Almost 50 vendors registered for 3rd national car project

No limits on how many vendors can take part in the NNCP supply chain, slated to be rolled out in 2020

By AFIQ AZIZ / Pic By TMR

The proposed third national car project has gained great interest from automotive players, including the country’s vendors supplying parts and components.

Currently, about 50 automotive local parts suppliers have registered under the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development’s (MED) Vendor Development Programme in order to be part of the new national car project‘s (NNCP) supply chain, slated to be rolled out by 2020.

Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof (picture) said the programme is aimed at accommodating local tier vendors to adopt new technologies, as well as to enable them to produce value-added products that meet global standards.

“We have received about 50 applications from local vendors who are interested in participating in the NNCP…They come from various segments of parts supplies,” the minister told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) recently.

The 50 applications are on top of 21 proposals submitted by local and international companies which are interested to be part of the project.

As the project will be driven by the private sector, Mohd Redzuan said the ministry encourages more capable automotive vendors to participate in the programme.

According to Malaysia Automotive Institute data, there were about 641 parts and components suppliers in the country, including manufacturers, last year.

“We have no limits (on how many vendors can take part in the programme) since it must be private sector-driven, and must be based on their capacities and capabilities,” he said.

The programme aims to create an effective vendor ecosystem to allow an efficient supply of services, parts and components across the industry.

Among the areas offered by the ministry are manufacturing, such as plastic moulders and press works, as well as resources including petrochemical and smelters.

The project is spearheaded by the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT) under the purview of the Prime Minister’s Office, while the MED is tasked with developing vendors’ participation.

MIGHT has been involved in automotive development since 1994 to support Malaysia’s Formula One race, infusing the technology from the advanced structure to conventional car manufacturing, including making an engine with Petroliam Nasional Bhd and Sauber Motorsport AG.

Last month, Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Dr Ong Kian Ming revealed that the government had received 21 proposals from both local and international players interested to be the NNCP manufacturer.

It’s a good thing that the MED has started the ball rolling by engaging the vendors, says Mohd Yusoff (Pic by Ismail Che Rus/TMR)

Meanwhile, MIGHT president and CEO Datuk Dr Mohd Yusoff Sulaiman said the NNCP is still at an early stage as the prototype unit will only be unveiled next year.

He also said as such, the agency could not determine which parts or components are required for the vehicle.

“It would be more difficult if it’s an EV (electric vehicle). If that is the case, then the key components would be battery and powertrain.

“We do have such technologies, but we will only know if we could use them (the components) for the car when the prototype is ready.

“Alternatively, we could source these technologies from countries like Japan, Korea or even from Europe.

“It’s a good thing that MED has started the ball rolling by engaging the vendors,” he told TMR.

In the meantime, an automotive component supplier who have registered with MED said the local vendors are interested to be part of the project as they are convinced that the brand could be exported.

“Many of us are keen on participating in this project as it may be part of the Asean Car programme, which would open our product to the region,” the source said, referring to the Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s visit to Indonesia in June on the possibility of reviving the proposed car project for the Asean market between the two countries.

“The success story of our local automotive market is through export as our industry has reached a saturated level, and the government does not allow the scrap policy (for old vehicles).

“As of now, no export would mean a failure to us,” said the vendor who wished to remain anonymous.

The government has also looked at the possibility of powering the project by leveraging on EV technology, instead of the traditional internal combustion engine (ICE).

Compared to ICE, which runs more than 2,000 moving parts, EVs have only about 20, which make for fewer breakdowns, thus reducing the marginal maintenance cost for the car.

Dr Mahathir reaffirmed his vision of building the third national car project during his maiden visit abroad after Pakatan Harapan won the 14th General Election in May.