Fast Lane

From left: Mr Michael Peck, general manager of Tridente Automobili; Mr Nicholas Syn, director of Tridente Automobili; Mr Teo Hock Seng, group managing director of Komoco; and Mr Amaury La Fonta, general manager of Maserati South-east Asia Pacific.
From left: Mr Michael Peck, general manager of Tridente Automobili; Mr Nicholas Syn, director of Tridente Automobili; Mr Teo Hock Seng, group managing director of Komoco; and Mr Amaury La Fonta, general manager of Maserati South-east Asia Pacific.PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER TAN.
From left: Mr Michael Peck, general manager of Tridente Automobili; Mr Nicholas Syn, director of Tridente Automobili; Mr Teo Hock Seng, group managing director of Komoco; and Mr Amaury La Fonta, general manager of Maserati South-east Asia Pacific.
PHOTO: PORSCHE
From left: Mr Michael Peck, general manager of Tridente Automobili; Mr Nicholas Syn, director of Tridente Automobili; Mr Teo Hock Seng, group managing director of Komoco; and Mr Amaury La Fonta, general manager of Maserati South-east Asia Pacific.
PHOTO: LAND ROVER

New facility for Maserati focuses on after-sales

Maserati started a new chapter in Singapore yesterday with the opening of Tridente Automobili's new showroom in Leng Kee Road. Tridente is part of the Komoco group of motor franchises owned by hotelier Ong Beng Seng. It took over the Maserati franchise from Hong Seng Motor Motors.

Of the 25,000 sq ft devoted to the brand, Tridente's workshop area accounts for 15,000 sq ft, signifying Tridente's focus on after-sales.

Maserati South-east Asia Pacific general manager Amaury La Fonta says the Italian marque is poised for strong growth. It delivered 42,130 cars globally last year, a sharp rise from 6,200 in 2012.

Mr La Fonta says the near-term target is 70,000, with the new Levante SUV accounting for 40 to 50 per cent of sales. In Singapore, he says Maserati had been underperforming in recent years. Last year, 63 Maserati cars were registered here, down from 75 in 2015 and an average of 69 in each of the previous 10 years. He said sales should be in the "three-digit" territory here.

Komoco group managing director Teo Hock Seng expects to cross the 100-mark "within the calendar year". And by the end of the second year, "we should be profitable".

Komoco's Ferrari agent Ital Auto incurred three consecutive years of losses from 2013. For 2015, it reported a net loss of $4.34 million (from a loss of $4.28 million in 2014). Mr Teo attributed the red ink largely to foreign exchange losses and not trading losses.


Porsche builds one millionth 911

Porsche's factory in Zuffenhausen, Germany, rolled out the millionth 911 on May 11. The Carrera S in "Irish Green" will go straight to the Porsche Museum, to be displayed along with other landmark 911s since the model was first produced in 1963. But before that, the one-millionth 911 - packed with special features - will embark on a world tour, including a road trip in the Scottish Highlands and around the motorsports complex Nurburgring.


Land Rover Discovery Sport to use 2-litre diesel

Land Rover has decided to equip its Discovery Sport with an Ingenium diesel engine. The aluminium 2-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel, found in a list of Jaguar and Land Rover models, offers lots of usable torque and high efficiency.

Only one output version will be available: a 150bhp promising a fuel economy of 5.9 litres/100km and CO2 emission of 156g/km. The car will attain 100kmh in 10.3 seconds and a top velocity of 180kmh.


Volvo to stop making diesel engines

The head of Swedish carmaker Volvo says the company is likely to stop developing new diesel engines because of high costs triggered by stricter regulations, Agence France-Presse reported, quoting an interview published by the German media on Wednesday.

Mr Hakan Samuelsson, chief executive of Volvo Cars, said: "From today's perspective, we will no longer develop any new-generation diesel engines."

The company will continue building its latest model of diesel engines, first developed in 2013, but Mr Samuelsson said it would be too costly to invest in research for a new motor. He said it was unclear how long the current diesel programme would run.


Volvo and Google team up for new infotainment system

Volvo Cars has joined hands with global tech giant Google to develop the next generation of its in-car infotainment system based on Android. Volvo says the partnership reflects an "ongoing convergence between the automotive and technology industries" as cars become increasingly connected.


Singtel partners AXA to promote safer driving

Singtel and AXA Insurance have launched a "smart car solution" aimed at promoting safer driving habits.

The solution, comprising a Modus in-car device and a cloud- based application, analyses driving patterns through a vehicle's onboard diagnostic port. The Modus device will synchronise with an app on the driver's smartphone over Singtel's mobile network. Through the app, the driver will gain "insights" into his braking, acceleration and speeds.

AXA hopes this will improve driving techniques and behaviour.

Christopher Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 20, 2017, with the headline 'Fast Lane'. Print Edition | Subscribe