Third national car: Prototype ready, still seeking investors

The new national car will be designed according to environmental sustainability and safety best practices

by RAHIMI YUNUS / pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

THE third national car developer has produced a prototype, but the company is still looking for investors to fund the project.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad reiterated that the new national car, now called Malaysian Vehicle Project, will not be financed by the government.

“We are inviting investors with foresight as to the future of motor vehicles. We are ready with new technologies which will make the new national car competitive and of a standard that is found in other parts of the world,” Dr Mahathir said after the launch of the National Automotive Policy 2020 in Kuala Lumpur last Friday.

He said the national car project is free to collaborate with global companies that have proven technological advances such as from Japan, China, Korea and Europe.

As it is, Dr Mahathir said the prototype is ready although it has not been exhibited to the public.

The new national car will be designed according to environmental sustainability and safety best practices.

The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) previously reported that DreamEDGE Sdn Bhd was expected to go into full production of the third national car by the first half of 2022 (1H22) and investment could reach as high as RM1 billion.

An analysis by Affin Hwang Investment Bank Bhd stated that DreamEDGE — the “anchor company” to develop the new national car project with a technology support partner Daihatsu Motor Co Ltd — had set aside a minimum of RM600 million as the initial start-up cost.

“Elsewhere, the estimated initial start-up cost (based on Daihatsu’s platform and power train) could require at least RM600 million, but dealership network establishment and production-related preparation costs could see cost overruns of up to RM1 billion,” the report said in December last year.

The report added that DreamEDGE was also envisioned to sell at least 3,000 cars a month in the first year of sales, which would translate into at least 36,000 cars per year.

The third national car project, which was mooted by Dr Mahathir during his visit to Japan in 2018, is envisioned to revitalise the country’s engineering prowess.

The idea, however, received backlash from various parties who questioned the need for another national car, given the size of the local automotive market.

Incorporated in March 2007, DreamEDGE offers engineering services and innovative solutions in automotive, rail, aeronautics and manufacturing.

The Cyberjaya-based company is owned by CEO and founder Datuk Khairil Adri Adnan (picture) with an 82% stake; followed by VentureTECH Sdn Bhd (10%), which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology; and COO Azhan Abdul Aziz (8%).