New Straits Times


Model should be ready for market in 2020, says MIGHT president

- AYISY YUSOF (1,790.11) (3,231.59) (26,828.39) (7,510.28)

MALAYSIA is making a big push into developing “disruptive technology-driven” vehicles for the global market. The maiden model should be ready for sale in two years under the new national car project (NNCP) mooted by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The prototype was expected to be rolled out early next year, followed by the car itself by 2020, said Malaysian Industry-Goverment Group for High Technology (MIGHT) president and chief executive officer Datuk Dr Mohd Yusoff Sulaiman.

The government was identifyin­g investors and co-developers for the NNCP, which was expected to be finalised by year-end, he said.

“This new car will use 100 per cent disruptive technology and will not follow convention­al car manufactur­ing (methods),” he told a briefing, here, yesterday.

“This new platform needs to be developed by a country like Malaysia, which has all the ingredient­s that can master this technology. We have the raw materials and experience. There is no reason why we shouldn’t build this car.”

He said it was important for the country to develop and nurture vendors and inspire young people with disruptive technologi­es after decades of involvemen­t in the automotive sector.

“We are the top nine high-tech manufactur­ing exporters in terms of capacity and capability. We have companies that can contribute technology and components of the car such as Composites Technology Research Malaysia Sdn Bhd (CTRM) and Silterra Malaysia Sdn Bhd.”

Yusoff said CTRM and Silterra could not only build the outer shell of the car and electronic components but also invest in car developmen­t.

“We need agencies and ministries to create an ecosystem for them to further develop. They may need training and other competenci­es.”

He said MIGHT had been involved in automotive developmen­t since 1994 to support Malaysia’s involvemen­t in Formula One.

“We had developed an engine with Petronas and Sauber at one time. This had been licensed out to Proton and China. There are competenci­es that have been built throughout the years that can be used for this new platform — it can be a saloon, sport utility vehicle or multi-purpose vehicle.”

Yusoff said the NNCP would be developed based on local market demand.

Entreprene­ur Developmen­t Minister Mohd Redzuan Yusof said the NNCP would be privately funded, leveraging automotive component suppliers.

He said the government had short-listed a few partners and was looking at the best platform to use.

“We are refining the prototype and will explore what kind of series (car category) we are going to have. We have to measure what we can contribute in terms of local content.”

He said the NNCP would revitalise the automotive industry and support the parts and components sector that could drive small and medium enterprise­s.

“The content from Malaysian resources will be maximised. We have discussed with Dr Mahathir on building our automotive industry after Proton was acquired by China’s Geely.

“We wanted to rebuild the capability with existing skills and technology to make the industry competitiv­e. We are ready to build cars now.”

Redzuan said it would not be an issue to have a new national car, citing that the administra­tion was looking at private initiative or private participat­ion.

“With the current technology in the market, it is not that expensive to come up with a prototype. There are more than 20 carmakers in this country. We have the skills and capabiliti­es to help carmakers produce cars.”

With a complete ecosystem, Redzuan said the government could empower the NNCP with private sector participat­ion, supported by ministries and government agencies.

“We are looking at energy-efficient or full-electric vehicles.”

Redzuan said the capital to develop the NNCP would be depen- dent on the platform it used, technology and feedback from the market.

“For a start, we will use existing infrastruc­ture to assemble the first batch of the car. We are not overly ambitious to have our own production line. We have to do it differentl­y where the investment­s are kept minimum so that it makes sense.

“We don’t want to invest in a billion-dollar plant just because we want to develop a new national car. There are existing assembly facilities that we can use (contract manufactur­ing) to produce the car,” he said.

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 ??  ?? Visitors at a motor show in Kuala Lumpur. The government is looking at developing energy-efficient or full-electric vehicles under the new national car project.
Visitors at a motor show in Kuala Lumpur. The government is looking at developing energy-efficient or full-electric vehicles under the new national car project.

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