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MEGA REVIEW: Subaru Levorg 1.6 GT-S

Subaru Levorg!  This is the Sports wagon I'm looking forward to...  I loved the car so much that I downloaded and scanned the Singaporea...

Saturday, July 31, 2010

LONGTERMER #1: Update 25, July 2010: Ford Telstar 2.0i4 Ghia


There's nothing much to update for July's edition of Ford Telstar 2.0i4 Ghia. This month, I only clocked 668kms. The only thing worth blogging is the NEW V-power 97.

The New V-power 97 makes my Telstar slightly more responsive with 10% improve in fuel efficiency. BUT Bad news, Petrol hike on 15 July 2010 stipulates that RON97 fuel's subject to FLOATING Mechanism.

Without further ado, let’s proceed to Logbook…

LOGBOOK:

Year of manufactured: December 1998 (registered January 1999)
Purchase price: RM42,000 (Aug 2005)
Current value: RM12,000 (As at March 2010)
Depreciation per year (averaged): RM7,500

Mileage Last Month: 155,238km
Mileage Now: 155,906km
Mileage used July 2010: 668km

Fuel consumption (so far):
BEST: 10.2km/l (8 June 2010)
WORST: 5.9km/l (September 14, 2009) => 100% City driving

THIS MONTH (July):
BEST: 8.9km/l on 18 July 2010 (80% Highway driving).
WORST: July 7: 6.2km/L, 90% City driving. I used either RON95, Shell RON 97 and Shell OR Mobil RON95 only.

0-100km/h: 10.2 secs (20/6/2010). Previous run 10.8 secs (1/1/2010).

TODAY, As at 30 July 2010,

Expenses (this month):

1) Petrol: RM160.
2) Toll: RM50
3) Parking: RM50
4) Car Wash: RM15

GRAND TOTAL: RM275

Before I go, here's a parting shot taken from the 1st floor of my house:

















That's all folks, Thanks for having the time and patience to read this Blog entry of mine... See you on August 30 2010 for the 26th update... AN ORIGINAL JEFF LIM'S PRODUCTION. My original work...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

ARTICLE: Analysts say Proton-Perodua merger won’t solve woes

The Star Business: Wednesday July 28, 2010

Analysts say Proton-Perodua merger won’t solve woes

By JAGDEV SINGH SIDHU
jagdev@thestar.com.my


Perodua deemed reluctant to merge
IT may seem strange that the merger between the national car companies was initially proposed by Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd (Perodua) but now, it appears as if Proton Holdings Bhd is the main driver of that proposed union.

Initially, the general view was that such a merger would not help lift the fortunes of Proton. Today, most market observers opine that an amalgamation of both companies may not be in Perodua’s best interest.
A proposal to bring together both car companies was first mooted sometime end 1998 as the local car industry was slowly starting to gain some lost ground after being badly hit by the Asian financial crisis.
The suggestion was made public not by Proton, but by then Perodua managing director Tan Sri Abdul Rahman Omar, who floated that idea as Proton was on the verge of being acquired by Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas).

Cash muscle

The reason for that suggestion by Perodua’s management was simply down to financial strength. The idea was that with Petronas’ cash muscle, a merger between both car companies would lower costs, improve research and development on new models and offer economies of scale once the industry and market improves.
When Abdul Rahman made that suggestion, car sales for the year was poor. Total auto sales in 1998 was 163,000 units and with the recovery in the economy and sentiment, sales rebounded in 1999 to 288,000 units.

National car manufacturers commanded 93% of sales, or 222,000 units, in 1999 with Perodua then a distant second in sales compared with Proton.

That scenario, however, reversed and the idea of a merger with Proton fizzled out in the later years as Perodua overtook Proton and maintained its market leadership of passenger cars sales since 2006 thanks to the Myvi and a growing demand for smaller, fuel efficient cars.

Proton was then saddled with mammoth capacity from its plant in Tanjung Malim and Shah Alam after sales did not match projections that led to the creation of all that capacity.

The reversal of fortunes of the national car companies since then has seen the idea of a merger between the two companies emanate from Proton’s side, the latest being this month after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said at Proton’s 25th anniversary celebration that if overcapacity was an obstacle, auto companies should merge to create a stronger, bigger and more able company.

Those comments set into action suggestions from Proton why a merger would be beneficial as there would be economies of scale, costs would be cut and exports could grow following the merger.

Perodua, however, maintained its stance since becoming the market leader by saying there was little synergy between both companies too seek a merger.

Analysts too have played down the overtures from Proton, saying there was little incentive for Perodua to proceed with a merger given the profit its making and the seeming hesitancy from its Japanese partner Daihatsu to share the money its making with another company.

Analysts said immediate gains from the lowering of cost would not be forthcoming as cars from Proton and Perodua operate on different platforms.

Structural issues

Should a merger materialise out of political persuasion as opposed to financial reasoning, it would temporarily mask the deep structural issues that have plagued the national auto companies over the past decades.
Both Proton and Perodua were created during the wave of industrialisation in Malaysia and as a vehicle of import substitution.

The companies jointly have the lion’s share of the domestic car industry, thanks to high taxes, but that market share has slowly eroded over the years as Malaysia adheres to the Asean’s Common Effective Preferential Tariff agreement between the member countries.

The entry of lower taxed cars produced mostly in Thailand, which has grown its automotive industry thanks to the bureaucratic barriers in Malaysia that drove investment up north, has led to sales of non-national cars rising.

Growing affluence of the middle class, along with the fall in taxes for cars from Southeast Asia and the historical low interest rates in recent years, have allowed households in the country to buy a growing number of non-national cars. Analysts said while the merger could stem the decline in national made cars, it may not solve a sore point of the domestic auto industry, which has been weak export numbers.

Proton sold 160,000 cars during its 2010 financial year ended 31 March, out of which 25,000 were exported. Perodua sold 166,000 cars in calendar year 2009 and a news report said just 2% of sales was shipped out of Malaysia.

It does not need to export as the domestic market has been lucrative for the company over the years.
A merger might not boost exports from Perodua’s models as Perodua needs to demonstrate an ability to be competitive to its Japanese shareholders before being given the greenlight to sell cars overseas.
Right now, it is exporting cars to the UK and it has made a case to export the Myvi, badged as a Daihatsu, to Indonesia.

The future challenge to the small car segment, in which Perodua dominates in Malaysia, will come from Thailand once “eco-cars” start rolling out of production lines in the Detroit of the East.
The need to defend domestic market share would override any export ambition, and one analyst expects that to start in 2012 once Tan Chong starts producing the Nissan March in Malaysia two years from now.
About half a dozen companies have secured eco-car licences in Thailand and exports to Malaysia might grow if manufacturers who hold those licences start exporting those small and fuel efficient cars in greater numbers to Malaysia.

Gaining exports would also depend on model mix of cars produced and newer models would need to be made, and in faster frequency, to gain share in markets where global players are already in fierce competition.
As it stands right now, Perodua produces one new model every two years and Proton’s development pipeline has shown a similar albeit faster rollout of a new model.

The financial commitments needed to compete globally might also be prohibitive given the challenges both companies face in their home market.

With total industry sales for 2010 expected to be a new record at 574,000 units, the incentive for Perodua, which now has about 30% of that market, to proceed with a merger is just not there.

Exports are not as high up on its agenda as Proton and the economies of scale a merger would bring would not be justified right now given the difference in platforms and models both companies are operating with.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Longtermer #2: Vol 18: Happy 2nd Birthday Civic!

Today, 28 July 2010 is the anniversary of my family's Honda Civic FD2 2.0IVTEC.  Yup, EXACTLY 2 years ago, we took delivery of the Honda Civic.  I still remembered we LOCKED the interest rate at 2.35% and after 3 days the interest rate jumped to 3.1%.  We took RM90,000 loan for 6 years.

How time flies, it's been 2 years...  As at 28/7/2010, we clocked 37,490kms.  THREE Quarter (3/4) of the mileage was done by my dad.  The car received 2 new "Shoes" ie. tyres 1 week ago.  It's MICHELIN PILOT SPORT 3.  Latest offering from Michelin.  We got it for RM410 per tyre only in Klang, Hin Leong tayar, Jalan Kapar a RM80 savings per tyre compared to the 1st tyre shop we enquire in Kota Damansara (RM490).

Without further ado, let's proceed with some photos:
Above: Tailights in Action, before and after.  Below: Headlamps in Action: Before and after...

MORE TO COME.  To be uploaded when I found my Digital Camera Cable.  Hopefully upload by Tomorrow 2pm. Extra Picture uploaded at 29/7/2010 1600hrs...

Above and below: Old tyres...
 This is the SHOP I'm talking about...  The famous "KEDAI PAPAN" at Jalan Kapar. 

Before I go, here's a parting shot:
In a meantime, see you on the 19th update in 2 months time in September 29.

That's all folks, thanks for having the time and patience to read this blog entry.  My Original work...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

ARTICLE: Analysts play down Perodua-Proton merger

The Star Business, Tuesday July 27, 2010

Analysts play down Perodua-Proton merger

By JAGDEV SINGH SIDHU
jagdev@thestar.com.my


They say a merger will only benefit Proton at the expense of Perodua

KUALA LUMPUR: Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd (Perodua) would likely scupper any attempts to merge with Proton Holdings Bhd as there would be little benefit for the second national carmaker to enter that marriage.

Analysts said a merger between the national car companies would benefit Proton and the vendor system more than Perodua, hence creating little or no incentive for Perodua to proceed with the consolidation of the industry.

“On paper it could look beautiful but executing the merger will be very difficult,” said an analyst.
The suggestion that Proton and Perodua should consider a merger was floated after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said at Proton’s 25th anniversary celebration that if overcapacity was an obstacle, auto companies should merge to create a stronger, bigger and more able company.

Proton has since spoken positively about the benefits of a merger with Perodua, with its group managing director Datuk Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir saying a merger would enhance economies of scale, reduce costs and help exports.

But Perodua has been coy about the whole process.

Its managing director Aminar Rashid Salleh reportedly said there was little compatibility between both companies as they made different car models. The argument of lowering cost of components and economies of scale from the merger does not, however, gain a lot of traction from analysts.

“The key difference and impediment is that the cars from both Proton and Perodua operate on different platforms,” said an analyst. “That makes a merger irrelevant.”
A merger also would not address the poor export performance by both companies. Analysts said a merger would not be the ideal solution to deal with Proton’s overcapacity issue. An analyst said such a move would only mean transferring the problem to another company.

“Proton has ample capacity to spare as its Tanjung Malim plant has not been fully utilised since it was built,” said an analyst.

“Perodua’s expansion in adding capacity has been prudent and tracks the rise in sales the car company has been etching over the past years.”

According to Malaysian Automotive Association president Datuk Aishah Ahmad, Proton’s Shah Alam plant is operating at 54% of capacity while its factory in Tanjung Malim is functioning at just 42% of capacity. Aishah said UMW Toyota Motor unit Assembly Services Sdn Bhd was operating at 215% production capacity, Honda Malaysia Sdn Bhd at 202%, Nissan vehicle assembler Tan Chong Motor Sdn Bhd at 143%, and Perodua at 164%.

‘’Most plants are operating at more than 100% capacity. If you are already full there’s no need to consolidate,” Aishah said in a report last week.

Analysts concurred, saying that Perodua by itself was reaping the benefits as one of the most profitable auto companies in the country. The only way Perodua would consent to a merger was if it were forced to do so, or offered a deal it could not refuse, said an analyst.

A Proton-Perodua merger would, however, solve a long-standing issue of a foreign partner for the first national car as Perodua lists among its substantial shareholders, Japanese carmakers Toyota and Daihatsu.

END OF ARTICLE.

Source:
http://biz.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2010/7/27/business/6739072&sec=business

Wagon Appreciation Pt 6: Mercedes Benz

In this blog entry, I'll be covering 2 lovely wagons both under the same marque. They are no other than:

1) Mercedes C-class Wagon (W204),
2) Mercedes NEW E-class wagon (W212).
There's a saying a picture's worth 1000 words... Here are the pictures accompanied by Specifications. Enjoy:

1) Mercedes C-class Wagon (W204)

EXTERIOR:


INTERIOR:


SPECIFICATIONS:

Mercedes C 200 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY Estate Avantgarde

Engine

Cylinders: 4, in line
Valves per cylinder: 4
Capacity: 1796 cc
Bore x stroke: 82.0 x 85.0 mm
Compression: 9.3:1

Max power: 135 kW (184 hp) @ 5250 rpm
Max torque: 270 Nm @ 1800 rpm
Fuel system: multipoint injection
Engine type: dohc
Turbo: yes, with intercooler

Performance and Economy

Top speed: 225 km/h
Acceleration 0-100 km/h: 8.4 s
Urban consumption: 10.3L/100km
Urban comsumption kms: (9.7km/L)
Extra-urban consumption: 5.9L/100km
Extra-urban consumption kms: (16.9km/L)
Average comsumption: 7.5L/100km
Average comsumption kms: (13.3km/L)
CO2 Emmision: 175 g/km

CHASSIS

Drive: rear
Front suspension: Independent, McPherson, Coil springs, anti-roll bar
Rear suspension: multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Front brakes: ventilated discs
Rear brakes: discs
Tire: 205/55R16
Turning circle: 10,8 m

EXTERIOR SIZES

Length: 4596 mm
Width: 1770 mm
Height: 1459 mm
Weelbase: 2760 mm
Front track: 1541 mm
Rear track: 1544 mm

Others:
Luggage space: 485-1600L

WEIGHTS

Empty mass: 1465 kg
Maximum permisible mass: 2105 kg

SAFETY:

ABS: Yes
Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD): Yes
Brake assistant: Yes
Driver airbag: Yes
Pessenger airbag: Yes
Side airbags: Yes (front)
Head curtain airbags: Yes (front & rear)
Electronic Stability Program (ESP): Yes
Traction control: Yes

END OF SPECIFICATIONS...

2) Mercedes NEW W212 E-class Wagon

EXTERIOR:

Design: new Mercedes hallmarks combined with E-Class styling features

The new E-Class Estate immediately makes an athletic and practical, but also effortlessly superior and safe impression. Its distinctive design character is based on the new Mercedes style, which had its debut in the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and is now also represented in the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

The side view reveals many new elements, leaving no doubt about the identity of the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate. The B- and C-pillars appear to merge into the background thanks to glossy, black trim panels, making the entire side window area look like a single entity. This leads to a taut arch leading from the filigree A-pillar to the dramatic roof line and the downward-tapering D-pillar, all resting on the athletic shoulder line of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate. The intriguing design of the door sill panels, which are visually understated in the centre but feature a prominent light-catching contour towards the wheel arches, accentuates the dramatic overall effect of the side aspect. This is additionally emphasised by the muscular, sweeping line on the rear side panel in front of the rear wheel.

When shaping the rear end, the Mercedes designers took care to give expression to the high practicality of the new model. They did this by emphasising horizontal lines, for example the band formed by the tail lights and the chromed tailgate handle. The new LED tail lights are based on a two-piece design, and create a visual continuation of the side wall into the tailgate. Both by day and night, their distinctive design is a major recognition factor for the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate. This is the largest estate car in the premium segment, and it makes no secret of the fact.

Practicality: top marks for load capacity and ease of operation

One particularly special feature of the load compartment management system is the option of opening the standard-fit EASY-PACK tailgate automatically by using the ignition key or pressing the handle if the car needs to be loaded from behind. The innovative "quickfold" system enables the rear seat backrests to be folded down from the load compartment. Neither the head restraints nor the rear-seat cushions need to be adjusted beforehand in order to be able to do this. The two backrest sections are unlocked and folded down by a cable pull, creating a level loading surface. As another useful feature, either the left or right backrest sections, or both together, can be folded down. This enables the rear seat unit to be used by passengers even when long and bulky items are being carried. The backrest sections can also be unlocked and folded down from the side.

With a load capacity of up to 1950 litres, the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate sets the standard in its class. It is not only in the load compartment that the generous dimensions of the preceding model have been improved even further in many respects. Two examples in the interior illustrate this: the elbow width in the rear has been increased by 50 millimetres to 1505 millimetres. Rear headroom with the large tilting/sliding sunroof installed has also improved by 50 millimetres to 1010 millimetres, and is almost as generous as in versions with no sunroof (1012 mm).

An exemplary load management system is specified as standard. For example, the automatically opening and closing EASY-PACK tailgate with automatic raising of the load compartment cover, or the EASY-PACK folding load compartment floor. The latter considerably increases the usable height of the load compartment. It can be folded up and secured in various positions. Standard equipment also includes the EASY-PACK load compartment cover with a load securing net. When extended, the load compartment cover can be hooked into electrically powered carriers on the D-pillars.

Safety: nine airbags as standard, plus innovative driver assistance systems

Mercedes-Benz has consolidated its leadership in safety even further with the new E-Class. Around one dozen new or modified driver assistance systems help to prevent road accidents or at least reduce the severity of the impact. These include the standard ATTENTION ASSIST drowsiness detection system, the optional DISTRONIC PLUS proximity control and the optional PRE-SAFE® Brake, which is able to initiate partial and full emergency braking autonomously. For the first time, PRE-SAFE® is also able to use only the information received from the short-range sensors in the front bumper to tension the front seat belts at the last moment before an accident recognised as unavoidable, thereby reducing the loads exerted on the driver and front passenger during the crash.

With nine airbags fitted as standard, four belt tensioners and belt force limiters, and NECK-PRO crash-responsive head restraints for the driver and front passenger, the new E-Class offers an even more extensive package of safety equipment than its predecessor. The airbags, include two adaptive airbags for the driver and front passenger, a kneebag for the driver, two sidebags in the front-seat backrests and two large windowbags which extend from the A-pillar to the C-pillar during a side impact. Pelvisbags for the front occupants are also included for the first time.
Sidebags for the rear seat passengers can also be installed as optional extras.

Suspension: automatic self-levelling at the rear as standard

Outstanding comfort on long journeys in the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate is ensured by the newly developed DIRECT CONTROL suspension, which features the adaptive damping system as standard. The likewise standard self-levelling rear suspension sees to it that the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate always remains at the same level, even when fully laden. The Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate's suspension setup has also been adapted to suit the modified body geometry, with slightly stiffer shock absorber settings and torsion bar stabilisers, making the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate just as agile as the Saloon without having to make compromises in terms of road roar and tyre vibration characteristics.

Engines: considerable reduction in fuel consumption and emissions

The fuel consumption and emissions of the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate have been considerably reduced by new engines and numerous optimisation measures (aerodynamics, weight, energy management, reduced resistances). One prime example is the E 250 CDI with an output of 150 kW and a peak torque of 500 Nm, whose fuel consumption is only 5.7 litres per 100 km, with CO2 emissions of 150 g per km.

The engine line-up available for the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate at launch comprises five units developing between 125 kW/170 hp and 285 kW/388 hp. All of the engines available at launch, the accompanying transmissions installed as standard and the basic prices at a glance:

* Diesel
o E 220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY: 4-cylinder in-line, 2143 cc, 125 kW/170 hp, 5.7-5.8 l per 100 km, CO2 150-153 g/km, 6-speed manual transmission, from € 44,803.50
o E 250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY: 4-cylinder in-line, 2143 cc, 150 kW/204 hp, 5.7-5.8 l/100 km, CO2 150-153 g/km, 6-speed manual transmission, from € 47,719
o E 350 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY: V6, 2987 cc, 170 kW/231 hp, 7.0-7.3 l/100 km, CO2 185-192 g/km, 7-speed automatic transmission, from € 54,204.50
* Petrol

o E 350 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY: V6, 3498 cc, 215 kW/292 hp, 8.6-8.9 l/100 km, CO2 200-208 g/km, 7-speed automatic transmission, from € 55,156.50
o E 500: V8, 5461 cc, 285 kW/388 hp, 11.1-11.2 l/100 km, CO2 258-260 g/km, 7-speed automatic transmission, from € 70,150.50

The following additional models are available from the first quarter of 2010 onwards:

* Diesel

- E 200 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY: 4-cylinder in-line, 2143 cc, 100 kW/136 hp, 5.7 l/100 km, CO2 150 g/km, 6-speed manual transmission, from € 41,947.50
- E 350 CDI 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY: V6, 2987 cc, 170 kW/231 hp, 7.6-7.7 l/100 km, CO2 200-203 g/km, 7-speed automatic transmission, from € 56,941.50
* Petrol
- E 200 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY: 4-cylinder in-line, 1796 cc, 135 kW/183 hp, 7.7 l/100 km, CO2 179 g/km, 6-speed manual transmission, from € 42,721
- E 250 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY: 4-cylinder in-line, 1796 cc, 150 kW/204 hp, 8.0-8.2 l/100 km, CO2 185-191 g/km, 5-speed automatic transmission, from € 47,719
- E 350 4MATIC: V6, 3498 cc, 200 kW/272 hp, 10.2-10.3 l/100 km, CO2 238-241 g/km, 7-speed automatic transmission, from € 56,941.50


INTERIOR:


Specifications:

Mercedes E 250 CGI w212 BlueEFFICIENCY Estate Avantgarde

General

Doors number: 5-doors
Carbody type: wagon
Transmission: 5-Speed Automatic
FUEL: Petrol

Engine

Cylinders: 4, in line
Valves per cylinder: 4
Capacity: 1796 cc
Bore x stroke: 82.0 x 85.0 mm
Compression: 9.3:1

Max power: 150 kW (204 hp) @ 5500 rpm
Max torque: 310 Nm @ 2000 rpm
Fuel system: multipoint injection
Engine type: dohc
Turbo: yes, with intercooler

Performance & Economy

Top speed: 230 km/h
Acceleration 0-100 km/h: 8.4 s
Urban consumption: 10.6 l/100km
Urban comsumption kms: 9.4km/L
Extra-urban consumption: 6.4 l/100km
Extra-urban consumption kms: 15.6km/L
Average comsumption: 8.0 l/100km
Average comsumption kms: 12.5km/L
CO2 Emmision: 185 g/km

OTHERS:

Front brakes: ventilated discs
Rear brakes: discs
Tire: 245/45R17
Turning circle: 11.2 m


EXTERIOR SIZES

Length: 4895 mm
Width: 1854 mm
Height: 1512 mm
Weelbase: 2874 mm
Front track: 1585 mm
Rear track: 1604 mm
Luggage space: 695-1950L
Fuel tank: 59L

WEIGHTS

Empty mass: 1635 kg
Maximum permisible mass: 2310 kg

SECURITY

ABS: Yes
Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD): Yes
Brake assistant: Yes
Driver airbag: Yes
Pessenger airbag: Yes
Side airbags: Yes (front)
Head curtain airbags: Yes (front and rear)
Driver's Knee Airbag
Electronic Stability Program (ESP): Yes
Traction control: Yes

END OF SPECIFICATIONS.

The reason I created this blog entry is to Show DaimlerChryslerMalaysia what they missed out.  The above 2 specifications are suggested by me to bring in/assemble for Malaysian Markets.  They are C200CGI Wagon  and E250CGI Wagon.  Both were 1796cc hence Lowish Road tax and Import/Excise Duties => Competitive pricing. 

That's all folks, thanks for having the time and patience to read this blog entry.