Brian is gone Bro.

Fast And Furious Star Paul Walker Killed In Fiery Car Accident.

 

Paul Walker

‘Brian O Conner’ played by Paul Walker passed away today. He was an icon of the Car Modifying scene that lasted longer than Max Power.  Though his acting was not much to be cheered about, he went beyond that.  He was something most of us gearheads wanted to be.  Driving fast cars for a reason. Maxing out potentials without being caught and suffer.  May Allah be merciful on his soul.

DRB-HICOM mulls ‘Asian Car’ project

DRB-HICOM mulls ‘Asian Car’ project.

This is a momentous occasion.  Not just due to the high profile idea.  Its huge because it means a lot to us in the region.  Its awesomeness is in the fact that someone bought this idea, toys around with it between a few local directors, made a decision and issues out a media statement.  Just think about it.  It is innovative even just thinking about it.  Let us ponder a moment of what a car is.  It is a means of transport and for the vain; a status symbol.

History

Throughout the world, there were foreign auto makers knocking on each country’s door.  The Japanese were the earliest to penetrate and be successful at it. Primarily as Asia was a market for industrial equipment.  Seemingly these marques delivered reliable products.  That is how brands grew back in the good ol’ days.  Branding activities were not so active.  In late 90’s foreign car makers set up shop in Thailand to produce cars meant for the regional market consumption.  Nissan even had made an ASEAN car which was conceived as the Nissan California or known here as the AD Resort.  Honda had their City.  It was only later that Toyota moved the production of the Corrolla to Rayong.  The Thais singled out the Corrolla to become the national taxi.  At the same time they built their Kijang in Indonesia and became a well accepted product.  Ford-Mazda came in late 1996 and produced pickup trucks.  They tried the old Japanese route; selling agriculture workhorses.  The Thais in their ingenuity, like the robustness of the pickup but hated its ride.  So they decided to do things on their own.  Workshops chopped and dropped the ride down to car levels.  They made roofs for the back and plugged in side facing seats.  In the 90’s Toyota changed their lineup from the mid market Corolla to produce lower rung Tercel.  Before the Vios sedan was introduced, the mini MPV Avanza was widely marketed through Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.  Indonesia with its highly populated cities on mainland Java, were bombarded with vans and mini MPVs.  To this day, it remains the biggest market for people movers.  They are used extensively for long distance travel.  Toyota now has a stranglehold on the MPV market in Indonesia through their subsidiary Daihatsu.

Economic

https://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&met_y=ny_gdp_mktp_cd&idim=country:IDN&dl=en&hl=en&q=gdp%20for%20indonesia#!ctype=l&strail=false&bcs=d&nselm=h&met_y=ny_gdp_mktp_cd&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&rdim=region&idim=country:IDN:MYS:THA&ifdim=region&hl=en_US&dl=en&ind=false

While Thailand became the “Detroit City of the East” automotive enthusiasts in Malaysia blame local government policies for hindering our chance at securing these FDIs.  I cannot understand that.  If you are a car fan, why does it matter if production was your neighbour.  Unless you are a car salesman.  You would think having production closer means lower buying cost and bigger margins and/or commission.  People have a misconception about Pricing.  It was back before the Reagan administration that people used to make a car within costs and adds margins ontop of the cost and therefore sell it at that price.  Nowadays, its backwards.  People think about the margins that they want, pick a price that people pay, and then work out the cost to make.  This reaches beyond just automotive products.  With the exception of Financial Services or, if I wanted to be rude; Bankers.

Thailand as a country, sells as much as it buys.  It makes 24% than Malaysia does.  But it has 300% more people than Malaysia.  It has a bigger market size than Malaysia.  But the general population is poorer.  Does not look good.

Indonesia as a country, makes 200% than Malaysia does. But it has 800% more people than Malaysia.  It has the biggest market size but the general population is much poorer.  Does not look good.

The region is home to a lot of foreign industries as they realize the need to be close to the market also gives them lower production costs as we are not stringent with labour and environmental rules.  Therefore you get a lot of FDIs in the region.  But they ensure that profits are repatriated back to their homeland in the guise of foreign income.  They could transfer profit into these countries and get taxed lower than if they keep it home.  The attraction has always been not just the brick-mortar kind.

But production of somebody else’s trade rights does not make your country rich.  Yes, it provides work.  But workers don’t elevate themselves in terms of salary more than profit for a few does.  Neither do they gain any effective knowledge.  The longer one stays on the FDI dependence, the longer it is to get economic independence.  If you look at the figures for Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, guess which one is the poorest?  Detroit of the East.  Have you seen what the actual Detroit looks like nowadays?

Preve Hatchback Spyshot.

VID-20130108-00000.3GP_000036346This is the new Preve Hatchback that has been going around the local scene.  It was detected on the highway leading from KL towards KLIA airport.  It was seen exiting USJ ramp which is quite close to Proton’s production plant in Shah Alam.  The hatch is allegedly powered by Proton’s first forced induction engine which carries the moniker CFE or Campro Fuel Efficiency.  Therefore an amorous Volkswagen Polo Sedan would need to give a bit more if he wants to woo the new car.  The new hatch ignores his advances completely and waits for something better to come her way.

VID-20130108-00000.3GP_000026836A five door hatch with about the same height ad build of the existing Preve is something I would not look forward to.  It is designed with current safety and environmental requirements for it to be sold out of the ASEAN region.  This means the front in large and high to accomodate the pedestrian safety requirements.  It will also have to meet Euro 3 or 4 emission standards.  Therefore there is much strangling of the engine.  The Preve sedan weighs in at 1300kg. The hatch sports a shorter rear overhang, but a larger rear window.  So we might see that weight might not be compromised and stands at the same 1300kg or thereabouts.

Lotus submits new plan to stem losses

Lotus submits new plan to stem losses.

I wish I was part of the turnaround plan.  But alas dear Yorick; it takes more than just passion for a product to enable the company to regain millions of pounds.  It needs astute business sense.  Car and Driver reported Lotus will not be joining the Paris show this year.  I think its a wise decision.

At least for the time being, they need to get out of motorsports.  Sell the Neo as a Lotus brand (wishful thinking).  It was designed by Lotus anyway.  It was designed with the UK market in mind.  Proton wanted to buy into MG by selling the idea of Gen 2 for the Rover 200 and a Neo for MG ZR.

I do really believe that the team in DRB will make it stick.  It seems just hard to accept why they wouldn’t put a CPS engine for the Elise 1.6 and CFS for Elise S.  If the English people think its belittling, tell them its designed by Lotus for goodness sake.  Put a Lotus Cam Valley Cover on the engine.

If the people want cheap thrills, this is it; Elise with an S4PH engine made in Malaysia, Assembled in UK?  At least it gives them jobs.  And hopefully, they’ll shove it up Jeremy’s xxxx if he bats an eyelid over it.