Malaysia Launches New National Car Project, Prototype to be Released Next March
Malaysia launched a new mass market car project on Friday, as it looks to boost development and adoption of high technology in a renewed industrial push by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, Reuters reported.
Southeast Asia’s third-largest economy is spurring industry to embrace technology so as to increase productivity and counter growing external risks from an escalating trade war between the United States and China.
The new project, spearheaded by Malaysian firm DreamEDGE, will be developed with technical assistance from Japan’s Daihatsu Motor Corp, said Darell Leiking, Malaysia’s trade and industry minister.
“It’s privately funded, with no government funding at all,” Leiking told a news conference. “We will support anything that is Malaysian made...as long as no government money is expended or used.”
Daihatsu, a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corp, owns a stake in Perodua, Malaysia’s second homegrown automaker and its best-selling brand.
Darell said the new marque, which has yet to be named, would offer affordable vehicles loaded with advanced technology.
The first model, which is likely to be a C-segment sedan powered by either an advanced internal combustion engine or hybrid system, is expected to hit the road by March 2021, said Khairil Adri Adnan, the chief executive of DreamEDGE.
"The Prime Minister had informed me recently to look into the facilities at DreamEDGE as they will be an important mover in the industry," Leiking told a news conference, adding that the car will be "a fully fledged local vehicle developed in Malaysia".
Leiking described it as a completely new and "exclusive" model, with "advanced technology," adding that its price tag would be affordable to the public.
"The national car project is the nation's industrialisation catalyst, to spur the meaningful participation of Malaysians in advanced technology adoption," the ministry said, as quoted by The Straits Times.