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Thursday, February 22, 2007

January vehicle sales down 15%

The Star: BUSINESS 22/2/2007

January vehicle sales down 15%


The country’s total vehicle sales in January dropped 14.9% to 35,047 units compared with 41,207 units a year ago, the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) said in a statement yesterday.

The decline was due to a significant decrease in sales of commercial vehicles, which slumped 75% to 3,060 units from 12,368 previously. Passenger car sales, on the other hand, rose almost 11% to 31,987 units against 28,839.

Sales of national passenger cars for the first month of the year slid 11% to 19,110 units from 21,505 in January 2006. Meanwhile, non-national passenger vehicle sales surged 64% to 12,877 units compared with 7,334 a year earlier.

MAA attributed January’s weak performance to the lack of consumer confidence as well as the sentiment of “no big rush for Chinese New Year.”

TA Securities automotive analyst Rosnani Rasul said despite the huge drop in commercial vehicle sales, the brokerage was expecting “good numbers” for the segment this year, as demand would be buoyed by activities under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP).

The decline was probably due to consumers “holding back purchases” as at least three new models were anticipated to be launched this year, she said.

“It’s only the first month. We are expecting better economic numbers with the 9MP as the catalyst,” Rosnani added.

MAA also reported a year-on-year drop in production volume to 29,180 units in January against 40,857 previously.

Production of passenger cars slowed to 25,971 units from 35,553 a year ago while commercial vehicle output decreased to 3,209 units against 5,304 previously.

There was a huge drop in production of national passenger cars, to 13,263 units from 24,677 last January. In contrast, production of non-national passenger cars increased to 12,708 units from 10,876 a year ago.

MAA said it expected volume this month to be affected by the shorter working days due to the Chinese New Year break. Furthermore, consumer confidence was still lacking and buyers were likely to face difficulty in obtaining hire purchase loans, it added.

My Opinion: Most people are holding on their purchases waiting for the NEW "Kelisa/Kancil replacement", new Vios, new "Nissan Latio", Nissan Cefiro AND OTHER NEW CARS... Hence, lowish vehicle sales...

Low New vehicle sales = LOW USED VEHICLE SALES. As typical Malaysian would sold or trade in their existing cars to upgrade to new/newer cars hence USED car also experienced turnover... Also, Hire purchase (HP) loans are getting more and more difficult these days. This will turned away many perspective used car buyers. I went to a used car dealers and overheard them talking about "LOSING" 1/3 of potential SALES "About 6 units Last month" due to them UNABLE TO GET LOAN.

I expect to see used car prices going down after chinese new year. March to April is the BEST TIME to buy USED CARS as prices of ALL USED cars will dropped from March (ie. adjusted to 2007 value)... The only difference is the percentage dropped. Often, from RM3000 (for Kelisa) to 100,000 (eg. Jaguar XJ) year to year.

That's all folks... Oh! HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR. YEAR OF THE BOAR 2007!!!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

REVIEW: Mazda MX5 Miata (2nd generation)

REVIEW: Mazda MX5 Miata (2nd generation)

Before the review, feast your eyes on the photos…

Review Source/References:
1) Article sourced from “Whatcar? Magazine UK, June 2006 issue. Page 146 to151”.
2) Pictures sourced from “Whatcar? Magazine UK, April 1998. Page 16 to 17”.
3) (Owner’s review 1)
4) (Owner’s review 2)
5) (For a list of Special editions MX5)

NOTE: I can’t write an original review because I have NO CHANCE to test drive/ride or experience the car as 2nd generation MX5s’ FREAKING RARE in Malaysia (1st generation yes, fairly easy to find BUT NOT 2nd generation. So I came out with the next best thing, post a review article of this car. OH! I post a review on MX5 because it is one of the 10 cars in my DREAM GARAGE. Also, I discovered this well written article published in June 2006 issue of “Whatcar? Magazine UK” AND I LOVED IT. Hence, would like to share to all of you… Here it goes:

“THE Mx5 is the UK’s favourite open topped sports car. Spend more than a moment behind the wheel of one and you’ll understand why it’s so beloved by 56,000 owners. The rorty engine and a roof that lowers within seconds for wind ruffling your hair helped make even a trip to the shop feel like a treat.

It 1st appeared in 1990 and now a 3rd generation model had just been introduced. Buy one a few years old, and you’ll have a desirable drop-top that costs a little more than a supermini to own.

Why do I want one?

The MX5 has everything you’d want from a 2 seat convertible sports car. Rear wheel drive (ideal for drifting), precise steering and a muted exhaust burble tick all the right boxes. The hood is manually operated. Dropping the roof is easy, pop open the clips, push it back and it sinks neatly behind the seats.

The Mazda is a pure blooded roadster, but it’s practical too. Comfortable seats, powerful heater (not useful in Malaysia), and a thick hood with a heated glass rear screen mean this is NOT JUST a car limited to summer use. It’s also very reliable with 9000 miles (!) (15,000km!) service intervals.

The car performed well in EURO NCAP safety testing too. In 2002, it achieved a 4 star rating for occupant safety, though only 1 star for protecting pedestrians in a collision. Twin front airbags came as standard on the MK2 car and most have ABS.

Which model is best?

There are 2 petrol engines – 1.6 and 1.8 and 3 level of trims: Standard, S, and sport. But MAZDA also produced a stream of special editions namely California, 10th anniversary, SE, Jasper Conran, Euphonic (2004), Montana. (NOTE: Except the 10th anniversary and California edition, these are found in UK and Ireland only).

Older 1.6s packs just 99bhp while the 1.8s have 138hp. In 2002, Mazda upgraded both to 110hp and 146hp respectively, while automatic transmission became available with the 1.8s. (NOTE: UK markets, Japanese models have Automatic gearbox for 1.6 and 1.8 since Day 1). In the same year, the MX5 received a minor face-lift and strengthening the body improved its already superb handling while ABS, elec windows became standard in all models.

Once you’ve viewed few used cars, you’ll noticed that two are rarely alike. The MX5 attracts an enthusiastic following, meaning many owners spend lavishly on extras to improve looks and performance. Many are welcome, but non-standard performance modifications can shorten the life of engine and drivetrain, while bodykits may actually harm the car’s resale prospects.” In Malaysia, some units are modified for Driftings or drags of which often include engine and gearbox swap (eg. 1.6 auto to 1.8 manual)… Avoid buying them unless you too want to drift…

“MX5s are often used as 2nd or 3rd cars, so mileage are often low. Buy only if there’s proof of servicing every 10 to 15k km. It is also common to find several owners unit, it isn’t a problem but do look for full service history.”

IN MALAYSIA, majority of units started life with Japanese owners before being shipped here. The biggest drawback is that you’ll buy blind. If there’s a service record, it’ll be in Japanese, you can dream on contacting previous owner(s). Some cars stolen in Japan have been imported into Malaysia. If any doubt, check the APs…

The minorities are Cycle and Carriage OFFICIAL imports which are of 1.8s and it’s EXTREMELY RARE.

Other notes: Servicing prices are low and parts relatively easy to find. 15000km (!) service interval is a bonus. You can expect to return around 30mpg in both 1.6 and 1.8. BOOT: Shallow loadbay but can hold a couple of large bags. Capacity NOT affected when roof is stowed. Here are the sum up and verdict:


1) CAMBELT: Should be changed after 5 years or 60,000kms whichever comes first. Consider replacing the water pump and tensioner pulley at the same time.
2) CLUTCH: Watch for judder when moving from a standstill. Clutches are usually long lasting but if problems arise and basic adjustments don’t help, replacement is best option. Also, look out for clutch abuse by the either the inexperienced OR drifter…
3) HOOD: These last well and rarely leak unless damaged. If mouldy, it is usually because the past owner lowered the roof while its still wet and left it stowed. Hood cleaner may do the trick. A replacement hood costs between RM2000+/- for vinyl to RM3,000+ for mohair. WATER LEAKS: Water runs off the hood and collects in the rear deck. Drainage tubes runs from there, ending just in the front of rear wheels. If these block, water finds its way into the body, collecting in the sills. If drain channels there clog, water overflows into footwells. Hence, ALWAYS make sure the drain channels don’t clog…
4) BUILT QUALITY: Interior is well built and very durable. Mechanicals are super-reliable if regularly serviced AND ENGINE/DRIVETRAIN unmodified/untrashed.

Owner’s review 1: The most fun you can have with your top off!
by Tyrion - written on 31.05.01 - Rating: (5 of 5 possible stars)

Advantages Soft Top, Quick and nimble, Loads of fun
Disadvantages Slight lack of legroom, Boot won't hold much

I've just got to the end of my first seven months with an MX-5 and I love it!

I have an X-Reg 1.8iS, with the optional hard top and a CD player.

With the hard top on, the car feels like a normal sporty two seater, plenty of acceleration and a dream round corners. You may want to bear in mind that before the MX-5 I had a Fiat Cinquecento, so I may be colouring my experience based on the upgrade. On the motorway, all you need fear are supercars, motorbikes and sales reps, you have the power to get out of most situations with a quick blip of the loud pedal. About town, the car has plenty of low end for pulling into traffic safely and is nimble enough to change lanes almost at will.

However, you didn't come here to read about a car with a hard roof, and removing this is the route to true joy. The actual removal process is reasonably simple and can be accomplished single-handed if you need to, and you have the arm length to pick up the roof. When you have stored the hard top somewhere out of the way in your house or garage, you can take in the splendid sight of a scaled down TVR with no roof. On your driveway. Waiting for you. You can almost hear it purr.

Driving the MX-5 with the soft top down is not such a different experience from driving it with the hard top on. There is a slight amount of flexing, which translates to more roll going round fast corners, but other than that the only different you will notice is that your hair is being blown into your face. If you have long hair, I would seriously advise you to wear a hat when driving "sans top", the small air dam to the rear of the cockpit helps slightly, but at speed you will have whip marks all down your cheeks if you don't restrain your wayward locks.

When you, reluctantly, come to put up the soft top for the first time you will wonder if it is ever going to close. The material of the roof needs some "slight" stretching, so much so that it may be worth your dignity to close and open it a few times before you journey out. I made the mistake of putting the top up for the first time in Sainsbury's car park and made a complete fool of myself after an amazingly cool entrance. After a few times, though, the action becomes so smooth you may be able to perform it one handed while still sitting in the driver's seat. Dropping the top is an extremely simple task, the work of three to five seconds, depending on whether you lower the roof, or let it drop.

When driving long distance, long legged people, such as myself, may find their right leg aching a bit. This is, I believe, due to the lack of support under your leg as you drive. This in turn is due to the seat being so close to the pedals, there isn't all that much room if you want the seat inclined back at a comfortable angle.

This minor point aside, I would quickly recommend this vehicle to anybody wanting a two seater fun car. Driving through sunlit country lanes, with the top down and your favourite music blasting out of the speakers is an experience not to be missed.

I could tell you about the heated rear window, with the hard top and soft. I could tell you about the heater, electronic windows and mirrors. I could tell you about the small boot and the slightly ugly clock. I could tell you about all of these things, but if you want to hear about them, you don't want an MX-5, you want a Mondeo.

If you want to drive fast, with no roof and you want a car that's more reliable than a Lotus Elise and less expensive than a BMW Z3, buy an MX-5, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Owner’s review 2:
The best small sports car you can buy
by Allen - written on 16.09.00 - Rating: (5 of 5 possible stars)

Advantages performance, handling, looks.
Disadvantages limited boot space.

I am now on my 3rd MX5. I started with a basic mk1 1.6i and have been hooked since, ny second was a special edition (Berkeley) 1.8i and my latest is the mk2 1.8is ICON.

The difference between the mk1 and 2 is very noticeable, the mk1 is great to drive handles and corners like a dream but it is very noisy inside and no matter how hard I tried I could not stop that plastic back window from getting scratched, but besides that the car never once let me down in over 2 years and those pop up headlights look superb.

The mk2 is quicker it does handle better and is a much more solidily built car. The glass rear window is a definite improvement and makes it even quicker top get the roof down. I do miss the pop up headlights but overall I am glad I bought the mk2.

Mazda have cut the prices on the non special edition mx5's which make them great value at the moment, and if you shop around the insurance can be very reasonable (I use the RAC).

If you have any doubts about buying an MX5 take it out on a sunny day with the roof down find some nice winding country roads (without speed cameras) and you will never want to drive another car again.


1) B6-ZE I4, FR, 1597cc DOHC 16v EFI
99hp@6500rpm (98-02), 110hp (02-05)
TORQUE: 136Nm@4000rpm, same
2) BP-ZE I4, FR, 1839cc DOHC 16v EFI
138hp @6500rpm (98-02), 146hp with Variable Valve Timing(02-05)
TORQUE: 161Nm@5000rpm, -NA-

Tyres: 195/50R15 6JJ

1) 5 speed manual / 4 speed Auto
2) 5 speed manual (1998-2002)/6 speed manual (2002-05)/4 speed auto.

Wheelbase: 2265 mm
Length: 3955 mm
Width: 1680 mm
Height: 1235 mm
Curb weight: 1010 - 1065 kg

1) 0-100km/h: 9.7secs (1.6M), 12.7 secs 1.6(A); 0-100km/h 8.0secs (1.8M), 10 secs+(1.8A)
2) Top speed: 180km/h (1.6); 190km/h limited 1.8 – JDM SPEC. (205km/h (M)/203km/h (A) - 1.8 UK spec)