Malaysia Day Fast Facts: Celebrating Malaysian Automotive Achievements

Happy Malaysia Day, everyone! – Let’s look at six notable Malaysian automotive milestones over the years.

Malaysia has had an extensive record of pushing boundaries and breaking records. With all the talk about cars in Malaysia recently, we thought we’d have some fun and take a look at some of the country’s notable car facts.

1. Malaysia was the first South East Asian country to have an automobile industry

We Malaysians have always been proud of our country when it comes to cars. Did you know that Malaysia was the first country in South East Asia to have an automobile industry? Since the first domestic automobile “PROTON” was manufactured in 1983, our automotive industry has become one of the major industries supporting the Malaysian economy. (Overview of the Malaysian Automotive Industry and Its Future Transformation, 2020).

The Proton Saga was introduced in 1983, making it the first national car and the first passenger car with a Malaysian nameplate. Proton has recently expanded its state-of-the-art plant, Proton City in Tanjung Malim, – to accommodate a significant increase in production capacity.

2. Malaysia’s First Car: The Saga

The first Proton Saga, which made its first appearance on 9 July 1985, was based on a Mitsubishi model after the Japanese car manufacturer agreed to a joint venture with HICOM to produce Malaysia’s first car. It quickly established itself as a favourite among Malaysian car buyers and on 16 March 1989, it was launched in the United Kingdom, where it achieved its sales targets in just six months.

In total, over 1.8 million units have been sold in the last 35 years, making the Saga the most popular model of a Malaysian automotive brand. (Celebrating 35 Years of the Proton Saga, 2020)

3. Sepang was the first modern circuit in South East Asia to host an F1 race in 1999, and Malaysia had its very own F1 driver

The Sepang International Circuit was built in 1999 to host the F1 Malaysian Grand Prix as well as MotoGP races.

The circuit has a variety of fast and slow turns. The first and third sectors of the lap have long straightaways and tight hairpin curves, while the second sector has a mix of medium and high-speed corners. The track was one of the most difficult to date (before it was removed from the F1 calendar in 2017).

Alexander Charles Yoong Loong was the first Malaysian to race in F1. He raced for Minardi in 2001 and 2002. (Top 5 Facts About Sepang International Circuit – Kuala Lumpur, 2017)

4. Malaysia is the third largest car market in the ASEAN region with PROTON exporting to over 26 countries all over the world

Malaysia is the third biggest car market within the ASEAN region with PROTON trading in over twenty-six nations all over the world. The key trade showcase includes Australia, Singapore, the Middle East and the United Kingdom.

Just recently, The Proton X50 made history by setting a new monthly sales volume record and snatched the title of best-selling vehicle in Malaysia for July 2022. (Proton X50 Snatches Best-Selling Vehicle Crown in July, 2022)

5. The Proton R3 Waja won the Formula Drift Singapore 2010 with Tengku Djan behind the wheel

In the mid-2000s, the Proton R3 Waja was built by PROTON to take part in the Formula Drift Singapore 2010. The event saw drivers compete against each other in their specially-modified vehicles across challenging courses that included a skid pad, slalom and hairpin turns.

The event saw our first win in the drift series, with Malaysia’s Tengku Djan beating 42 other drivers to be crowned champion at Formula Drift Asia’s season opener. The feat hasn’t been matched since.

6. Karamjit Singh, the first Malaysian to win the PWRC championship

Karamjit Singh is one of the fastest and most successful Rally drivers in the region. On his first attempt at the championship, Karamjit became World Champion in the FIA Production Car World Rally Championship in 2002 and also won the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship that same year.

The Production World Rally Championship (PWRC) is a class in the World Rally Championship, that features as a support class for the main WRC category.

He was the first Asian to become a world champion in a motorsport’s world championship series, breaking new ground for Malaysian race drivers. (Sherman, 2016)

Bonus Fact – Malaysia’s Car Industry can trace its roots back to 1926!

The Malaysian car industry started in 1926 with the foundation of The Straits Times Car Co Ltd., which imported cars from Britain. In 1933, this company became known as Motor Industries Corporation Sdn. Bhd (MIC).

It was privatised in 1993 under Proton Holdings Berhad and continues producing cars today.
Malaysia has had an interesting history with cars, from being the first country in South East Asia to having an automobile industry to having the first Formula 1 track in the region.

We’ve also produced some notable drivers who have gone on to win championships and races all over the world. So next time you see an – X50 or a Saga, take a moment and think about how much history there is behind that car!

Check out EON’s authorised PROTON dealerships here.


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5 Top Tips For Safe Driving

Keep your family safe on the road at all times

Whether you’re planning for a staycation with your loved ones or heading home to meet family and friends during the balik kampung season, it is important to learn how to stay safe before hitting the road.

There are many important things that a driver should know before any road trip. We have put together the top five tips any driver – newbie or pro – can refer to when you are planning to spend a few hours on the road.

Tip 1: Check Your Car Tyre Pressure And Tread Depth

Under-inflated tyres can be a safety hazard as they can lead to loss of control while driving, especially during wet road conditions. The recommended tyre pressure for your vehicle can be found on a sticker inside the driver’s door. If there is no sticker there, you can also find the recommended pressure in the owner’s manual.

While you’re at it, be sure to check your tyre tread depth too. A quick and easy way to do this is to use a Malaysian 10-sen coin. New tyres usually have a thread depth of 8 to 9mm (half of the 10-sen coin). How do we measure it? Turn the coin so that the word “Bank Negara” is read upside down and insert it in between the tread. It should cover the whole length of the word if it’s new, but if all the alphabets of the words are visible, it means it’s time to change your tyres.

Alternatively, you can also measure it yourself. The world’s largest tyre company, Bridgestone, recommends that you change your tyres when the tread depth drops below 3mm for optimal driving performance. (How to Check Your Tyre Tread, n.d.)

Tip 2: Look Out For Warning Lights

It is important to be aware of the warning lights on your dashboard while driving. These lights indicate an issue with your vehicle that must be addressed immediately. Ignoring these warning lights could put you, your passengers and other road users at risk.

Some common warning lights to watch out for:
– The engine temperature light
– The oil pressure light
– The battery light
– The brake light
– The airbag light
– The engine check light

These warning lights are there for a reason. If you see any of these lights come on, pull over safely and call a tow truck or mechanic to have your car checked.

Tip 3: Keep Your Car Engine Clean And Smooth

Keeping your engine clean is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your safety while driving. While there is no evidence that cleaning your engine bay improves your driving performance, it can help your local mechanic do his or her job more efficiently when you bring your car in. It is also easier to detect any problems with your engine when the time comes. (Do Car Engines Need to Be Cleaned?, 2020)

You can use a damp microfiber cloth with some degreaser to wipe down any grease or oil around your engine bay. You should only clean your engine bay when the engine is cooled off. Be careful not to expose sensitive components such as wires and sensors to water or you could end up having to spend more money repairing them. The simplest way? Send your car to your local mechanic before any road trip.

Having said that, don’t forget to change your oil filter when it is due.

Tip 4: Clean The Car Battery Terminals

This one is a bit tricky if you have never done it before.

Most car batteries are now sealed. However, you do need to clean your car battery terminals to prevent corrosion. You can use items available from your house to clean them but please exercise extra caution to prevent any injuries to you or any damage to your car.

These are the household items you will need:
– White vinegar
– A pair of gloves
– A container
– Cleaning cloths

Put on your gloves and carefully remove the power cables, starting with the negative (black) cables. Then, place the terminals in a container and evenly pour vinegar over both terminals. Wait for an hour, then wipe the terminals with another clean cloth. You can reconnect the cables to your car battery after the terminals have been air-dried. (Car Care Instructions: How to Clean Car Battery Terminals with Vinegar, 2022)

Tip 5: Keep A Check On The Brake Fluid

Checking brake fluid is easy and doesn’t take up too much time.

To check your brake fluid level, find the brake fluid reservoir on your car and look at the level indicator. You can read the owner’s manual to help you locate it.

Most vehicles have a translucent reservoir with a line that says “MAX” or “Full”. The fluid reservoir should be filled to the “MAX” line. If it’s not, you’ll need to add brake fluid to it.

You should always use the type of brake fluid recommended for your vehicle to prevent any problems. If you’re still unsure about it, you can always take your car to your local mechanic. They’ll know what to do.

Bonus: Refer To Your Car User Manual

Driving is fun but maintaining a car can be challenging if you don’t have the right knowledge. Hence, it is important to leave it to the professionals if you don’t feel comfortable doing it. When in doubt, always refer to your car user manual. It will contain everything you need to know about your car.

Looking for a one-stop centre to service your car? We’ve got you covered.


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How digitalisation is changing car-buying behaviour

In the long term, COVID-19 could have a sustained influence, both positive and negative – on mobility, driving changes in the macroeconomic environment, regulatory trends, technology, and consumer behaviour. The ramifications of the pandemic have changed all industries, with some transformed forever by the acceleration of ever more digital retail experiences for consumers. We will attempt to deepen our understanding of this.

Today, most people love the idea of getting products delivered to them and the pandemic has further accelerated this movement with “doorstep delivery” becoming a mantra for brands.

More customers emphasise health, safety, and reliability

Based on a 2020 research paper from McKinsey & Company, journey time, cost and convenience have traditionally played key deciding roles when it came to customers choosing their desired transport modes. Due to the severity of COVID-19, reducing the risk of infections is the top reason many travellers make those choices, overtaking even the journey time in importance. That is the case for both private and business trips. Interestingly, the trip price has lost relevance, especially for private travel. (Five COVID-19 Aftershocks Reshaping Mobility’s Future, 2020)

Reducing the risk of infection has become the primary reason for the choice of a mode of transportation

The chart above shows that priorities have changed; the risk of infection was at the bottom half of the chart but leaps to the top as a direct result of the pandemic. Consumers are likely to choose a mode of transport that ensures they are distanced away from others, so private modes of mobility like cars and bikes could impact public transportation demand. (Five COVID-19 Aftershocks Reshaping Mobility’s Future, 2020)

Car ownership has evolved worldwide, and Malaysia is catching up

With economies returning to normalcy over the coming months, a consumer’s vehicle purchase intent is getting more robust, driven by pent-up demand during the various stages of lockdowns. Based on the 2020 EY Mobility Consumer Index, age groups between 24 and 39 will be driving up car ownership worldwide as they seek personal mobility.

And that rings true in Malaysia as well, as COVID-19 has changed people’s attitudes toward car ownership. The report found that nearly a third (31 percent) of non-car owners expressed intention to buy a car in the months Nov 2020 to May 2021, with the impact of the pandemic being a top reason for doing so. We could see a similar push happening now as restrictions ease up. (Millennials to Lead COVID-induced Car Ownership Boom – EY Survey, 2020)

At EON Berhad (“EON”), we are primed to provide the best possible service to all our customers. By developing and adopting a digital-first approach to enable a ‘contactless’ experience for our customers across our sales and after-sales touchpoints.

The future is electric, with Malaysia’s charging network still growing

Ever since Budget 2022 was presented in October last year, the buzzword has been “EVs” or electric vehicles. Globally, this sector has progressed by leaps and bounds, especially in the west, but within Malaysia, adoption has been slow. Beyond encouraging the public to switch to EVs for sustainability reasons, the economic push is also there for Malaysia to invest in greener tech. Public charging stations remain a challenge, with charging infrastructure lacking outside major cities. (Foong, 2021)

There is hope, however, as several initiatives have been announced by both the Government and the private sector to close this gap. With Malaysia now declaring its aim to be carbon neutral in 28 years (2050), this should spur the right policies and laws to help us reach this enviable target. Once the station count rises, the demand for EVs should rise accordingly. (Foong, 2021)

Business Today projected that almost six million battery packs will be retired from electric vehicles per year by 2030. That number would also eventually include those from ridesharing fleets. The aim would be that these packs can be repurposed for secondary usage – and even used to build remote substations for storing electricity from renewable energy sources. (Foong, 2021)

Buying a car online has never been easier, the online showroom experience

In light of the rise of EVs, Google’s data stations have shown that more than 90% of car buyers have turned to online sources of information like YouTube, and professional and consumer reviews.

Their expectations include a much faster turnaround to their queries. It is reported that 56% of car buyers say they visit a dealer’s website during their research journey, which is up from 40% in 2017, while 60% of car buyers research online to find their local dealership — an increase of more than 10 percentage points from 2016. (Bansal, n.d.)

The pandemic has changed business as we know and see it. And as automakers shift to moving cars again, understanding the new ways people shop and buy, as well as customer expectations, will be key to failure or success.


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