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Volkswagen CEO Winterkorn to stay in defeat for chairman

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BERLIN:  Martin Winterkorn will stay on as chief executive of Volkswagen, the German carmaker said today, in an unprecedented defeat for its powerful chairman, Ferdinand Piech. Piech, the patriarch of Volkswagen’s founding family, had provoked a showdown with Winterkorn by planting a comment in weekly magazine Der Spiegel last week that he had “distanced himself” from his CEO. A top VW committee met in Salzburg on Thursday to try to resolve the row and gave Winterkorn its full backing. “The executive committee places great importance on the fact that Martin Winterkorn will pursue his role as Chairman of the Board…

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Hyundai Veloster Turbo launched

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KUALA LUMPUR: Say hello to the new Hyundai Veloster Turbo, the pocket rocket with the most as it packs a 1.6 litre twin-scroll turbocharged engine with Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT) which outputs a whopping 186PS and 265Nm of torque. The Veloster Turbo was launched on Friday (Apr 17) at Hyundai’s latest boutique showroom in Bangsar and comes in two variants – Turbo and Turbo Sport – and is priced at RM152,476 and RM156,213 respectively (all prices are on-the-road with insurance). “The 1.6 litre Veloster Turbo demonstrates Hyundai’s innovation in powertrain technologies, optimising…

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Audi prologue allroad concept revealed ahead of Shanghai

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INGOLSTADT: This is the Audi prologue allroad plug-in hybrid – the German carmaker’s third member in the Prologue family with a new design language and 724bhp. First the world caught a glimpse of the Audi prologue, which was followed by the Audi prologue Avant and soon we will see the Audi prologue allroad making its world premier at Auto Shanghai. Powerful and efficient is how Audi is describing its latest all terrain five-door concept that measures 5,130mm-long with its raised body, while possessing an operating concept that enables digital interaction between driver and passengers. Additionally, the Audi prologue allroad is 77mm…

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GT Line plays up the fun in Peugeot

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PARIS: BMW has its ultimate M cars, Mercedes-Benz its AMG and even Renault has its own range of hot hatch with RS badgery. Now Peugeot wants in on the game by introducing its visually and mechanically sportier GT Line. The French carmaker is applying their beefed-up interpretation to its new 208, 308, 508 and of course the RCZ top give their customers a new choice that possesses dynamic styling and equipment that gets packaged with affordable engines. For identification purposes, the GT Line models possess larger wheel, twin exhausts, a RedLine colour scheme on the touchscreen, full-LED headlamps (308 &…

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Malaysian vehicle sales jump in March ahead of GST

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KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian vehicle sales jumped to 67,314 units in March 2015, which was an increase of 33.6% from February ahead of the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on April 1. According to the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) on Friday, this was the second highest monthly sales since July 2013 where sales volume had then surged to 68,451 units. “The surge was due to very attractive offers and incentives given by car companies to clear stocks prior to the implementation of the GST,” it said. Of the 67,314 units sold in March, the MAA said 59,318 were…

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VW unveils new Scirocco GTS

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SHANGHAI: Volkswagen unveiled the new Scirocco GTS  ahead of its world premiere at Auto Shanghai. The Scirocco GTS comes with the R-Line package “Exterieur” as standard, which includes distinctive R-style bumpers (at the front with integrated fog lamps and glossy black radiator and air inlet grilles), custom side sill extensions, a roof spoiler (also R-style) and a diffuser. The wing mirror caps are painted in black and, just like its predecessor, the ’82 Scirocco GTS, the new model can be ordered with a sporty GTS decal for the body as an option (standard in China). This option features two decorative…

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Chinese automaker Geely gears up for push into Europe, US

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BEIJING: Chinese automaker Geely is set to start producing a small crossover utility vehicle late next year – the first car to be built using a common platform jointly developed with Volvo. The car – yet to be named – will hit showrooms in China in early 2017, several European markets a year or so later, and eventually the United States, said two senior executives, one of whom recently left the Chinese group. The new car will be based on a common platform called Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) and engine technology that Zhejiang Geely Holding Group has developed with Volvo…

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No factory for old men: Hyundai Motor seeks to end seniority-based pay

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SEOUL: In a bid to curb rising domestic labour costs, Hyundai Motor Co is seeking to base wages on merit not seniority in an overhaul of a decades-old salary system that puts the South Korean firm on a collision course with its activist union. South Korea is the world’s fastest ageing major economy, and high labor costs are eroding its manufacturers’ competitive edge as economic growth slows. If Hyundai Motor, one of South Korea’s biggest employers, succeeds in revamping its pay structure, other companies are likely to follow suit. That will accelerate a move away from a wage system still…

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Proton has big plans for Lotus in China

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KUALA LUMPUR: Lotus aims to make inroads into China through a joint venture  that would hasten the development of its cars there, leveraging on the incentives offered by the Fujian provincial government. Lotus parent Proton recently signed the agreement with Lotus Group International Limited and Chinese company Goldstar Heavy Industrial Co. Ltd. Proton CEO Datuk Abdul Harith Abdullah said the agreement would see the formation of a new joint venture company that would undertake research and development (R&D) activities in the use of efficient and advanced technology. “The joint venture company will then produce and sell Lotus branded passenger cars…

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With SUVs, Chinese carmakers at last unsettle foreign brands

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BEIJING: Two years ago, just one Chinese SUV ranked among the country’s top-10. In the first three months of this year, that number jumped to eight – a sign that Chinese automakers may have found their sweet-spot to battle foreign rivals in the world’s biggest car market. Despite preferential government policies, local carmakers have failed to really compete with foreign automakers like Volkswagen AG and General Motors in sedan sales. Shifting the battleground to the roomier sport utility vehicle segment may bring more success. “The domestic SUV market has entered a period of enduring, rapid growth, the market scope has…

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