Help­ing con­sumers un­der­stand EEV so­lu­tions

New Straits Times - - Business -

ONE of the key in­gre­di­ents to suc­cess­ful au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try de­vel­op­ment is a pol­icy frame­work that bal­ances the needs of the in­dus­try with the needs of the pop­u­lace.

Dur­ing the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try’s in­fancy, gov­ern­ment pol­icy was for­mu­lated to al­low space for in­dus­try growth. The pri­or­ity at the time was for a wide ar­ray of man­u­fac­tur­ing pro­cesses to be turned into lo­cal busi­ness.

Dur­ing this pe­riod, tran­si­tion­ing from an agrar­ian na­tion to higher lev­els, i.e. the estab­lish­ment of a man­u­fac­tur­ing of fac­to­ries, tool­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties and large-scale lo­gis­tics, were vir­tu­ally im­pos­si­ble with­out a “pull fac­tor”.

Lo­cal busi­nesses were in­cen­tivised to in­crease in­vest­ment in high-pre­ci­sion man­u­fac­tur­ing through the estab­lish­ment of Proton, Pero­dua and oth­ers.

Th­ese projects would cre­ate the de­mand for man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pa­nies to ex­ist within the ecosys­tem, es­pe­cially to pro­vide em­ploy­ment to the many grad­u­ates that were seek­ing tech­ni­cal po­si­tions.

Fast for­ward three decades, 27 orig­i­nal equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­ers (OEMs) and more than 700 ven­dors later, the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try has reached a point where in­dus­try chal­lenges have evolved. The world’s con­sumers have de­vel­oped a higher con­scious­ness of trans­porta­tion costs, en­vi­ron­men­tal-friend­li­ness, and tech­no­log­i­cal acu­men — all within the norms of glob­al­i­sa­tion and eco­nomic lib­er­al­i­sa­tion.

In 2008, Gen­eral Mo­tors (GM) bore the brunt of such con­sumer mind­set change. The en­ergy cri­sis dur­ing the mid-2000s re­duced do­mes­tic de­mand for GM’s fuel-con­sum­ing sports util­ity ve­hi­cles and pick-up trucks, in the search for more en­ergy-ef­fi­cient al­ter­na­tives. It took a large gov­ern­ment bailout and re­struc­tur­ing ex­er­cise to bring GM back to prof­itabil­ity.

His­tory has shown that th­ese “pull fac­tors” have the power to make or break en­tire in­dus­tries.

The Na­tional Au­to­mo­tive Pol­icy 2014 (NAP2014) was for­mu­lated to cre­ate the bal­ance men­tioned above, but tai­lored to the new nu­ances of cur­rent mar­ket sce­nar­ios. With en­ergy costs seem­ingly fluc­tu­at­ing, it is timely that the lo­cal in­dus­try re­sponds to the needs of the global con­sumer.

This is one of the main rea­sons the NAP2014 is fo­cus­ing on the de­vel­op­ment of en­ergy-ef­fi­cient ve­hi­cles (EEVs). Th­ese are prod­ucts that ad­dress the de­mand for cheaper, en­vi­ron­men­tally-friendly tech­nol­ogy in the cars we pro­duce.

In or­der to reach the needed scales of suc­cess, ex­porta­bil­ity of both ve­hi­cles and au­to­mo­tive com­po­nents is a key tenet of the NAP2014.

Here is where it gets tricky. In or­der to ex­port, we must es­tab­lish a lo­cal base, i.e. our lo­cal busi­nesses must sell en­ergy-ef­fi­cient prod­ucts within our small mar­ket first be­fore any chance of ex­port suc­cess can ma­te­ri­alise. We can no longer af­ford to im­ple­ment pro­tec­tion­ist poli­cies as it come at a high cost to con­sumer choice and go against in­ter­na­tional trade prin­ci­ples.

Hence­forth comes the point of this ar­ti­cle.

The cur­rent sce­nario re­quires the shift of the pull fac­tor from OEMs to the con­sumer. The rise of en­ergy costs has cre­ated an op­por­tu­nity for the in­dus­try to solve the prob­lems of the pop­u­lace through the EEV direction, and one hur­dle is for con­sumers to un­der­stand how th­ese so­lu­tions can im­prove their lives.

It is for this rea­son the Malaysia Au­to­mo­tive In­sti­tute is con­tin­u­ing the tra­di­tion of or­gan­is­ing the Malaysia Autoshow. The 2017 edi­tion will be held from the Novem­ber 9-12 at the Malaysia Agro Ex­po­si­tion Park Ser­dang (MAEPS) and aims to raise aware­ness by pro­vid­ing con­sumers an im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ence on the ben­e­fits of EEVs.

This year’s autoshow is ex­pected to be the big­gest au­to­mo­tive ex­hi­bi­tion and sym­po­sium, oc­cu­py­ing all three halls and out­door space of MAEPS.

Global brands will ex­hibit their lat­est mod­els, es­pe­cially EEVs. Vis­i­tors can test-drive the mod­els and there will be spe­cial pack­ages for car buyers. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from var­i­ous banks will be at the show to process hire pur­chases on-site.

There will be au­to­mo­tive life­style ex­hi­bi­tions, go-kart slalom, off-road drives and many more.

Par­al­lel to the autoshow will be the Kuala Lumpur In­ter­na­tional Au­to­mo­tive Sym­po­sium. The sym­po­sium will discuss ma­jor is­sues of the in­dus­try, in­clud­ing au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cles, elec­tric mo­bil­ity, in­tel­li­gent trans­port sys­tem and In­dus­try 4.0. It is ex­pected to draw more than 4,000 par­tic­i­pants and more than 30 in­ter­na­tional speak­ers.

It is my hope that the Malaysia Autoshow will con­tinue to en­hance con­sumer aware­ness of sus­tain­able mo­bil­ity, and emerge as the most an­tic­i­pated event in the re­gional au­to­mo­tive cal­en­dar.

The world’s con­sumers have de­vel­oped a higher con­scious­ness of trans­porta­tion costs, en­vi­ron­men­tal friend­li­ness, and tech­no­log­i­cal acu­men — all within the norms of glob­al­i­sa­tion and eco­nomic lib­er­al­i­sa­tion.

The writer is the chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the Malaysia Au­to­mo­tive In­sti­tute

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