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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

WHATCAR? Car of the year 2012!

What Car? Awards 2012 

 These are the best cars you can buy on any budget, from tiny city cars to big 4x4s. We've driven thousands of miles, testing all the cars on sale in the UK, to pick these winners and our Car of the Year 2012.



Top 10 frugal 4x4s

Top 10 frugal 4x4s in UK

Jeff Lim's note: Only 1,2,7 and 10 were on sale in Malaysia.  Note that ALL of them were Diesel Powered. Still waiting for EURO4 to enable the importation of Modern Diesels.

You might want a 4x4 to keep you on the road this winter, but you don't want the sky-high running costs that tend to follow.

45mpg+ cars with four-wheel drive
Mix of 4x4s and crossovers
Priced from £15k

We've got the top 10 cars for you – an ideal mix of four-wheel-drive models that average more than 45mpg.

1 BMW X3

The X3 is an excellent compact 4x4 because it’s classy, practical and good to drive. 
Which version? xDrive20d SE
Average MPG: 50.4

2 Range Rover Evoque
Stylish, with desirability that none of its rivals can match. The Evoque is the leaner, trendier Range Rover we've been waiting for.
Which version? 2.2 SD4 190 Pure 4WD 5dr
Average MPG:50.2

3 Volkswagen Tiguan
The Tiguan's car-like dynamics and smart, versatile cabin make it a classy crossover that's well worth considering.
Which version? 2.0 TDI 140 Bluemotion Tec S 4WD 
Average MPG: 53.3

4 Volvo XC60
The XC60 is a brilliant family car. It’s practical, classy and scores highly for safety. 
Which version? 2.4 D3 163 SE 4WD S/S
Average MPG: 50.4

5 Nissan Qashqai
The Qashqai makes a brilliant family car because it's roomy, comfortable, refined and affordable to run.
Which version? 1.6 dCi N-Tec 4WD 
Average MPG: 55.4

6 Audi Q5
Audi has scored a direct hit with the Q5, thanks to its superb comfort, space and quality.
Which version? 2.0 TDI 170 SE Start/Stop 
Average MPG: 45.6

7 Land Rover Freelander
The Freelander is a classy and desirable 4x4 that’s very capable off-road, too. 
Which version? 2.2 TD4 150 GS 4WD
Average MPG: 45.6

8 Skoda Yeti
The Yeti is a stylish and practical alternative to traditional family hatchbacks, and 4x4 versions are surprisingly capable off-road.
Which version? 2.0 TDI CR 110 S 4WD
Average MPG: 46.3

9 Audi Q3
The Q3 has great image and desirability, and it's a good bit cheaper to buy than the Range Rover Evoque, too.
Which version? 2.0 TDI quattro SE
Average MPG: 47.9

10 BMW X1
The X1 has sharp handling, low CO2 emissions and comes with plenty of standard kit. It's keenly priced for a BMW, too.
Which version? xDrive 20d SE 5dr
Average MPG: 48.7

Perodua NO.1 for 6th year

Close fight but Perodua beat Proton to the Top Spot for Best-selling cars in Malaysia.

SOURCE: Click me:

Jeff Lim's Note: My dad was 1 of the Contributor in October 2011. He bought a MYVI 1.5SE+ Auto.  

Though the battle for No. 1 place looked like a closer fight between the two national carmakers this year than previous years, Perodua again retained the top spot in Malaysian new vehicle sales in 2011 for the sixth consecutive year. It delivered 179,989 units of the Myvi, Viva and Alza to take 30% of the Malaysian market, a marginally lower share and volume than the year before.

Speaking at a media briefing this morning, Perodua MD Datuk Aminar Rashid Salleh said it had been a tough year with interruptions to parts supply due to the three disasters in Japan as well as the delays in loan approvals that occurred due to the more stringent new H-P regulations. Fortunately, the latter issue (which also affected other companies) was addressed after appeals were made to the Ministry of Domestic Trade & Industry to allow some flexibility in the process.

The biggest contributor was, of course, the New Myvi which went into the second generation during the year. Some 78,000 units were sold while the Viva and Alza were also very popular choices, accounting for 34% and 30% of the total Perodua volume, respectively.

Datuk Aminar Rashid proudly announced that some new records had been set in 2011: the highest-ever market share in a month (38.4% in December with 18,203 units sold) and the highest-ever sales in any quarter of the year (around 52,800 units from October to December).

The company has also given a lot of attention to the after-sales side of the business which is crucial to its profits as its margins on each car is not substantial due to the need to maintain prices at affordable levels. The efforts have paid off as parts sales totaling RM205.1 million were the highest ever achieved and during the year, some 1.71 million vehicles were attended to at Perodua service centres nationwide. That translates into something like 51% of all Perodua vehicles currently in use.

1.71 million vehicles were attended to at Perodua service centres in 2011, 
which is equivalent to 51% of all Peroduas in use today

Having made a commitment to the government to increase exports, Perodua doubled the number of units sold overseas overseas to 8,000 units from 4,000 units in 2010. This year, the company is aiming to export 10,000 units and by 2015, it is targeting export volumes to be 20,000 units. 

Currently, Perodua exports its vehicles to seven countries – Singapore, Brunei, Mauritius, Fiji, Sri Lanka, Nepal and the UK. Sri Lanka is said to be its most active market at the moment. The Myvi produced at Perodua’s plant is also taken by Daihatsu, its technical partner, for sale in Indonesia as the Daihatsu Sirion.
When asked why Perodua’s export program has been slow, given the many years that the company has been in business, Datuk Aminar Rashid said it was due to a few factors. One of them was the high domestic demand which limited how many could be exported. The absence of left-hand drive variants also prevented Perodua from entering a number of markets where there was interest by dealers, and finding good dealers to represent the brand took time.

Another factor has been production cost which Perodua has been working hard to bring down. It has made great progress in this area through greater productivity and efficiency in its operations, but the economies of scale are still not as high as they should be for the export business to be sufficiently profitable.

Besides whole vehicles, Perodua also exports engine components to Indonesia, Japan and Pakistan for use by assemblers of Daihatsu models. The components include cylinder heads, cylinder blocks, crankshafts, intake manifolds and pistons. Perodua’s component manufacturing activities have enabled its models to reach up to 90% local content (in the Alza), satisfying government expectations for more local sourcing of parts.

Perodua will soon have locally-made electronic automatic transmissions when a new factory is completed in 2013. Initial output from the factory, which will be majority-owned by a technical partner, will be 130,000 units annually and increasing to 200,000 units in due course.

The plant capacity is 250,000 units a year on 2-cycle shifts and there are no plans are to build another factory yet. Some capacity has been freed up as Perodua is no longer doing contract assembly of the Toyota Avanza. While this is welcome by Perodua, Datuk Aminar Rashid said that the earlier contract assembly work was also valuable in that it required the plant to fully adopt the Toyota Production System, widely acknowledged as a superior manufacturing system.

“In order for us to make vehicles for Toyota, we had to upgrade our standards to those which Toyota sets and they are very high,” he said. He revealed that by 2015, the goal is to have 0.05 defects per unit (DPU) at the end of the assembly line, a measure of quality which is exceptionally high. At this time, Toyota plants in Thailand and Indonesia have a 0.1 DPU rate.

Looking ahead, Perodua has set a target of 188,000 units in 2012 which is a 4% increase, taking into consideration the various challenges that are expected. “Barring any unforeseen circumstances, we believe we can meet this target,” said the Perodua MD. 

Under its strategic 5-year plan, the company is also investing heavily in after-sales services to further boost customer satisfaction. Almost RM15 million will be spent on upgrading of outlets and service facilities.  By the end of 2012, there should be 192 branches and dealers throughout Malaysia where people can buy and service Peroduas.
A new flagship outlet is being built in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, which will enhance the image of the brand. It will serve as an example of the new standards for Perodua and will also become a regional headquarters as part of the decentralization exercise.

New publisher takes over regional TopGear ops

Before I begin, I Jeff Lim's a LOYAL TopGear Magazine reader.  Having missing only 1 issue (Issue 16) since its inception back in 2006.  Can't you believe it?

I always look forward to New Top Gear Malaysia issues every end of the month at Newsstand, I can't subscribe because I have no Credit Card.  I LOVED most of the articles to bits.  

Top Gear Malaysia WAS the BEST MALAYSIAN Motoring Magazine until MNM (MNM = Motor News Malaysia) and S4M Magazines came along, both brought to you by the Guys from NST Cars  Bikes and Trucks (CBT).

Here's hoping they don't change OR little change to the Magazine.  Wishing new OTR Multimedia ALL the BEST in Managing the Magazine.

Without further ado, here's the Press release of this news:

New publisher takes over regional TopGear ops

KUALA LUMPUR: Operations of TopGear Magazine in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia are being overhauled, with the website now under the same management.

The April issue of the magazine, scheduled to hit newsstands in March,  will be the first under Big Road Media Pte Ltd, which has been awarded the licence by BBC Worldwide to publish the motoring magazine.

Big Road Media is planning to launch the Indonesian edition by the end of 2012. 

In tandem with the changes, the company has appointed Louis Foo as a consultant to oversee the magazine's activities in the three territories.

Foo was previoulsy Measat Publications Sdn Bhd vice-president and he helped start the magazine in Malaysia and Singapore five years ago.

“I’m very excited to be coming onboard for this project, having worked on TopGear Magazine from its inception," said Foo.

Big Road Media has appointed OTR Multimedia to run its Malaysian operations and Big Bang Media Pte Ltd as its publishing partner in Singapore. The Indonesia partners will be announced soon.

OTR Multimedia is a member of the OTR group of companies, which also publishes the On The Road motoring classifieds magazine.

BBC Worldwide licenses TopGear Magazine globally with localised versions for such countries as the Philippines, South Korea, Russia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Thailand and India as well.

Stolen cars being shipped fast to far reaches of the world

Stolen cars being shipped fast to far reaches of the world

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian car theft syndicates have extended their reach to Europe and Africa although Asean countries remain the top destination for stolen vehicles.

Cars not cannibalised for their parts for sale in the local black market are shipped to locations like South Africa and Greece while the syndicates continue to feed the demand in nearer countries like Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos.

Federal CID director Comm Datuk Seri Mohd Bakri Zinin said there was also a big demand for four-wheel drives in the Middle East due to the “desert conditions.”

The Toyota Hilux, Toyota Camry and Honda Civic were among the most popular models “exported” while the locally-made cars were stripped for their parts, he added. 
The electronic diagnostic tool is a double-edged sword, as it can be used for either good or bad purposes.

“With the assistance of our counterparts overseas, we have recovered cars stolen in Malaysia in Singapore, New Zealand, South Africa and recently, even in Greece,” Comm Mohd Bakri said yesterday.

“The stolen cars are not kept in one place for too long.

Amog the tools of the illicit trade is a hand-held device to diagnose mechanical faults

Police are helpless to stop the use of this key instrument for theft as it is not a controlled item and is widely used by mechanics.

The hand-held device costing RM10,000 can be used to deactivate immobilisers in cars.

“It is a device we cannot control as it is used by mechanics. It is even sold at flea markets in Jalan Pasar and Petaling Street,” said Federal CID director Comm Datuk Seri Mohd Bakri Zinin.

A quick web search showed that the device could be bought online as well.

The high-tech tool was designed to plug remotely into the computer controlling a vehicle's fuel injection system.

Once in the system, the device can manipulate the car's alarm system as well.

Thieves stay in tune with technology

Thieves stay in tune with technology


PETALING JAYA: Vehicle thieves are using high-tech gadgets to make swift and silent getaways.

Where they once used metal rods or rulers to disable a car's locking system before hot-wiring it, they now rely on high-tech gadgets that can deactivate an alarm and other security features to enable them to steal the vehicle in seven minutes on average.

CID director Comm Datuk Seri Mohd Bakri Zinin said syndicates were using computer harnesses which could be connected to a vehicle's diagnostic system.

“These hand-held devices look like video game consoles to the untrained eye, but they can immobilise a vehicle's alarm and other security features.

“The newer model cars are more vulnerable because they have computer boxes incorporated into their system,” he added.

Vehicle thefts are usually a combined effort by several syndicates, Comm Mohd Bakri said, and explained the stages:

“First, the thieves steal a targeted car and delivers it to a certain location.

“Then a driver takes it to a storage facility before it is either handed over to a freight forwarder or cannibalised for parts.

“The syndicates involved do not make any physical contact with each other when passing the car along.”

He said police had difficulty clamping down on the syndicates because they did not know each other.

Comm Mohd Bakri said the Bukit Aman Operations, Intelligence and Records division had compiled data on the methods the syndicates use to steal vehicles.

“Some of the syndicates target cars in parking lots. After breaking into a vehicle, they drive it bumper to bumper with their own car.

“This way they can use their parking ticket to get both vehicles out before the boom gate closes,” he said.

He added that there were also cases where syndicates rammed into a targeted car, and when the owner came out to inspect the damage, they jumped in and drove off with the vehicle.

150 vehicles stolen daily

150 vehicles stolen daily

n_cars.jpgPETALING JAYA: An average of 150 vehicles are stolen a day in the country, with Proton and Perodua models topping the list of 112,503 whisked away since 2010.

Federal CID director Comm Datuk Seri Mohd Bakri Zinin said the high number of thefts was due to the demand not only for new but also old vehicles, which are cannibalised for their parts. 

A total of 57,462 vehicle thefts were reported in 2010 while the number was 55,041 as of September 2011, he said.

He added: “There is a big demand for the stolen vehicles at construction sites in remote areas. Some are used in robberies and other criminal activities while certain models are exported overseas.

“We believe that vehicles like Toyota Hilux are stolen to feed the huge demand for four-wheel drives in the Middle East. We think that rebel forces use them to mount guns.”

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Gong Xi Fa Cai everyone

Happy Chinese New Year, Gong Xi Fa Cai, Keong Hee Huat Chye,  Kung Hei Fatt Choy, Selamat Tahun Baru Cina.  

Only in Malaysia can we have same greetings in So many Language  and Dialects.

 May the year of the Water Dragon brings abundance prosperity and greater success.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

SHOP Review: Soon Hin Accessories Shop, Meru

In this blog entry, I'm reviewing a Friendly Auto Accessories Shop.  "Syarikat Penghiasan Motor Kereta Soon Hin".  This shop is located at Meru Klang facing the main road.  The "BOSS" Son, Kelvin Koh is a friendly chap.  I bought my Alpine CD-E121 from him...

Price:  One OF The CHEAPEST and most COMPETITIVE  in Klang Valley.  I am talking about MOST of their STUFF they sell.  Great WORKMANSHIP coupled with Friendly service is Priceless.  Don't be fooled by the messy shop...  This shop has been here for OVER 30 years. This is OLD SKOOL Shop at its best...

Among HOT items sold:
1) Philips DRL (Daytime running lights
2) Vehicle Tinting
3) ICE Player (Headunits), 1-Din, 2-Din, DVD. 
4) Cushion/Leather cover
5) Custom made Floor mats.
6) Security system (Incl. Pedal Lock)
7) No plate customisation (incl "Italic" ones) (see below)

8) Component Speakers, Amps and Subwoofers

1) ALPINE Component Speakers at SPECIAL Price.
2) Philips DRL.
3) Alpine Headunits Original WKH sets at Special price...

Here are some photos:
The front entrance of the Shop.
 Bought this at RM490+40 (casing) +20 (workmanship). Total: RM550.
Above and below: Here's what they offer...

 Above: Current Promotion, Below: Top notch workmanship.  Casing add RM40.

Call Boss's son, Kelvin Koh aka.  Sh@rty5 at: 0127107917.  Mentioned referred by Jeff Lim aka "The WAJA owner who came to install "Side mirror and Alpine CDE-121 Early Dec". for better deal. 

Here's his Blog:

Here's his (Boss's son) Facebook Page: Add HIM...  He got daily/weekly/monthly promotions

Here's one of his Ads in Lowyat forum:

Dealing Method :

We are based in Meru ,Klang, so interested buyer that wants to include installation can only be done at our place @ MERU, KLANG
However , we do cater to the needs of buyer from other places, and therefore we would be offering postage services too , by using Citylink courier service, as we always believe in paying the little extra for quality service.

That's all folks, thanks for having the time and patience to read this blog entry.  Other  than the Italic No plate photo, this is my original work.

NEW: Otoreview Facebook Fan Page

I, Jeff Lim, owner of this blog created a Facebook fan page.   Official Opening today, 18 Jan 2012 (18/1/12) Do like this page.  Here's a screenshot...
Here's the website:

Thanks in advance for your support.  

WANTED: Mazda 6 2.3 S-VT MZR

WANTED: Mazda 6 2.3 S-VT MZR

I got a friend looking to buy a 2006-2007 Mazda 6 2.3 MZR 5-AT.  Colour preferably Met. Silver Contrail, Met. Radiant Ebony or Met. Brilliant Carbon Grey Mica.  Budget: RM70,000 MAX (2006).   Prefer Without "4" number and "B", "W" or "P" plate only.  Service record would be an advantage.

As for the Mazda6 2.3 Sedan, you get a more sportier package, complete with bodykit and sunroof. Detailed specs:
  • 2.3L (2,261cc) in-line 4-cylinder, DOHC 16-valve, EFI & S-VT variable valve timing รข€“ 166hp at 6,500rpm and 211Nm of Torque at 4,000rpm
  • 5 Speed Auto/Manual – Transmission (ACTIVEMATIC)
  • 215/45/R17 Bridgestone Potenza RE050 Tyres
  • 5 pcs 17″ Alloy Rims
  • 4W-ABS+EBD
  • Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) & Traction Control Systems
  • HID with Grey Bezel Headlamp
  • Head Light Levelling Control
  • Fog Lamp
  • Double Chrome Tailpipe
  • Aerostyle Bumper
  • Side Skirt & Rear Spoiler
  • Auto Climate Control
  • Jack Knife Key with Remote Keyless Entry
  • Immobilizer
  • Super Lock System
  • Central Locking & Window Locks
  • Power Windows
  • Electric Sunroof
  • Leather Wrap Steering Wheel c/w Audio & Auto Cruise Controller
  • Leather Wrap Gear Knob
  • Audio c/w MP3 & 6 in-dash CD Changer
  • Tilt & Telescopic Adjustable Steering Column
  • Multi Info Display
  • Black Out Meter Cluster
  • Instrument Panel Light Control
  • Dual Front Airbags
  • Leather Seats
  • Power Adjustable Driver Seat with 3 Memories
  • ISOFIX Child Seat Fittings
  • Floor Console with Double-Bottom Front-Armrest Box
  • Sunvisors with Lamp, Vanity Mirror & Ticket Holder (Driver & Passenger)
  • Alarm System
  • Reverse Sensors
  • Safety Kits
  • Stainless Steel Scuff Plates
  • No Plate Base
  • Carpet Mats

WHY THIS CAR?:  Read these links and you'll find out why:

Further readings:

Here are some photos:

That's all folks, thanks for having the time and patience to read this blog entry.  Please call me, Jeff: +6012-6852718 if you want to sell your car OR you know someone selling this jewel.  Dealers welcome...

Proton SOLD to DRB-HICOM. What's next?

The Star Business, Wednesday January 18, 2012

Disclaimer: THIS IS NOT MY WORK. SOURCE: Click me

After Proton stake sale, all eyes on merits of deal

Behind the news - By Choong En Han

NOW that the dust has finally settled on who will own Khazanah Nasional Bhd's 42.74% stake in national carmaker Proton Holdings Bhd, the focus will shift over to the merits of the deal.
This is important to shareholders of DRB-Hicom Holdings Bhd, the conglomerate which is not only buying the stake but also making the mandatory general offer for the rest of Proton. And it is important for shareholders of Proton as well.
There will be questions whether Khazanah has struck a fair deal, given that the stake was bought at roughly RM8 per share over several years and in various tranches from different shareholders.
We can expect the picture to become clearer when DRB-Hicom groupmanaging director Datuk Seri Mohd Khamil Jamil meets the press today.
Proton has a list of well-known problems, including its extremely underutilised Tanjung Malim plant, its Lotus turnaround plan and its need for a strategic global partner to drive future growth.
The controlling stake in Proton has come full circle and is finally back to DRB-Hicom. And it looks like it will be the turning point for the national carmaker and this is where all the hard work begins for DRB-Hicom. Words like partnerships, collaborations and strategic joint ventures have been the more favoured keywords recently for Khamil to relate to Proton.
People looking at Proton Exora multi-purpose vehicle at a Proton showroom. The question now is whether DRB-Hicom can lift Proton out of its financial doldrums.
No stranger to these keywords himself, indeed Khamil has led DRB-Hicom to greater heights by associating the automotive and industrial conglomerate to other global automotive marques and establishing its presence throughout the entire value chain of the automotive industry.
The question now is whether DRB-Hicom can lift Proton up from its financial doldrums after being dragged down by provisions made for its Lotus turnaround plan.
Despite being a domestic-centric car manufacturer, Proton needs to bank on its export base to increase its sales volume and drive the next phase of growth, as the local market seems to be reaching a saturation point with the total industrial volume hovering around 600,000 units.
Collaborating with a foreign strategic partner seems to be the obvious choice for Proton to become a global brand or, maybe, in the nearer term, an Asean brand.
Analysts and observers alike have touted Volkswagen to be the best suitor for Proton, with the latter's significantly underutilised Tanjung Malim plant fitting Volkswagen like a glove to meet the German marque's ambition for a manufacturing hub in Asean.
Excess fat: ‘Proton cars at a logistic centre in Kuala Langat. CIMB believes DRBHicom is well positioned to reap significant low-hanging fruits.’
There is also another potential collaboration on the cards with long-time partner Mitsubishi Motor Corp to assemble Mistubishi cars and the possibilities of engine development.
However, with the entry of DRB-Hicom, the Mitsubishi deal might be scuttled in favour of a more muscular foreign strategic partner like Volkswagen.
Meanwhile, questions also arise about Proton's upcoming launch of “P3-21A”, which is touted to be the model that will make Proton's presence felt in the global car scene. The sudden entry of DRB-Hicom would definitely have an impact on the planned launch of the new car in March.
Currently, DRB-Hicom derives almost 60% of its automotive revenue from business ventures with the national carmaker. It is also the biggest distributor of Proton cars under EON Bhd, besides Proton Edar. The group's manufacturing and engineering companies are all first-tier vendors to Proton, accounting for RM600mil to RM700mil worth of business.
No doubt synergistic gains and operational benefits abound in this link-up between DRB-Hicom and Proton but there will be questions on how Proton's current plans can gel up with DRB-Hicom's future direction.
Recent Related Articles:

House 4 cars got break in, items stolen

This morning (midnight) my house got break in.  Here are the items stolen:

1) Honda Civic FD2 2.0IVTEC: 1 Smartag and coins

2) Perodua MYVI SXi (Doors locked, so doors got signs of forced entry.  Coins 

3) Proton WAJA 1.6 4G18
- Smartag gone

- GARMIN NUVI 1350 GPS worth RM550 stolen (Serial no: 1NP874141)
- Spoiled Pentax M50 camera stolen
- Sony MP3 Player E-series E-464 8gb Black (with silicon cover)

- coins

4) Perodua MYVI 1.5SE(A).  Signs of forced entry.  1 smartag gone.

Friday, January 13, 2012

DRB-HICOM declares interest in Proton

DRB-HICOM declares interest in Proton

PETALING JAYA: The Proton Holdings Bhd saga continues with DRB-HICOM Bhd group managing director Datuk Seri Mohd Khamil Jamil coming out to confirm that the group has put in a bid for the national carmaker.

“It is up to the owner (Khazanah Nasional Bhd) to decide on the best suitor. Proton has been in my radar for a long time. Back in 2009, we submitted a proposal with conceptual ideas to Khazanah. However, at that time, they were not interested to dispose of Proton,” he said.

Last Thursday, Proton chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Nadzmi Mohd Salleh had stated his intention to bid for the national carmaker.

Speaking to reporters at a media retreat yesterday, Khamil did not provide details of DRB-HICOM's bid but admitted that Proton would not be an easy project due to the stiff market competition.

Asked on the price offered, he said: “You cannot say that we will be buying it at the speculated price. It depends on our capability and capacity. At the end of the day, it is on a willing-buyer willing-seller basis. You cannot measure it based on net tangible asset. It should be priced at a practical, reasonable and workable range.”

Khamil said the group submitted a proposal to Khazanah a few months ago, after the group got wind that Khazanah's stake in Proton was up for sale.

“I'm a long-term player, I never go for short-term gains,” he said.

In filings to Bursa Malaysia last December, DRB-HICOM denied any knowledge of a bid for Proton and of plans to sell a stake in Proton to Volkswagen AG.

The company issued the statement in response to a StarBiz report quoting sources that said DRB-HICOM would divest a portion of its controlling stake in the national automaker to Volkswagen in the second stage of a two-stage bid to win control of Proton.

Khamil said: “I think Proton is a good company and there is a lot of potential in Proton. It might just need a little bit of impetus to trigger the next phase.”

On the bigger picture of the national car company in the local industry, he said Proton had done well considering its humble beginnings.

“I think it can achieve greater heights, complement and enhance the national automotive industry,” he said, adding that after all, Proton was part of the DRB-HICOM Group.

Currently, Proton is still an important business partner for DRB-HICOM, with almost 60% of its automotive revenue derived from business ventures with the national carmaker.

DRB-HICOM is the biggest distributor of Proton cars under EON Bhd, besides Proton Edar, and the group's manufacturing and engineering companies are all first-tier vendors to Proton, accounting for RM600mil to RM700mil worth of business.

He said he was not merely looking at acquiring the national car company per se as he felt that it was still subject to further fine-tuning.

“Proton is able to reach greater heights, and it all depends on how well you handle and manage it. It is capable with the technologies, expertise and products that it has now,” he said.

Khamil did not rule out further partnerships and collaborations with Proton even after the acquisition if it were successful.

“The paradigm shift for DRB-HICOM is to have strategic partnerships and collaborations with our partners. We must never be shy and restrict ourselves by not asking for help. We cannot live within the constraints of our boundaries and say we are the best. We must end off with production and manufacturing,” he said.

Citing human capital development as an integral part of Proton, he said the group must invest in research and development and not merely rebadging cars.

Meanwhile, over the weekend, a business weekly reported that more suitors were vying for the Proton stake, with the latest being businessman Tan Sri Arumugam Apavoo Packiri and Gerald Lopez of Genii Capital.

Arumugam is said to be an associate of former prime minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad, who is currently the adviser to Proton.

It is speculated that the duo are looking to rope in a former chief executive officer of Proton who helmed the company from the mid-1990s to 2004.



» DRB- HICOM best suitor for Proton stake, says research house

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

TEST DRIVE/Close up: Proton Exora 1.6CFE BOLD Premium

TEST DRIVE/Close up: Proton Exora 1.6CFE BOLD Premium

Note: Before I start this review, I'm sad to say that the "Tentative" RM79,998 OTR Price had been revised.  Add RM1,500 across the board.
I’ve test driven them last week, though it's a Short 10km ride. Well, I can't say much, but it feels great at the lower rev range especially from 2k RPM to 4k RPM.   This is good for normal road driving condition. 

But when i go into my ‘race-mood’, i floored the accelerator. It was only then I felt a little disappointed. I mean, it surges for a while within the lower rpms, and then stays ‘flat’. Its as though the car’s telling you, ‘lets just stay at this pace, we had enough’. Overall, I would say that its good as a 7 seater FAMILY car. 

The interior feels a bit better than 1st generation Exora.. meter cluster is much nicer than in picture.. the illumination is very nice to look at and steering wheel grip also feel more solid.  The sound insulation is much improved.  This is evident when closing the door. "KLUMPH"  It has a much more “premium” feel to it.

It's a very nice driving experience even just on a short 10km route (just managed to drive a few start-stops, a hill climb, and a short highway cruise).. love the “jet turbine” sound effect (faint while with windows up) of the turbo when rev above 2k rpm until 4k rpm. It's very addictive though some might find it annoying.  When driving in SAT mode, the Exora CFE was very quiet and smooth (6 ratios feel).

Ride and handling's impressive.  Lotus did a very good job, limited bodyroll at cornering and went over potholes and glide over speed bumps like "selamba aje!".  

The pick-up power definitely were unbeatable in its class.  0-100km/h is SLIGHTLY BETTER than the Claimed 11.3secs.  It feels more like 10 seconds.  I'd like to give thumbs up to Proton and Lotus for the major improvement on the engine, and NVH.

This is a Fully loaded car with 1.6 CFE engine producing 138ps and  205Nm@2000-4000rpm torque! (Better than Chery Eastar 2.0 (130hp/180Nm) and Innova 2.0L 136hp/182Nm), CVT Gearbox with SAT, Rear discs brake with ABS+EBD+BA. auto cruise, car-like rear suspension,  GPS (Portable), Ceiling mounted DVD-Player, reverse Camera, Rear air-cond control,  2nd+3rd row blowers,  Clarion 6 speakers ICE with Bluetooth and USB/Aux, Leather seats, 205/55R16 rims and tyres. Priced to seduce you: RM79,998 OTR (Add RM1500 from 3 Jan Onwards). What more can you asked for?  

All these features put its ASEAN and China made "old tech" Competitors into Shame, SINGLE Airbag(!) (Avanza and Innova), truck suspension (Avanza and Innova), 4AT GB (Avanza and Innova) and timing chain (Avanza, Innova, G Livina)…  Yet some salesman claimed timing chain is hi-tech…

The power and torque figures produced by 1.6L CFE actually surpasses many 2.0L NA engines namely Chery Eastar (130hp/180Nm) and Toyota Innova (136hp/182Nm). Turbocharged CFE should be treated as a 2.0L equivalent. 

Overall, it is the BEST choice compare with Innova, Avanza, Eastar and Grand Livina…  In short, it is the BEST choice for MPV below RM100K…  

Well there's a saying a picture's worth 1000 words...  Here are the photos...
Above: Front looks very European.  Vauxhall comes to mind.  Below: Nice Smoked rear lights combination 1st seen in Saab 9-3 Combi.
Above: Stylish 205/55R16 new alloy rims and GT Radial tyres. 

Above: Excellent 3rd row headroom. Below: Poor 3rd row legroom (I am 5 feet 9 and 92kg).  2nd row can't slide (fixed).  This is better than ALL below RM100k MPV bar the Innova E.  Overall it is EQUAL legroom to Chery Eastar, Honda Stream, Peugeot 5008/Citroen C4 Picasso and PAWNED Mazda 5, VW Cross Touran and Citra Rondo (Both Head and Legroom) 

Above, the CVT Module.  Below, the lightings (Dashboard) and White dash meters.

Above: Limited boot space with 3rd row seat up.  Below: Reverse Camera

Above: Leather wrapped steering wheel with Auto-cruise and Audio controls.
The ABS Module.

 EXCELLENT Boot space when 3rd row not in use.
 Check out Proton new slogan: COMMITTED TO BE BETTER.  We'll see about that!!!

Finally my Parting shot:

If you want to buy this car, Call me, Jeff for better deal.  012-6852-718.  I shall refer you to 3 of my BEST Service salesman...   1 in Taman Megah, 1 in Mutiara Damansara and 1 in Penang.  An Original Jeff Lim's production, my Original work.