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  • Subaru recalls 320,000 Impreza / WRX over defective Takata airbag inflators – Malaysian cars on the list

    2004 Subaru impreza Gregory

    More on the ongoing recalls involving faulty Takata airbag inflators – earlier in the week, it was reported that Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI) had issued a recall for Subaru Imprezas built between 2004 and 2007 over the issue. News reports had indicated that 91,151 Imprezas were being recalled in Japan, while 33,548 units were being recalled in Australia.

    Now, FHI has stated that 320,000 2004-2007 model year Subaru Impreza / WRX are being recalled across Asia Pacific, America, China and other markets. Following this, Motor Image has announced vehicles in the following markets have been affected by this recall: Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Philippines and Thailand.

    The company says that affected vehicles are equipped with front passenger airbag SPI inflators which have been found to be defective. As already known, Takata has acknowledged that a defect exists in its airbag inflators – the units in question were assembled with propellant tablets that can degrade over time.

    Gregory_Sze_2004_Subaru_Impreza_WRX_Ver8_ 007

    Originally, it was reported that these propellants were affected by exposure to moisture, which changes the structure of the chemical propellant that ignites when an air bag deploys – the degraded propellant ignites too quickly, producing excess pressure that causes the inflator to rupture and sends metal shards into the passenger cabin that can lead to serious injury or death.

    During the investigation of airbag cases involving other vehicle manufacturers, Takata observed a small number of tape seal leaks in SPI inflators (the Takata inflators at issue are SPI, PSPI, and PSPI-L units) manufactured prior to 2007.

    These leaks were discovered during a leak test in 2014 – FHI concluded that this would be a safety issue, and is recalling the affected vehicles to replace the front passenger airbag inflator. Motor Image says it will be contacting affected customers to have the particular airbag inflator in their cars replaced.

  • Brabus PowerXtra B50 Hybrid is a tuned-up S500e


    We probably won’t see tuned versions of the Mercedes-Benz S 400 Hybrid because of its normally aspirated engine, but the S 500 Plug-In Hybrid (now called S 500 e) has been given the Brabus touch, probably because of its more easily tune-able 3.0 litre turbocharged V6 engine.

    The stock 333 PS, 480 Nm engine has been upgraded to 385 PS and 550 Nm of torque. This was achieved with revised mapping for injection and ignition as well as increased boost pressure. The electric motor hasn’t been touched. Combined output is now 500 PS and 890 Nm, allowing the Brabus PowerXtra B50 Hybrid to hit 100 km/h in 4.9 seconds.


    Of course, to complete the whole Brabus transformation the car gets a new front bumper as well as other kit. The tuned up engine exhales through a Brabus sports exhaust system.

    You can fit either a 21 inch forged Brabus Platinum Edition wheel with 255/35ZR21 and 295/30ZR21 staggered tyres or upsize to a 22 inch Brabus Monoblock G Platinum Edition wheel with 255/30ZR22 and 295/25ZR22 staggered tyres.

  • Toyota most valuable car brand despite airbag recalls


    The BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study, released by market researcher Millward Brown, has found Toyota to be the most valuable car brand in 2015, in spite of a recent wave of airbag-related recalls, reports Automotive News Europe.

    The Japanese giant’s brand value actually fell 2% to US$28.9 billion, the study found, but it remains ahead of BMW’s US$26.4 billion and Mercedes-Benz’s US$21.8 billion. The study has been carried out for 10 years, and Toyota has been number one in eight of them.

    “When you look at the trust the Toyota brand generates from car owners, there is little dent from the airbag issues. The customer experience, the good value, and the quality that customers trust see the brand through,” Millward Brown global BrandZ director told ANE.


    Honda and Toyota are the only top 10 brands to see value drops. Honda’s brand value fell 5% to US$13.3 billion, as it also tackles issues surrounding airbag recalls.

    BMW, in second place, saw its value jump 2% to US$26.4 billion, while third-ranked Mercedes enjoyed a 1% boost to US$21.8 billion. The fastest riser was Audi, who leapt a significant 43% to US$10.1 billion, overtaking parent company Volkswagen for seventh place.

    “A lot of Audi’s success has much to do with what the brand stands for and what it means to consumers. It really stresses in a consistent way and communicates what is different and special about the brand: technology, safety, and the benefit to consumers, with good advertising supporting it,” Walshe told ANE.


    Second-fastest riser Ford increased its value by 11%, while Land Rover overtook Chevrolet for ninth place. Walshe attributes Land Rover’s performance to its catering to customers’ demand for SUVs, and success in China.

    “Land Rover is not worried about being worth the premium price it charges, because that is what makes the brand desirable,” he said.

    Lexus passed Hyundai to take 10th spot. “While Lexus is oriented towards the US, the brand is about absolute quality and complete differentiation, leadership and being very well managed,” Walshe told the publication.


    Collectively, the top 10 car brands have grown more slowly by 3% to US$143.6 billion, compared to 2014’s 17% increase. “Because of the high quality and technology involved required to raise brand value, it is harder to be differentiated (amongst carmakers),” he said.

    Top 10 most valuable car brands in estimated worth

    1. Toyota – US$28.9 billion
    2. BMW – US$26.4 billion
    3. Mercedes – US$21.8 billion
    4. Honda – US$13.3 billion
    5. Ford – US$13.1 billion
    6. Nissan – US$11.4 billion
    7. Audi – US$10.1 billion
    8. Volkswagen – US$9.3 billion
    9. Land Rover – US$5.0 billion
    10. Lexus – US$4.3 billion

  • VIDEO: BMW 3 Series LCI, in beautifully-shot detail

    ’40 years of innovation in one car’, reads the description of one of these videos, and we’re hard pressed to argue. The BMW 3 Series is undoubtedly one of motordom’s great success stories – since 1975’s genesis E21, the car has grown to become the compact sports sedan, desired the world over.

    The latest torch-bearer is, of course, the F30 LCI. Incredibly strong the sense of déjà vu may be, the facelift introduces a plethora of new engine variants. A 318i with the 1.5 litre B38 three-cylinder engine replaces the 316i, the 320i gets more torque and the 330i more power to replace the 328i.

    That’s not all – a new 340i packs a new 3.0 litre B58 straight-six to replace the 335i‘s N55 unit, and a new 2.0 litre B47 four-cylinder diesel goes to the 316d and 320d. Finally, the 330e plug-in hybrid enters the scene – the first-ever plug-in hybrid 3er marries a 184 hp 2.0 litre engine with a 108 hp electric motor for a combined 252 hp and 420 Nm of torque.

    To fully appreciate every detail of Munich’s newest compact exec, watch the almost-ethereal and beautifully-shot launch film at the top of the page, or let Rob Bell take you around the 318i Sport, 320d EfficientDynamics Plus and 330d M Sport xDrive.

  • Toyota WOW Road Tour happening this weekend at Stadium Bukit Jalil – try the Toyota 86 Drift Demo!


    The first instalment of the Toyota Wow Road Tour will be happening this weekend (30-31 May) at Stadium Bukit Jalil Car Park B from 11am to 8pm. There will be various activities such as a Toyota 86 Drift Demo where you’ll be able to ride with professional drifters in a Toyota 86 race car.

    Other activities include rides in other Toyota models with professional drivers as well as activities for the family – clown performances, InstaPrint photos, children’s playground and more.

    The Toyota Wow Road Tour is coming to a location near you! With a Toyota 86 drift demo* plus an experiential ride for all you thrill seekers and so much more, join the excitement at our first Road Tour location below: Date: 30 & 31 MayTime: 11am – 8pmVenue: National Stadium Bukit Jalil (Car Park B), KL Catch us there! View full schedule here : #ToyotaWowRoadTour

    Posted by Toyota Malaysia on Monday, May 25, 2015

    You’ll also stand the chance to win a Toyota Vios 1.5 J (AT) if you purchase a new Toyota during the Toyota Wow Road Tour. There will be deals such as low downpayment, cash rebates as well as additional RM500 e-Service vouchers when you book your car at the event.

    After this weekend, the Toyota Wow Road Tour will also be visiting Penang, Kota Kinabalu, Kuantan, Johor Bahru and Kuching. Refer to the schedule below for more details.



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  • SPYSHOTS: Mercedes-AMG A 45 facelift molts camo


    It’s not that big of a surprise, really. Since the final quarter of 2014, spyshots of the W176 Mercedes-Benz A-Class facelift have been popping up pretty often – shots of its interior and an alleged sole photograph of it completely sans camouflage further proves that the finished article is nigh.

    Naturally then, one can expect the fire-breathing AMG variant to receive more or less the same updates inside and out as well. This isn’t the first time we’re catching a glimpse of the refreshed mad Merc but additional photos help reassure us that one of our favourite performance hatches is well underway.

    Looks wise, it doesn’t appear that Mercedes-Benz has done a lot of work to its aesthetics which, when taking into account how timeless the current model looks, is no bad thing. The portion with the most amount of tape obviously hints at the mild exterior changes that are bound to make an appearance.

    Updates will likely include the adoption of full LED projector headlamps and a mildly reworked front bumper. At the rear, expect the tail lamps to feature new graphics for a more contemporary look while the quad exhaust outlets will likely be housed within a more aggressive, diffuser-like rear bumper.


    The MFA platform-based hot hatch will reportedly arrive on the scene with a whole lot more power in order for the Silver Arrow to keep pace with its now-confirmed Wolfsburg rival, the Volkswagen Golf R 400. Said variant will probably tout a power output in excess of 400 hp and will likely adopt the ‘S’ nomenclature to help distinguish it over the regular Mercedes-AMG A 45 – following on from the Mercedes-AMG C 63 and C 63 S.

    Currently, the turbocharged, 2.0 litre M133 four-cylinder engine pumps out a total of 360 hp at 6,000 rpm and 450 Nm of twist from 2,250 to 5,000 rpm – making this mill the most powerful series production turbo’ed four-banger. Power gets sent to all four corners via an AMG Speedshift DCT seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, enabling a 0-100 km/h sprint time of 4.6 seconds and a limited top whack of 250 km/h.

    Inside, one can expect identical changes from the A-Class facelift to carry over, chief of which could be an eight-inch COMAND screen lifted from the facelifted B-Class. Additional updates might include a new steering wheel design along with colour multi-info display screen within the instrument cluster.

    Not long now before the full reveal of the Mercedes-Benz A 45 AMG facelift, along with its vanilla siblings. As the rejuvenated W176 range is expected to make its global debut in the third quarter of this year, the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show will most likely serve as the best platform for the German carmaker to do so.

    GALLERY: Mercedes-Benz A 45 AMG Edition 1

  • SPYSHOTS: Audi SQ7 seen again, without camouflage

    Audi SQ7 spyshots

    The yet-to-be-unveiled Audi SQ7 has been spotted again, pretty much uncamouflaged, at Audi’s Nurburgring facility. The hotter Q7 is distinguished from its regular sibling by quad tailpipes, a cross-hatched front grille and ceramic brakes.

    Peek through the lower intakes and you’ll see what appears to be intercoolers – another clue that this is no ordinary Q7. It’ll probably be powered by the 3.0 litre twin-turbo TDI V6 from the RS 5 TDI concept – packing an electrically-driven turbo, the mill produces 380 hp and 750 Nm of torque.

    Since the SQ5 has both petrol and diesel engines, it could be the same story here. If so, Audi’s 4.0 litre twin-turbo TFSI V8 seems the most likely candidate, developing anywhere between 500 and 600 hp.

    When the finished article debuts, expect a slightly more aggressive outlook along with uprated suspension to cope with the added power. Also, the interior will almost definitely feature a performance-themed interior with sports seats.

    GALLERY: 2015 Audi Q7

  • Ford showcases Parking Spotter and Remote Repositioning mobility solutions at CES Asia

    ford ces asia 2

    Ford’s GoDrive London-based car-sharing programme wasn’t the only thing announced by the automaker at CES Asia in Shanghai – the Blue Oval also highlighted a couple of Smart Mobility experiments and unveiled a MyEnergi Lifestyle pilot programme in China.

    The two mobility-enhancing experiments are called Parking Spotter and Remote Repositioning, and evaluation of both programmes are currently underway in the US.

    Parking Spotter, as its moniker suggests, makes finding a parking space a less stressful and time-consuming affair for motorists, accomplished through the use of crowd-sourced data and tech already available in vehicles. The experiment has the potential to reduce parking anxiety and increase parking efficiency, especially in dense urban areas.

    parking spotter 2

    The project, developed together with the Georgia Institute of Technology, leverages existing sonar and radar technology already available on Ford vehicles, and uses collected data to map parking information on the go.

    At speeds of less than 16 km/h, vehicles participating in the experiment act as roving probes and map open parking spots – this information is then uploaded to a cloud-based data centre which drivers can access if they’re looking for a place to park.

    As for Remote Repositioning, that also works as suggested – a vehicle can be driven remotely from one location to another, for example, to re-park it. Ford says that the tech could be used to deliver an affordable and light-on-manpower valet service as well as find use in car-sharing programmes, where the tech can be used to reposition cars from where a driver left them to where a car needs to be for the next customer.

    ford ces asia 1

    The experiment currently utilises a golf cart owned by GT, which is again Ford’s partner on the experiment – the cart can be driven remotely, via a LTE streaming connection.

    The MyEnergi Lifestyle pilot programme, meanwhile, is designed to address China’s energy needs and air quality concerns by showing how combining renewable energy sources, efficient home appliances and a plug-in vehicle can significantly reduce energy costs and carbon footprint.

    The project, led by Ford in close partnership with Haier U+, Trina Solar and Delta Electronics, will begin with families in Beijing and Shanghai. Ford and the MyEnergi Lifestyle collaborators will outfit families with plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, at-home solar power systems and efficient appliances in order to demonstrate the real world impact of energy saving products.

    SYNC 3

    The programme will track participants’ energy use and carbon output in order to highlight the environmental and economic advantages of going green in such a manner. For the China project, the model predicts cumulative savings of up to 63% in energy costs for Chinese families, translating to a 40% and 69% drop in electric and fuel bills respectively.

    This works out to a total of approximately RMB 9,400 (RM5,510) in annual savings, and CO2 output is set to be reduced as well, by 45% over a standard household. The Ford vehicle participating in the project is the Fusion Energi Plug-In Hybrid.

    The automaker also showcased its new SYNC 3 infotainment system, which supercedes the relatively new SYNC 2 system – the new system, which boasts faster performance, more conversational voice commands, a more intuitive touchscreen and an easier-to-understand interface, will begin finding its way on to Ford models soon.

  • UMW Toyota issues a recall for Lexus NX over a potentially faulty ABS actuator – 255 units involved


    UMW Toyota has announced that it is recalling 255 units of the Lexus NX sold in Malaysia – the recall aims to rectify a potentially faulty anti-lock braking system (ABS) actuator on these particular vehicles.

    The issue concerns the improper shape of a component inside the ABS actuator – Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) says that there is a possibility that a resin component could be damaged during its press fitting assembly, leading to the creation of minute resin fragment(s) which could become stuck in the actuator.

    If this occurs, the oil pressure control may be delayed when the anti-lock brakes are activated, causing a loss of vehicle stability and increasing the risk of a crash.

    UMW Toyota says it has received confirmation from TMC that there are approximately 255 units of the Lexus NX – manufactured from November 2014 to March 2015 – are affected by this issue. It was not disclosed if the exercise involves either the NX 200t or the NX 300h, or both.

    The company will contact all affected customers to carry out the necessary corrective measures on their vehicles. Should a vehicle be equipped with an affected ABS actuator, the ABS actuator will be replaced with a newly manufactured one at no cost to the owner. UMW Toyota adds that no other Lexus models sold by it are affected by this issue or are involved in this “special service campaign.”

  • Daimler, Qualcomm collaborate on wireless tech


    Daimler and Qualcomm Technologies have announced their collaboration on connected vehicle tech, amongst which are 3G/4G internet connectivity, wireless charging for occupants’ use and wireless charging for the vehicle itself.

    Qualcomm says its Halo Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging (WEVC) technology “provides high performance and high power in a small vehicle package,” which will facilitate charging of Mercedes electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles without having to worry about wires or plugging in. In-car wireless charging is also mentioned under the WiPower moniker.

    Known for making mobile CPUs, Qualcomm is venturing into the world of cars with newly-established Snapdragon Automotive Solutions, which will explore automotive innovations in communication, convenience, efficiency, infotainment and safety. It says Daimler has a history of making vehicles that resonate with its concepts.

    Other carmakers known to be working on vehicle wireless charging include BMW, Audi and Toyota. The Japanese giant is already offering Qi wireless charging for mobile devices in some of its cars – in Malaysia, you’ll find it on the Camry Hybrid and higher Lexus NX variants.


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