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Posts Tagged ‘subaru’

Subaru throws AWD challenge at other SUVs

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Road shows by car companies offering the public to test their latest models are exceedingly common, but Subaru is adding a new twist to the concept by inviting owners of other brands of SUVs to put the 4WD capabilities of their vehicles to test in the Subaru AWD Challenge going up against the Forester 2.0XT.

The challenge will consist of four obstacles, namely Cross Roller, Slip-roller, Roller Conveyor, and Side Ramp, which are designed to mimic off-road slippery, muddy and hilly conditions respectively. The three-day event will take place this Friday to Sunday, 11 – 13 April 2014, from 10:00am to 7:00pm daily at Car Park 2 of Desa Park City, behind the Waterfront.

Picture: Official Subaru release.

Gritty finalists push Subaru Challenge past 75-hour mark

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

The 2013 edition of the annual MediaCorp Subaru Challenge came to a spectacular end last weekend after a gruelling 75-hour contest which saw 43-year-old Singaporean Mr. Yusman Wright triumphing over his countryman Mr. Sunawr Ali. Both veterans of the contest, the duo had collectively amassed 12 appearances in previous editions of the Challenge.

Armed with determination and steely resolve, contestants of the 2013 Challenge faced some of the most testing conditions seen in the competition’s 12-year history. Three contestants dropped out after fainting in the arena and the Challenge was suspended for 66 minutes on the third day due to thunderstorms. Contestants this year are considered to be the toughest the Challenge has seen.

Going into the final day at the Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza where the challenge was held, supporters were present in droves to cheer on the surviving contestants. Amongst them were 18-year-old Novell Erysha, Mr Wright’s daughter who was a pillar of strength supporting her father throughout the four days.

Novell revealed that her father had signed up to participate in the Challenge again this year without her mother’s knowledge. “He decided to secretly try again this year, and he definitely made the right decision. I’m very proud that he finally won. It’s been torturous watching him compete every year without winning,” she said. We are sure the wife’s anger would be easier to placate with a brand new car in hand.

This year’s Challenge was Wright’s fifth attempt, and his final time of 75 hours and 1 minute had exceeded his previous best time of 73 hours. Wright’s winning moment came when runner-up Sunawr was disqualified as officials noticed that his palm was raised slightly from the car.

“In the final hours of the Challenge, the rules are very strict. It’s quite unfortunate that this happened, but I’m also very proud of my dear friend Yusman, whom I have known over the years just by participating in the MediaCorp Subaru Challenge. I wish him the best, and I’m happy for his win,” said the SMRT train officer, who walked away with a S$5,000 cash prize.

For Wright, his persistence and perseverance was rewarded by the grand prize of an all-new Subaru Forester 2.0i Premium worth S$85,000 (without COE) which was presented to him by Mr Glenn Tan, Executive Director, Tan Chong International Ltd and Ms Florence Lian, Managing Director, Radio Division, MediaCorp.

“The contestants this year demonstrated great determination. I’m amazed at how the two local contestants pulled through the final hours of the Challenge as they went head-to-head. Yusman’s great persistence to hold on paid off and I congratulate him for winning the Challenge after his fifth attempt,” said Mr Glenn Tan.

In recognition of the regional contestants’ efforts, the title of Country Winner and a cash prize of S$1,000 went to the last standing representative from each country.

The last-standing regional contestant, 31-year-old Mr. Alex Neblasca from the Philippines walked away with S$5,000 in cash and the title of Asian Winner. He was also the second runner-up with a timing of 70 hours 53 minutes.

The Country Team Winner title – with a cash prize of S$10,000, was awarded to the Philippines team who achieved the longest combined standing time of 518 hours 41 minutes (the total time of all 10 representatives from the same country).


Pictures: Official Subaru release.

STI releases limited edition Subaru BRZ tS

Monday, August 19th, 2013

The high-performance arm of Fuji Heavy Industries, Subaru Tecnica International (STI), has released its take of the Subaru BRZ, which goes on sale in Japan today. Enhanced by motorsports know-how accumulated through years of rallying, the Subaru BRZ tS will also be sold in limited numbers, ensuring exclusivity.

Subaru’s brief press release announcing the car made no mention of engine upgrades or incorporation of the brand’s famous Symmetrical AWD system, and it is safe to say neither are forthcoming. Expect better sound, however, courtesy of an exclusively-tuned Sound Creator. Power still flows only to the rear, but now with an STI-designed large-diameter driveshaft.

The bulk of STI’s enhancements are applied to the chassis for improved handling. Stopping power is boosted by 17″ discs all-round clamped by four-pot calipers in front and two pots at the rear. The front suspension is braced with a flexible tower bar and stiffener, with retuned struts and springs thrown in. The rear features a redesigned link with pillow ball bush complete with retuned dampers and coils. The electronic Vehicle Dynamics Control system is also re-calibrated.

Cosmetic enhancements come in the form of front under spoiler, front fender garnish, 18″ x 7.5J aluminium wheels (shod in 225/40 ZR18 Michelin Pilot Super Sports) and the usual distribution of STI badges. Inside, the BRZ tS gets its own exclusive STI seats, steering, gear lever, instrument panel, carbon dash trim, and aluminium sill plates.

Customers with a bit more money can splurge on the optional GT Package which adds a two-angle adjustable carbon rear spoiler, black BBS rims, and Recaro front seats. Subaru plans to sell no more than 500 units of the Japan-only BRZ tS in total, and it will close order books by 9 March 2014. For further exclusivity, the company also plans to entertain no more than 250 requests for the GT Package.


Pictures: Official Subaru release.

Singaporean wins Subaru Challenge after 78 hours of perseverance

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

The annual MediaCorp Subaru Challenge 2012 – The Asian Face-Off concluded this year at the 78-hour 30-minute mark, the second longest winning time since the challenge started 11 years ago. Three-time participant Mr Tholmas Gan from Singapore was the winner this year, taking home a brand new Subaru XV 1.6 worth S$80,800 before COE.

Gan, a software engineer by trade, was a direct entry contestant selected from an online competition organized by Motor Image on the I Love Subaru Facebook fan page. His winning time was a little more than two hours short of the 80-hour 32-minute record that was set in 2008.

At the conclusion of the challenge, Gan said, “I am very excited to be the winner since this is my third time participating in the challenge for three consecutive years. I am really happy to win the car and I can’t wait to see my family after being away for four days.”

It was a gruelling challenge for the participants, though a heavy downpour on the third afternoon brought a welcome respite for the contestants who had earlier braved through 50 hours of hot weather. At that point, 36 contestants were still standing out in the open at the Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza – 25 from Singapore, and 11 from regional teams including Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The Vietnamese were notably resilient, with five contestants still in the running at this stage.

Hundreds of supporters were present throughout the duration of the challenge to give encouragement to the contestants. Several former winners and participants were present too, among them Mr Abdul Hamid bin Jonid, or better known as ‘Kacang’, who dropped by on the third night.

To mark the Challenge’s 11th anniversary, the first break time was extended from the usual five minutes by a further 11 seconds. Also, for the first time in the challenge’s history, the last 11 participants were awarded a ‘Wild Card’, from which they can choose a list of items from a drink to a burger, and contestants needed to use the card wisely to their advantage.

By the 72-hour mark, however, the number of contestants has dwindled to ten, all of them male, with six from Singapore and one each from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. In addition to the top prize, there were also titles of Country Winner with a cash prize of S$1,000 going to the last standing representative of each country, and the Asian Winner with a cash prize of S$5,000 going to the longest-standing regional contestant.

It was down to Gan and Mr G Jaishanker in the final reckoning, but the 47-year-old catering officer eventually succumbed and had to settle for the runners-up cash prize of S$5,000. Beaten but not broken, Jaishanker has promised to return for the 2013 challenge. The Asian Winner was Samach Tepsen of Thailand, who was the second runner-up, and the last-standing non-Singaporean with a time of 76 hours 8 minutes. The Vietnamese contingent took home a cash prize of S$10,000 after being crowned Country Team Winner having achieved the longest combined standing time of 528 hours 56 minutes from its 10 contestants.

“This was a rather surprising result in the 11-year history of the event. After the blistering heat of the first two days I was convinced there would be an early finish to this year’s event and I am totally amazed at the resilience of the contestants. They really did dig incredibly deep to stay the distance,” said Mr Glenn Tan, Executive Director, Tan Chong International.


Pictures: Official Subaru release.

10 Malaysians to enter finals of Subaru Palm Challenge 2012

Friday, September 14th, 2012

The annual Subaru Palm Challenge 2012 commenced last weekend at the Piazza, The Curve in Petaling Jaya, with hundreds of spectators witnessing the efforts of 62 Malaysians to win of ten spots to represent the country in the MediaCorp Subaru Challenge – The Asian Face Off finals to be held in Singapore on 27 – 31 October.

To recap, last year’s Asian Face Off challenge was won by 42-year-old Singaporean Mr Chong Kiat Chi, who ousted 399 other challengers by lasting 75 hours and 36 minutes to take home the grand prize of a Subaru Impreza WRX.

Contestants were queuing from as early as 6am to draw lots for their positions around the two cars on display, hoping for the best spot. Out of the 62 registered participants, 55 were male with the remaining seven being female. The challenge was managed by a total of 16 marshals, including two chief marshals, who ensured fair play throughout the event.

The challenge itself start at 10am, and it took nine and a half hours before the ten finalists were confirmed. Participants were required to place their right palm firmly on the lot drawn while completing all seven elimination rounds. On top of the elimination tasks, participants were separated into two teams based on the car they were assigned to. Teams then had to challenge each other by singing and rapping to win a bonus seven second break.

By the first elimination round at 1pm several participants had already given in to the heat, with the blazing sun wearing participants down even quicker. A further two elimination rounds were held at 2pm and 3pm respectively, in which participants had to stand on their left leg with their left arm vertically up.

A brief respite came at 4pm in the form of a 10-minute break during which participants were allowed to use the limited time for light refreshments (such as bananas, watermelon pieces and sandwiches prepared by Subaru) or to use the restroom during.

The game was upped after the break, and light showers at 4:30pm added further test to the resolve of participants. There were another four elimination rounds after that, and by the final elimination round, 17 male contestants and only one female contestant were left. For the final showdown, participants were required to balance two 500ml bottles of water 90 degrees horizontally with their left arm while standing only on their right leg.

After nine and a half grueling hours standing under the hot sun and rain, the last 10 standing had much to celebrate as this would be their ticket to Asian Face Off. The 10 Malaysian champions will compete against the 310 Singapore local contestants and 80 other challengers from across the region to win a brand new Subaru car.

The 10 Malaysian leg winners received an all-expense paid trip to the Lion City from the 26th – 31st of October for the finals, a watch worth up to RM1,600 sponsored by Orient and Subaru merchandise which included a t-shirt, cap and toiletries bag, amongst other premium items.

Names of the ten finalists are:
1. Tan Hong Sheng
2. Dzul Fadly bin Ismail
3. Ganesan Thavasimuthu
4. Chang Wei Khang
5. Tan Yeo Chian
6. Tan Chuan Kok
7. Lee Hoong Kit
8. Tan Chuan Meng
9. Chan Hon Ki
10. Soh Kee Leong

Pictures: Official Subaru release.

Subaru after-sales receive highest satisfaction in J.D. Power survey

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Subaru has emerged top among 12 brands ranked in the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2011 Australia Customer Service Index (CSI) Study published earlier this week. Against an industry average of 793, Subaru scored 815 in the 1,000-point scale measured based on five factors which are, in order of importance, service quality, vehicle pick-up, service advisor, service initiation, and service facility.

Also performing well were Honda, Toyota, and Mitsubishi, all of whom scored above the industry average with 811, 804, and 803 points respectively. The results were obtained from a two-month study fielded in August and September 2011 involving 4,137 new vehicle owners who purchased their vehicles between August 2006 and August 2011, and then took their vehicles for servicing between August 2010 and August 2011.

Short service times naturally improve customer satisfaction, and findings from the study show that vehicles returned within three hours average 817 points compared to 776 scored by vehicles that take a longer time. Nevertheless, it was found that 59% of customers had to endure waiting periods in excess of three hours.

“Customers wait an average six hours for their vehicle to be serviced,” said Mohit Arora, executive director at J.D. Power Asia Pacific, Singapore.

Arora then added, “Dealers that provide expedient service not only delight their customers, but also benefit from dealership profitability as a result of higher levels of asset utilization.”

Handling of service appointments was also found to have a big impact on scores. Dealers who are able to slot their customers in within two days score average 828 points in satisfaction. In contrast, satisfaction was found to decline considerably to an average of 748 among customers who wait eight days or more for their service appointment.

“When customers in Australia call the dealership to make a service appointment, the average wait time to receive service is five days,” said Arora.

“Reducing wait times for service appointments not only increases overall satisfaction, but also improves customer retention rates,” he added.


Charts: Official J.D. Power release.

Singaporean wins Subaru Palm Challenge in home ground

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

What would you do to win yourself a brand new Subaru Impreza WRX? Would you brave unpredictable weather in excess of 75 hours out in the open? Not an easy task to be sure, but 42-year-old Mr Chong Kiat Chi managed the feat at the recently concluded 2011 MediaCorp Subaru Impreza WRX Challenge.

The 400 contestants started the contest at Ngee Ann City, with 310 Singaporeans mixing it with 90 regional representatives from the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and China. Ten Malaysians were part of the starting 400. When the contest entered its third day on Tuesday, only 62 were left standing.

When the contest reached its 68th hour mark, only eight remained, and seven of them were Singaporeans. By the time 70 hours had elapsed, Ms Lily Lim dropped out, leaving a three-way fight between Chong, Abdul Hamid Jonid a.k.a. ‘Kacang’, and Tilani Haresh Lachmandas.

The contest was ultimately decided on the 75th hour. Eight minutes into the hour, Kacang’s hand slipped, and out he went to the despair of his fervent supporters. Tilani held his ground for a further 27 minutes before lifting his hand off the designated spot, handing the S$92,800 (without COE) WRX to Chong.

Tilani’s efforts didn’t count for nothing, with the 27-year-old commercial exect pocketing S$5,000 for his troubles. For the regional contestants, those who lasted longest among their country fellows take home S$1,000 each. For being top amongst regional contestants, Mr Neblasca, Alex Jr., Jose of the Philippines was recipient of a S$5,000 cash prize, whilst Thai participants, for accumulating the most number of hours among participating countries, received S$1,000 each.


Pictures: Official Motor Image release.

See also: Subaru Palm Challenge 2011 – Malaysia leg produces 10 finalists for Singapore finals

Subaru Palm Challenge 2011 – Malaysia leg produces 10 finalists for Singapore finals

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

The annual Subaru Palm Challenge returns for 2011, with the Malaysian leg having taken place last weekend at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur. Some 57 participants, some of whom arrived as early as 7am, signed up for the challenge to be in the running for the grand prize of a Subaru Impreza 2.0R.

The contestants had to place their right palm firmly on the palm decals of the car for as long as it took. They also had to go through a series seven of elimination rounds with physical and mental challenges in order to narrow the pack to the last 10 standing. Tasks ranged from standing on one leg for 10 minutes to holding two bottles of water with their left hand raised horizontally overhead while standing on one leg.

In the end, the final 10 emerged after 10 hours 39 minutes; Tan Chuan Kok, Yoon Kok Leong, Mohd Fadhlly R. Azmi, Richard Law Choon Keat, Jonathan David William, Chan Hon Ki, Amier Amzar Akbarudin, Hubert Koh Kim Whatt, Saw Sen Chiew and Tan Hong Sheng. They will be representing Malaysia to compete with the other 390 participants from other Asian countries in Singapore on 29th October 2011.

On top of the all-expenses paid trip to compete in the Singapore regional finals, each of the top 10 finalists are already going home with a Toshiba LCD TV. Contestants also have the chance to win cash prizes for:
- Country Winner (awarded to the last person standing from each country),
- Asian Winner (awarded to the last person standing from all regional countries except Singapore)
- Country Team prize (awarded to the country team that lasts the longest. This is done by combining all of the individual team members’ timings).


Pictures: Official Motor Image release

Subaru Pulls out of WRC

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

It’s going to be a bleak year for rallying next year


Yesterday Suzuki said it was suspending WRC activities. that was not good news but not really bad either since Suzuki is not a big name in rallying but when Fuji Heacy Idnustries pulled the plug on their rallying activities, the world lost one of the most famous reallying badge, Subaru.

The reason? Do I have to tell you?

What else, the economic downturn.

If there is any good news for rallying to day, its the fact that Subaru is nto ruling out  a return to WRC when their bank manager is a little less nervous.

I think that the decision by Subaru to pull out will only speed up the introduction of the S2000 specs cars as customer teams will probably migrate towards the class to take up the manufacturer’s void.


Citroen and their all-conquering Sebastien Loeb  will have very little competition next year and that will make Rallyign a lot less excitign to watch.

The best solution for 2009, is to encourage the S2000 field to grow and focus attention on this cheaper form of rallying and prove to everyone that less cost will not necessarily mean less excitement.

I hope some of the pictures of Scoobies in action will make you guys less sad :-(   Bah…who am I kidding


 Below is the full Press Release from the WRC

Subaru pulls out of the WRC

subaru_impreza_wrc_2006_02_m.jpgSubaru has announced its decision to withdraw from the 2009 World Rally Championship.

Prodrive, the company which runs the team on behalf of Subaru, broke the news at 0900hrs this morning. It said the decision was sudden and had been made in response to the economic downturn currently affecting the automotive industry.

Yesterday Suzuki confirmed it would not be back in 2009 for similar reasons.

The Subaru World Rally Team was established in 1989, when the Japanese manufacturer teamed up with British based motor sport specialists Prodrive. Since then the team has won six World Rally Championship titles – most recently the drivers’ title with Petter Solberg in 2003. In recent years, however, the team has struggled to find its previous rally winning form. It last won a rally on the stages in Mexico 2005.

“This is not only sad news for Subaru and the team, but also for millions of rallying fans around the world,” said Prodrive chairman David Richards.

“Subaru’s departure from the World Rally Championship is a great loss as it is one of the sport’s icons. The Subaru World Rally Team has created true champions such as Colin McRae and Richard Burns and its absence will be felt by many the world over. Although this decision closes a significant chapter in Prodrive’s history, our focus now turns to the future.”

While the Subaru World Rally Team historically represented a significant part of Prodrive’s business, today it accounts for no more than 20 per cent of turnover. Prodrive says it will look to redeploy as many of the rally team as possible in other areas of its business operations.

There is no news yet from Subaru about how the decision will affect Subaru’s driver Petter Solberg/Phil Mills and Chris Atkinson/Stephane Prevot, or whether the company plans to return to the sport in the future.

Prodrive, however, is already lining up its own rally return saying “2010 will see the introduction of new World Rally Championship technical regulations, which provide Prodrive with an opportunity to prepare for re-entering the championship with a new team and build on its 24 years of World Rally Championship experience and success.”

Prodrive also pledged to support its own customer rally teams for 2009 and beyond. Over the past 15 years, Prodrive has sold close to 500 rally cars to more than 400 private competitors and independent rally teams in 47 countries.

Insurance Institute of Highway Safety’s Top Safety Picks of 2009

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

Some hours ago, someone in a press room in Stuttgart put together a news release to announce to the world that the W204 Mercedes-Benz C-class was named in as one of 2009′s Top Safety Picks by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), adding another star to the C-class’ cap after receiving a five star rating by EuroNCAP. In essence, the IIHS’ crash test IS the United States’ answer to the EuroNCAP.

In the IIHS crash tests, cars are subject to frontal and side crashes, besides a rear impact test where evaluations to the cars’ protection against neck injury are evaluated. According to Mercedes, the W204 scored ‘top marks’ for each of the criteria, but whether the term is defined to mean maximum marks or highest marks among competitors could not be ascertained.

The US spec C-class which was tested had seven airbags, belt tensioners, belt force limiters and NECK PRO crash-responsive head restraints fitted as standard. Buyers can also opt for an anticipatory occupant protection system (dubbed PRESAFE) which pre-activates certain safety systems when it anticipates a collision to be imminent – a system that Mercedes claims would reduce the impact on occupants by as much as 40%.

Merc C-class, one of 72 Top Safety Picks of 2009
Merc C-class, one of 72 Top Safety Picks of 2009

But, I was not going to just take Mercedes’ side of the story, and thus I went on to examine the claims at the IIHS’ official website (link here) where they listed no fewer than 72 Top Safety Picks for 2009 with another 26 ‘also-rans’. Here they are: (cars sold in Malaysia highlighted in bold)

Large cars
Acura RL
Audi A6
Cadillac CTS
Ford Taurus
Lincoln MKS
Mercury Sable
Toyota Avalon
Volvo S80

Midsize cars
Acura TL, TSX
Audi A3, A4
BMW 3 series 4-door models
Ford Fusion
with optional electronic stability control
Honda Accord 4-door models
Mercedes C class
Mercury Milan
with optional electronic stability control
Saab 9-3
Subaru Legacy
(previously sold in Malaysia)
Volkswagen Jetta, Passat

Midsize convertibles
Saab 9-3
Volkswagen Eos
Volvo C70

Small cars
Honda Civic 4-door models (except Si) with optional electronic stability control
Mitsubishi Lancer with optional electronic stability control
Scion xB
Subaru Impreza
with optional electronic stability control
Toyota Corolla with optional electronic stability control
Volkswagen Rabbit (VW Golf)

Honda Fit with optional electronic stability control (Honda Jazz)

Honda Odyssey
Hyundai Entourage
Kia Sedona

Large SUVs
Audi Q7
Buick Enclave
Chevrolet Traverse
GMC Acadia
Saturn Outlook

Midsize SUVs
Acura MDX, RDX
BMW X3, X5
Ford Edge, Flex, Taurus X
Honda Pilot
Hyundai Santa Fe, Veracruz
Infiniti EX35
Lincoln MKX
Mercedes M class
Nissan Murano
(only unofficially availabe in Malaysia)
Saturn VUE
Subaru Tribeca
Toyota FJ Cruiser, Highlander
Volvo XC90

Small SUVs
Ford Escape (new generation not sold in Malaysia)
Honda CR-V, Element
Mazda Tribute
Mercury Mariner
Mitsubishi Outlander
Nissan Rogue
Subaru Forester
Toyota RAV4
Volkswagen Tiguan

Large pickups
Ford F-150
Honda Ridgeline
Toyota Tundra

Small pickup
Toyota Tacoma (Toyota Hilux)

These 26 vehicles earn good ratings in front and side crash tests. They have ESC, standard or optional. They would be 2009 Top Safety Pick winners if their seat/head restraints also earn good ratings:

Chevrolet Malibu
Chrysler Sebring, Sebring convertible, Town & Country
Dodge Avenger, Grand Caravan
Infiniti G35, M35
Kia Amanti
Lexus ES, GS, IS
Mazda CX-7, CX-9
Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder, Endeavor
Nissan Altima, Pathfinder, Quest, Xterra
Saturn AURA
Smart Fortwo
Toyota 4Runner, Camry, Prius, Sienna