The group has allocated funds to build a local assembly plant that will produce the LPG vehicles
by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
SOUTH Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Co Ltd is lea- ding a consortium to make the proposed third national car a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vehicle.
The group, comprising Hyundai, Thailand’s PAP Gas and Oil Co Ltd and Astana City Group Sdn Bhd, is among 20 other firms and joint-venture companies vying to produce Malaysia’s third national car.
PAP E-Con Co Ltd, a special-purpose vehicle between Hyundai BS&E Co Ltd and PAP Gas and Oil, submitted the group’s proposal in October last year.
PAP E-Con VP Azmi Mat Said said the group has allocated significant funds to build a local assembly plant that will produce the LPG vehicles.
“Our plan is to set up a plant in Malaysia that can produce up to 150,000 cars yearly. The cost will be US$2 billion (RM8.2 billion) and it will be fully automated,” he told The Malaysian Reserve yesterday. It is learned that the LPG car proposal is the only offer made by auto giant Hyundai.
Azmi further said the LPG vehicle will likely be based on Hyundai’s i10 model or two earlier models, Hyundai Grandeur and Hyundai Azera.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s vision of producing another homegrown automotive brand has garnered international interest, especially from neighbouring countries.
Many envision the car to be an advanced green-technology vehicle with components sourced from Asean countries, but the government has not confirmed any details so far. It is reported that a working unit of the national car is expected to be ready between 2020 and 2022.
Meanwhile, Astana City MD Nik Mohd Fareez Nik Ahmad Azman (picture) said the consortium will work towards developing a prototype, capitalising on Hyundai’s technological expertise. However, plans for the project can only be pursued subject to government’s approval.
“We can only start this project once we get the approval because it involves a huge investment from external parties,” Nik Mohd Fareez said. LPG vehicles, he added, have proven to be successful in Japan, South Korea and Thailand due to its cost and lower carbon dioxide emission compared to petrol.
Nik Mohd Fareez said it will be looking to partner other government-linked entities including Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) and Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) if the project is granted to the consortium.
“Surely, we will need to collaborate with Petronas in creating new auto gas stations throughout the country, and Mara in terms of creating a skilled workforce. We expect 80% of the workforce to be filled by locals,” he said.
Astana City recently introduced its first composite LPG cylinder product, ACGAS, in collaboration with Hyundai BS&E and PAP. The product is expected to be on the market by second quarter this year.
Dr Mahathir officiated the launch of the product yesterday. Also present were Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, and Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Rina Mohd Harun.