hatch, revealing some significant changes to the front fascia.

    For the first time, we can see that the car will finally receive LED headlights. The new units may look similar to the outgoing halogens, but they feature a smaller and more complex array of reflectors, similar to what you’d find on the Perodua Myvi and most Hondas. With this, Proton will finally be on par in the lighting department with the Myvi, which comes with LED lamps as standard.

    Despite redesigning the entire headlight assembly, the national carmaker has elected to retain bulb indicators and bumper-mounted LED daytime running lights. Speaking of which, the front bumper has the same general contours as the previous model‘s, although the repositioning of the DRLs further up suggests there might be some tweaks in store. Unfortunately, the grille is out of sight, so we can’t tell if the polarising V-shaped chrome bar design of the current model remains.

    Peering through the front windscreen reveals another big change – it’s what appears to be a freestanding centre touchscreen/head unit, similar to the one added to the Saga in 2019. This addition will likely mean a comprehensive redesign of the centre stack, given that the air vents flank the touchscreen on the current Iriz.

    Beyond that, we know of some of the revisions in store for both the Iriz and Persona. Both models will get the option of larger 16-inch alloy wheels (first introduced on the Iriz R3 Limited Edition), while the Iriz will gain a new SUV-style model with roof rails and wheel arch extensions, harking back to the Active concept of 2014. The Persona will also gain LED taillights and a redesigned rear bumper.

    Under the skin, the two cars could ditch their long-serving Punch CVTs for the Saga’s Hyundai-sourced four-speed automatic gearbox. The engines the transmission will be connected to should remain the same, however – a pair of VVT naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engines making 95 PS and 120 Nm of torque on the 1.3 litre version (only available on the Iriz) and 109 PS and 150 Nm on the 1.6 litre unit.

    We’re also expecting some changes to the safety specification, given that Proton has resubmitted the Iriz and Persona for ASEAN NCAP testing, where they scored five stars. Autonomous emergency braking would finally give the two cars some much-needed ammunition to battle the Myvi, which is available with this system. However, the two test prototypes you see here don’t have a windscreen-mounted camera, which is usually found on cars with AEB (unless it is a radar-based system that uses a sensor on the front bumper).

  • Petronas Primax 97 with Pro-Race pump and win contest – win a condo, Mercedes-Benz GLA and more

    Petronas Dagangan Berhad (PDB) has launched a new nationwide fuel contest that is ongoing from now until May 31, 2021, with attractive prizes up for grabs.

    To participate, customers will need to fuel up a minimum of RM40 worth of Petronas Primax 97 with Pro-Race in a single receipt, on three separate transactions within the same month at any given period throughout the campaign. After three successful transactions, a badge will be unlocked and customers will stand a chance to win the offered prizes. The more badges you collect, the higher the chances of winning.

    According to PDB, the badges will be available on the Setel app, and those who transact using the app will also receive an additional bonus entry to increase their odds. Customers who prefer other payment methods will also have the opportunity to participate by registering at the Setel website.

    The grand prize will be a one-bedroom unit at Verdi Condominium worth approximately RM600,000, sponsored by UEM Sunrise Berhad, while the first prize winner will drive away in a brand-new Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 AMG Line worth close to RM300,000.

    There will also be monthly prizes on offer, including a one-year complimentary fuel supply worth RM3,000 for three winners, RM100 Setel e-vouchers for 100 winners and two units of Petronas Syntium 3000 5W-30 engine oil worth RM360 for 20 winners.

    “We are very excited about our new premium fuel and we want as many motorists to try and experience the power themselves. Thanks to our sponsors, UEM Sunrise Berhad and our very own Petronas Lubricant Marketing Malaysia Sdn Bhd (PLMM), we are able to successfully design a contest that awards our loyal customers with meaningful rewards,” said Khalil Muri, head of retail business at PDB.

    Petronas Primax 97 with Pro-Race was launched in December last year and features a new additive package that includes the world’s first Advanced Dual Friction Modifier. The special formulation is said to be 25% more efficient in reducing friction, and promote better fuel and oil interaction to improve fuel efficiency for better mileage, resulting in lower carbon emissions. The company also noted that the new fuel removes 99.9% of deposits from key areas in the engine.

    Prior to the new fuel’s launch, a blind test was conducted among customers, with 69% of respondents agreeing that the fuel delivers more power, while 66% said they felt better responsiveness. In terms of efficiency, 73% of participants confirmed that the new fuel recorded more kilometres per litre.

  • Toyota Yaris is named 2021 European Car of the Year

    The Toyota Yaris has been named as the 2021 European Car of the Year, the hatch finishing ahead of the new Fiat 500 and Cupra Formentor. The new Yaris, which debuted in late 2019, received 266 points and 14 individual first-place votes to take the coveted gong.

    The Fiat finished second with 240 points and nine first-place votes, just squeezing ahead of the third-placed Cupra, which received 239 points and 10 top votes. Finishing fourth was the Volkswagen ID.3, which garnered 224 points and 10 first-place votes.

    The rest of the finalists were the Skoda Octavia, which received 199 points, the Land Rover Defender, which obtained 164 points and the Citröen C4, which had 143 points. Judging was carried out by a jury of 59 members from 22 countries across the Continent.

    The annual award was held at the ECO Palexpo, the usual venue for Geneva International Motor Show, which was again cancelled for this year. As it was last year, when Covid-19 cancelled the 2020 show, the COTY ceremony was broadcasted online. The Yaris takes over the crown from the previous winner, the Peugeot 208.

  • AD: Experience the luxury of a Lexus UX in just three easy steps with the Lexus Next Step financial plan

    If you’ve been aspiring to own and drive a Lexus, then that step up to luxury is just three easy steps away with the Lexus Next Step, an innovative and affordable customisable financial plan curated by Lexus Capital Services. Through it, aspiring young adults will be able to realise their dream of owning their first Lexus vehicle in an affordable and seamless manner.

    The Lexus Next Step plan offers the stylish and versatile UX through a highly-flexible finance plan. Spread out over a nine-year tenure, the financial plan offers plenty of freedom and scope, and is crafted into three distinct tiers, each running for three years.

    This flexible structure allows customers to progressively increase their repayments in tandem with their increase in earnings, thus minimising their cash outflow and providing more space for liquidity.

    Monthly repayments for the first three years are much lower than that in standard hire purchase loans. With prices starting from as low as RM1,938*, taking home the Lexus UX is made exceptionally affordable, especially for those who are currently poised for higher incomes.

    Click to enlarge.

    The low monthly repayment will also allow you to have ample balance in your bank account to splurge on dining, holidays or getting the latest gadgets. Increments begin at the start of the fourth year, but payments continue to be tailored to fit in with customers’ career advancement and progression, so you won’t feel the pinch when the time comes.

    The final tier in the Next Step plan begins at the start of the seventh year, but customers can opt to to trade in their UX for a new Lexus model after the sixth year, or in line with increased earnings continue with added payment until the ninth year and keep the UX at the end of it.

    Customers will have three variants of the UX to choose from, taking their pick from the Urban, Luxury and F Sport. Best of all, all UX models under the Lexus Next Step plan area covered by the company’s standard five-year unlimited mileage warranty.

    If you’re keen to find out more about how you can not only own the car of your dreams but also benefit from having ample funds after repayments to indulge in many memorable experiences, visit any of the six authorised Lexus Centres nationwide to learn all about the Lexus Next Step financial plan.

    * UX200 on-the-road price with sales tax exemption without insurance.

  • Jaguar Land Rover seeking architecture partner for battery-electric successor to XJ, future models: report

    Jaguar will be seeking a partner from outside the company for a platform to underpin its future, fully electric models, Automotive News Europe quoted CEO Thierry Bollore as saying.

    The British automaker announced its EV-only plans for Jaguar as part of its Reimagine strategy, which plans to take its brand further upmarket and to further distinguish it from sister marque Land Rover, which will reaffirm its position as the maker of SUVs within the group.

    As part of that plan, Jaguar will become a line-up of fully electric models by 2025, while Land Rover will debut its first fully electric model a year earlier in 2024. For Jaguar, this means that the brand will have its own electric vehicle platform, which has emerged that it will be sourced externally.

    This is because the standalone EV platform would be too expensive to manufacture in-house, especially as it expects to sell less than the 103,000 units managed last year, according to Automotive News Europe. Jaguar has commenced the search process for an architecture partner, said Bollore. “Naturally, there is massive appetite to work with us,” the CEO told financial analysts during an investor day last week.

    The decision to search for a partner to work with was a matter of scale, as well as the matter of how soon it could bring the new product to market, said Bollore, adding that the brand is talking with “a selection of actors” on the matter.

    Part of the future platform’s criteria is how well it can conform to the designs produced by Jaguar Land Rover head of design Gerry McGovern, who has been given a high level of freedom to decide the type of car that the new Jaguar models will be, said Automotive News Europe.

    “Great design begins with volume of proportions, and clearly Jaguars will have quite significantly different volumes of proportion compared to Land Rovers. Therefore, we need to look for opportunities out there in terms of architectures that we could utilise or refine to give the stunning, jaw-dropping Jaguars I’m talking about,” the report quoted McGovern as saying during the investor call.

    The MLA platform will instead be used solely for Land Rover products, such as the fifth-generation Range Rover (above)

    That said, if it turns out that Jaguar’s search for a platform partner is unsuccessful, the British marque is prepared to develop its EV architecture in-house, however it must be just as design led, Bollore said. “There is no point doing what we are doing with Jaguar unless these products are drop-dead gorgeous,” he said.

    McGovern concurred, adding that future Jaguar designs need to be “absolutely modern and contemporary. They shouldn’t be retrospective and shouldn’t emulate anyone,” the design chief said.

    Initially planned to be built on the Modular Longitudinal Architecture (MLA), the next-generation Jaguar XJ was scrapped mid-development in favour of the future standalone platform, and the MLA platform will instead solely underpin Land Rover products within the group. First to emerge from this group will be the fifth-generation Range Rover, which is expected to debut in the next 12 to 18 months, according to Automotive News Europe.

  • Hyundai actively stockpiled chips prior to shortage

    The global semiconductor chip shortage has certainly left its mark on several carmakers, with many forced to reduce vehicle production due to lack of parts supply. However, Hyundai Motor Group and its subsidiaries are not affected by this issue, as the company actively stockpiled chip last year, just as other carmakers reduced orders for chips due to low car demand in 2020.

    According to a report by Reuters, the Korean company even accelerated its chip purchases towards the end of last year. “Like other automakers, Hyundai also planned to cut production at the beginning of the year because of Covid-19. But procurement read the trend of the semiconductor industry cutting auto chips production and said, ‘if we don’t buy them as well, we’ll be in trouble later on,’” said a source familiar with the matter.

    Analysts reasoned that Hyundai Motor Group’s decision to stockpile chips was due to the South Korean market remaining relatively strong throughout the pandemic in 2020. The anticipatory move also allowed it to keep costs down before the shortage worsened. It also helped that the company has more local suppliers compared to rivals, including Telechips, which contracts fabrication out to Samsung Electronics, that are likely to prioritise Hyundai.

    Even with a greater reserve of chips, supply is still finite, and the company has previously said during a recent earnings call that it couldn’t confirm if it was prepared for the next three to six months, but for now, it is “not seeing any immediate production disruption.”

    Adjustments to production have been made to control chip usage, with weaker-selling models like the Sonata being less of a priority compared to the more popular Grandeur. More frequent inventory checks are also being conducted to ensure sufficient chip supply, and the company is trying to lock down supply contracts earlier as well.

  • 2021 Honda Wave 125i launched in Malaysia, RM6,449

    Updated with new colours for this year is the 2021 Honda Wave 125i, priced at RM6,449 for the two disc brake model. The 2021 Wave 125i two disc brake price is up RM150 from the 2019 pricing of RM6,299 while the Wave 125i disc/drum brake version, previously priced at RM5,999, is discontinued.

    New colour schemes for 2021 are Extravagant Gold Metallic, Candy Scintillate Red and Pearl Nightfall Blue. The Wave 125i has also been updated for emissions, with the engine now Euro 4 compliant.

    Fed by Honda’s PGM-Fi, the Wave 125i’s 124.9 cc, air-cooled mill gets 9 hp at 7,500 rpm and 10 Nm of torque at 5,500 rpm. Otherwise mechanically unchanged aside from emissions compliance, the Wave 125i gets power to the ground via a four-speed rotary gearbox with centrifugal clutch and chain final drive.

    The instrument panel has also been redesigned slightly for 2021, with new panel graphics and gear indicator display, while LED lighting is used for the headlight. A storage compartment displacing 18-litres is found under the seat, with fuel contained in a 5.4-litre tank, with weight listed as 107 kg.

    A two-year or 20,000 km warranty is offered against manufacturing defects for the 2021 Honda Wave 125i. The Wave 125i will be available at all authorised Boon Siew Honda Malaysia dealers from March 5.


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Last Updated 27 Feb 2021