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BMW expands Takata air bag recall to nationwide US

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DETROIT: BMW has expanded a US regional recall for certain vehicles with driver-side air bag inflators made by Takata Corp to cover the entire country, following the lead of four rivals that have taken similar steps. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has urged the carmakers to broaden the recall beyond a limited area with high humidity and they have gradually followed suit. Takata has said that extended exposure to high humidity could damage the propellant in the inflators, causing them to spray vehicle occupants with metal shrapnel when the air bags inflate. The German luxury automaker said it told…

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Singapore to respond to Malaysia’s VEP fee

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SINGAPORE: The Transport Ministry is studying Malaysia’s new levy on foreign-registered vehicles going into the country from Singapore, and will decide on a response “in due course”. “We note among other things that it will not be uniformly applied at all of Malaysia’s land borders,” a ministry spokesman said yesterday. A Malaysian newspaper reported on Saturday that Malaysia plans to charge a RM20 (S$7.60) in vehicle entry permit (VEP) at two entry points in Johor, at the Causeway and the Second Link. It will kick in from around the middle of next year. Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Kaprawi…

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Audi brings 3D sound into the car

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INGOLSTADT, GERMANY: Audi is renowned for establishing new milestones in sound quality, and its latest 3D sound technology will be making its debut in the Audi Q7 premium SUV (sport utility vehicle) in 2015. It is available as a component of the Advanced Sound System from Bang & Olufsen and also of Bose Surround Sound. At its core is a complex algorithm that calculates the control signals for each speaker swiftly and precisely. Audi developed it for the Bang & Olufsen system in partnership with the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits in Erlangen. The algorithm is able to calculate a…

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November vehicle sales increase to 55,313 units

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KUALA LUMPUR: Sales of passenger and commercial vehicles in November 2014 increased to 55,313 units from 52,252 units in the same period last year, said the Malaysian Automative Association (MAA). In a statement today, the association said the passenger vehicle segment recorded higher sales of 48,622 units during the month under review, compared with 45,749 units in the corresponding month last year. “Sales of commercial vehicles rose to 6,691 units in November 2014 from 6,503 units registered in the same period in 2013,” it said. MAA said the November 2014 sales volume was 5.9 per cent, or 3,061 units, higher…

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BMW to start hydrogen car tests

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MUNICH: The German sports and executive car builder has confirmed it’s about to throw its considerable expertise behind hydrogen fuel cell cars but if you’re waiting for a hydrogen-powered 5-Series to go on sale before making the jump to greener motoring, you could be disappointed. That’s because despite the potential benefits that hydrogen offers – a fuel cell car can be refueled at a filling station just like a gas-powered vehicle and the only emission from a hydrogen car is water vapour – this refilling and supply infrastructure is still at an embryonic stage. In an interview with Autocar, BMW…

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Proton ready to team up on Asean car project, says CEO

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KUALA LUMPUR: Proton Holdings Bhd says it is ready to collaborate in the Asean car project. Proton chief executive officer Datuk Abdul Harith Abdullah said Asean was the next largest growing market in the world after China and that Asean countries should protect their own market territory by producing their own home-grown products. “We would be very happy to extend our market deeper into other Asean countries with their collaboration, in expanding our brand further,” he said when asked to comment on the Asean car project, which was discussed by Malaysian and Indonesian leaders in October. On Oct 20, Prime…

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Car personalisation trending

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PARIS: 2014 is the year car brands and consumers got hooked on customization. One of the standout automotive trends of 2014 has been carmakers’ increasing focus on personalization. But what is driving this trend, is it just a fad, and if not, where is it going? The end of mass consumption is nigh. In fact, according to Philippe Claverol, director of brand strategy and experience for DS, Citroen’s new premium marque, in many areas it’s already over. “People want personalization and consideration. People want to feel more and more that they are an individual,” he says. It’s a growing, increasingly…

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Design elements key for car consumers, says study

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SAN FRANCISCO: Forget reliability, performance or high-tech features when it comes to cars, consumers are more likely to fall for looks than anything else. Researchers from San Francisco State University, led by associate professor of marketing Minu Kumar, set out to understand what it is about a particular car or marque that creates loyalty or ignites a spark of passion among consumers. They examined data from over 700 consumers relating to their opinions of 30 vehicles based on elements such as styling, perceived workmanship, safety and cost and discovered that looks have the biggest influence. Aesthetes are obviously the major…

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Aventador Pirelli Edition announced

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BOLOGNA: Lamborghini has announced production of an exclusive new special series, the Aventador LP 700-4 Pirelli Edition, created to celebrate the long and ongoing history of collaboration with Pirelli. The partnership began back in 1963, the year the House of the Raging Bull was established, and since then all Lamborghini cars have been equipped with Pirelli tyres. The new Aventador Pirelli Edition, available in Coupé and Roadster versions, will be produced in a special series and is available to order now from dealers, for delivery early summer 2015. The super sports car maintains all its technical features, first and foremost…

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Hyundai to debut smartphone optimised in-car infotainment

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FOUNTAIN VALLEY, CALIFORNIA: Hyundai is doing the unthinkable at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) by showing a new Display Audio system with no CD player or embedded navigation system. Display Audio is a high resolution seven-inch color touch-screen display that has been optimized specifically for enhanced smartphone integrations and the latest generation Blue Link system. iPhone owners can use Apple CarPlay to take the familiar features from their iPhones and put them right on the touch-screen display while driving. Android Auto brings the Android experience into the car by ‘projecting’ apps and services into the Display Audio system. Android…

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