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Renault to debut new Megane R.S. at Monaco

Renault will unveil the latest iteration of its ever popular Megane R.S. in Monaco on Friday 26th May. The unveil has been timed to coincide with the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix. And fittingly, the Renault will be sporting a yellow and black livery that complements that used by the namesake’s F1 car. This has been done to commemorate the French automaker’s 40-year involvement in Formula 1.

Nico Hulkenberg, Renault’s Formula 1 team driver will drive the car onto the stage for the big reveal. According to Renault, the Megane R.S. has benefited quite a bit from technology developed for F1 including aerodynamics and suspensions. As such, we can expect good things from the new generation Megane R.S..

If you would like to know more about the the three generation of Megane R.S. cars and a video of them, visit the automaker’s site at press.renault.co.uk.

Ford elects Jim Hackett as new president and CEO

There has been a major shake up at Ford Motor Company. Rumours of President and CEO of the Blue Oval, Mark Fields, being fired was rife these past few days. Many speculated that Ford’s global performance shortcomings played a part in him being axed from his post.

Ford however, released a press release stating that Mark Fields, after a 28-year career at the company has elected to retire and vacate his position as the top man of the American based automaker, which will be filled by his successor, Jim Hackett.

Hackett, 62 was the former CEO of Steelcase, Interim Athletic Director at the University of Michigan and until June 1st, executive chairman of Ford Smart Mobility LLC. Reporting directly to Executive Chairman Bill Ford, he will lead the automaker’s worldwide operations and 202,000 workforce for the foreseeable future.

“We’re moving from a position of strength to transform Ford for the future. Jim Hackett is the right CEO to lead Ford during this transformative period for the auto industry and the broader mobility space. He’s a true visionary who brings a unique, human-centered leadership approach to our culture, products and services that will unlock the potential of our people and our business,” Bill Ford said.

Hackett and Bill will place a lot of emphasis on three priorities at the company, which are sharpening operational execution across the global business, modernising Ford’s global business and transforming the company to meet future challenges.

Speaking of the contribution of Mark Fields, Bill said, “Mark Fields has been an outstanding leader and deserves a lot of credit for all he has accomplished in his many roles around the globe at Ford,” Bill Ford said. “His strong leadership was critical to our North American restructuring, our turnaround at the end of the last decade, and our record profits in the past two years.”

Other shake ups at the company include Jim Farley being appointed as executive vice president and president of Global Markets, Joe Hinrichs as executive vice president and president of Global Operations, Marcy Klevorn as executive vice president and president of Mobility, Mark Truby as vice president of Communications and Paul Ballew as Global Chief Data and Analytics Officer.

These new appointments will be made effective on 1st June 2017 and with these major changes Ford hopes to strengthen its position as a key player in the global automotive market.

Nicky Hayden succumbs to injuries from bicycle accident

It has been announced that Red Bull Honda’s WSBK rider, Nicky Hayden has past away. The 35-year-old American succumbed to injuries suffered after an accident while riding his bicycle in Italy last Wednesday.

Hayden was admitted at Maurizio Bufalini Hospital in Cesena, Italy after the incident. Unfortunately, he succumbed to his injuries on 22nd May 2017, his fiancee Jackie, mother Rose and brother Tommy were at his side at the time.

Nicky Hayden was a beloved character in bike racing due to his tenacious fighting spirit, professionalism and all around good nature. Since an early age, he dreamed of being a pro rider and in 2006 achieved that dream by being crowned MotoGP World Champion with Honda.

Nicknamed the Kentucky Kid, he was a true champion and a fan favourite due to his kind nature, relaxed demeanor and his signature wide smile. The out-pour of prays and support from fellow racers and his legions of fans are a testament to his character and the impact he had on the racing world.

Speaking of this, Tommy Hayden, Nicky’s brother said, “On behalf of the whole Hayden family and Nicky’s fiancée Jackie I would like to thank everyone for their messages of support – it has been a great comfort to us all knowing that Nicky has touched so many people’s lives in such a positive way. Although this is obviously a sad time, we would like everyone to remember Nicky at his happiest – riding a motorcycle. Apart from these ‘public’ memories, we will also have many great and happy memories of Nicky at home in Kentucky, in the heart of the family. We will all miss him terribly.”

Today, the racing world has lost one of its best talents, rest in peace Nicky Hayden.

Perodua close to making one millionth Myvi

Perodua’s stalwart breadwinner, the Mvyi is about to reach a new milestone. The nameplate will see the one millionth Myvi rolling off the production line very soon. It’s a remarkable feat for any automaker but for Perodua, its a testament to the hard work and dedication of its employees, dealer network and parts distributors.

The first generation Myvi was launched in May 2005 and remained Malaysia’s best-selling car till the end of 2014. Despite this, it continues to be a very popular model in our country and a favourite of those looking for a B-segment city car that’s light on their wallets.

“So far, we have produced nearly one million Myvis since 2005 and this milestone will be reached somewhere this month,” Perodua President and Chief Executive Officer, Datuk (Dr) Aminar Rashid Salleh said.

Besides Malaysia, the Myvi has been sold under the Perodua brand in 7 different countries which include Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Brunei, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Fiji and Nepal. The Myvi is actually based on the Daihatsu Sirion but Perodua makes certain design tweaks of their own to differentiate the Malaysian car from its Japanese counterpart.

Perodua’s biggest export market is Indonesia. It has sold 31,000 Myvi cars under the Sirion brand since 2007. Locally however, the Malaysian automaker has managed to sell 64,700 vehicles in the past four months, which is a 4.1% increase compared to the same period last year. Based on its estimates, Perodua says it should be able to capture 35.4% of the local market share, making it the most popular car brand in the country.

In order to keep the current momentum going, Perodua will focus on delivering its vehicles to customers in a timely manner to further improve customer satisfaction and after sales capabilities. There are currently 184 sales and 182 service centres in the country. So, if you own a Perodua, you can rest easy knowing that you have a legion of service centres that are able to tend to any issues you might be facing.

3 things to check before leaving for work in the morning

Contrary to popular belief, most times, vehicles provide their owners with telltale signs before they start to malfunction. Neglect is the main reasons why owner have to fork out huge sums of money to mend a problem that started out as a minor inconvenience.

Avoid such mistakes and spare yourself the heartache by following these steps to spot an issue before it turns into a wallet busting catastrophe.

#1 – Pay attention to the duration and cranking noise when starting your engine
If you pay close attention to the duration and cranking noises that your starter motor makes, and become familiar with them, you should be able to identify signs of a failing battery. If the engine takes longer than usual to start up or struggles to do so, there’s a good chance that the battery may have something to do with that.

#2 – Allow the engine to idle for a while
When starting your car in the morning, allow the engine to idle for a good minute or so, before attempting to drive off. Granted, new vehicles have sophisticated software that help protect the engine from harm, but that same system isn’t idiot proof. By allowing your vehicle to run for while on a cold start, allows time for the oil to circulate throughout the engine and lubricate the various moving parts.

#3 – Inspect the smoke from the exhaust
Once your engine has warmed up and you are about to set off, check the colour of the smoke given out by the exhaust. If its blue, then that’s an indication that your engine oil is entering the combustion chamber and is being burnt allowing with your fuel. If you see white smoke when first immediately after starting the engine, that’s probably steam dueo to the water vapour collecting in the exhaust caused by the vehicle sitting overnight. But if it persists, its a much more serious problem. Seek the advice of your mechanic sooner rather than later regading both blue and persistent white smoke.

If you do these daily checks, over time, you will become more in-tuned with your car’s normal behaviour and should be able to tell instantly, if something is wrong. As always check your car’s user manual to know more about its inner workings and seek the advice of your trusted mechanic should you have any questions.

FCA seeks emissions software approval from US regulatory agencies

FCA or Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, has announced that it has formally filed an application for diesel emission certification with the US’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) for its emission software calibrations. Vehicles like the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 will feature such a system, which will govern emissions of the various diesel engines. This is an attempt by FCA to clarify issues related to the company’s emissions control technology that are incorporated in its software.

FCA is trying to avoid the diesel gate scandal that has plagued Volkswagen these past few years by coming clean regarding it’s software’s inner workings and the resultant emissions from the diesel engines that use it. The company says that by doing this, it should put to rest the EPA’s concerns regarding the hotly discussed topic of emissions software.

Besides the new vehicles, FCA plans on installing said software in 2014-2016 model year Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 diesel variants, provided that it receives the green light from the EPA and CARB. Owners of said vehicles will be able to have the software updated at their nearest FCA dealerships. Once done, owners could expect better emissions performance that should not impact performance or fuel efficiency in any way.

Ford to invest $350 million in USA transmission plant

Ford has been investing huge sums of money to bolster its production in the USA with the latest being $350 million (RM1.5 billion) in its Livonia Transmission Plant. Doing so, will allow the automaker to offer a new transmission to expand its lineup of fuel-efficient powertrains.

The impact of this will include creating or retaining 800 hourly jobs to support production of the new transmission. Though the some of these jobs will be filled this year, most of them are expected to be filled sometime in the next two years.

The money that will be poured into the Livonia Transmission Plant is in addition to the $1.4 billion (RM 6.1 billion) and 500 created or retained hourly jobs announced for the plant in 2016 to support production of a new 10-speed transmission for the 2017 F-150 Raptor as well as other F-150 trucks.

“We remain committed to American manufacturing and investing in our people and facilities,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford president, The Americas. “Even as the industry’s largest employer of hourly workers in the United States and biggest producer of American-made vehicles, we believe it is important to continue investing right here in our home market.”

Since the beginning of this year, Ford has allocated $2.25 billion (RM 9.73 billion) in new investments for its facility in Michigan. The blue oval has spent $12 billion (RM 51.9 billion) in its US based plants and created 28,000 jobs in the last five years.

This pattern proves that Ford’s fortifying its home base to ensure that production stays constant and to cement its commitment in boosting the US economy and workforce.

Volkswagen up! GTI to debut at Wörthersee

Volkswagen will be debuting the new up! GTI at this year’s GTI Meet at Lake Wörthersee, which will take place from 24th to 27th May 2017. The performance up! builds upon the the small and cheerful city car making it into an improved performance car with decent handling characteristics. Whether or not the market is ready for such a performance city car remains to be seen, but based on past history, VW has been known for disrupting trends and generating an interest in a whole new genre of vehicles that people didn’t know they wanted.

The GTI moniker was first introduced in the 1970s when the German automaker decided to make a performance version of its standard family hatchback, the Golf. Back in the day, only big sedans and expensive sports cars had the performance to offer heart-racing driving action. Their big displacement engines and raw power made the vehicles very expensive and out of the reach of the common man. Well, Volkswagen was having none of that, and set out to create car that offered sports car-like performance but on a shoestring budget.

Their efforts eventually came to fruition with the introduction of the first generation GTI. There were very few subtle cues that set the car apart from the average run of the mill Golf. It had a thin red stripe stretching across the entire length of the front grille, black double stripes across the side sills, black stripe on the tailgate and of course, several GTI badges. The car had a near 110bhp engine and weighed just 810kg, which meant 0-100km/h sprints could be accomplished in just 9.0 seconds and the car had a stop speed of 182km/h.

Over the years, the GTI has grown in size and weight to comply with safety regulations as well as the needs and wants of the modern consumer. Due to this fact, The present day GTI hasn’t retained much of the original’s DNA. But with the up! GTI, things are a lot more similar. It weighs 997kg and under the hood is a turbocharged 113bhp TSI engine, which allows the car to accelerate from 0-100km/h in just 8.8 seconds. In essence, the up! GTI can be considered as the modern day equivalent of the first generation GTI.

It comes with with the usual GTI striping on the bodywork, 17-inch alloy wheels, a spoiler for better downforce, leather-trimmed sport steering wheel, GTI gear knob and the iconic “clark” seat pattern.

One can be so bold as to call the up! GTI a direct descendant of the iconic car that started the hot hatch revolution and hopefully, paves the way for the development of many more performance-based small city sized hatchbacks.

Resto Modded BMW 2002 featured on Jay Leno’s Garage

The resto mod market has has been steadily gaining ground over the past few years. Demand for such vehicles has been on the rise thanks to people like Magnus Walker, who, after restoring classics, have managed to preserve the beauty and essence of these vehicles yet incorporate certain amount of modernity to make them practical for today’s world.

Resto Mod is essentially the term used to describe a classic vehicle that has been restored by fusing the original body, panels and switchgear with modernized running gear. Considered sacrilege by purists, the popularity of resto modded vehicles have soared as of late. This is because, despite the vehicles looking just as they did 30 or 40 years ago, underneath, are mechanicals that allow vintage/classic cars to be driven in modern day traffic conditions, without breaking down or spewing oil all over the road.

Such is the case here with a BMW 2002, which was featured on Jay Leno’s Garage Youtube channel. It was brought in by founder of the well-known Bavarian Workshop. Marc and his team were responsible for the restoration project with this particular 1976 BMW 2002, which has been modified to keep up with today’s econoboxes but look infinitely cooler cruising down the highway.

Check out this video to learn more about the restoration process and the immaculately clean BMW 2002 that resulted from it.

Haval vehicles are now available in Batam, Indonesia

Chinese automaker, Haval, has extended its market reach to include Batam, Indonesia. The ultimate goal is to make Malaysia its assembling hub, which will enable better support of Haval vehicles in the ASEAN region, which includes Batam. Go Auto, the sole distributor of Haval vehicles locally, are tasked with making the manufacturer’s plans a reality.

Car buyers in Batam will now be able to choose from three different Haval models, the H1, H2 and H8. It is one of the various markets, including Singapore that has seen a significant increase in demand for the Chinese make SUVs. However, the automaker is adamant that the interest in its vehicles are mainly due to the quality of its products rather than pricing.

Speaking of the launch in Batam, Haval’s Chief Executive Officer Ahmad Azam Sulaiman, said, “We have received almost 100 units of bookings for Batam market and we are optimistic that the number will increase after the official launch. We also have demands coming in from Singapore which we think is fascinating. Haval’s arrival in Singapore will be a benchmark for the brand in ASEAN.”

Indonesia is just the latest addition to the string of countries that Haval has made its presence felt, including Cambodia and Brunei with plans of including Vietnam, the Philippines and Myanmar before the end of next year.

If you didn’t already know, Haval, is an abbreviation for “Have All” which the automaker says portrays the essence of the brand – offering affordable vehicles that incorporate the latest technology. Haval is owned by Great Wall Motor Company Limited(GWM) and it is said to be the largest Chinese SUV and Pick-up manufacturer in China. Visit the automaker’s Malaysian website to know more about the Haval brand of vehicles.

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