UPDATE: The new cars launched are the LMG Tourer 7-seater SUV and the LMG Trekker double cab pick-up truck, both of which include Hydroxene water-petrol hybrid technology.

The Star carried a newspaper report on Friday outlining our Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s two day visit to Johor, and the itenary included the launch of a new national car on Tuesday. Since it’s too soon for anything up Proton, Perodua or Naza‘s sleeves – we can assume this might be the new CKD Inokom Getz.

getz_small.jpgReader Khairil has reported sightings of a Hyundai Getz going around on road tests in Kulim with a sign that says “Kenderaan sedang diuji” hanging on the rear. However, what was different with this particular Getz is it had an Inokom badge on it.

Sime Darby has previously expressed interest in assembling the Hyundai Getz locally within the next 12 months in October last year when it unveiled it’s NAP plans. It is already assembling the Hyundai Matrix and the Hyundai Atos locally with Inokom badges.

Just a recap from Sime Darby’s NAP plans outlined last year, next up in the pipelines after the CKD Getz would be other Hyundai models like the Accent, Elantra and Sonata. There are also export plans. Click for more details on Sime Darby’s NAP plan.

Even if the car launch on Tuesday isn’t the CKD Inokom Getz, you can expect the car to be launched soon as uncamouflaged road tests are already underway. In fact, there’s something wrong with the theory that it might be the Inokom Getz. I don’t see why an Inokom car should be launched in Johor as the car is likely to be made in the Kulim plant, since road tests have been going on in Kulim. Kulim, Kedah is practically on the other end of the peninsular. So who has an assembly plant in Johor?

Oriental Assembler Sdn Bhd comes to mind. And Oriental Assembler has been generally associated with China makes of late, with reports of talks with Chery and Geely to assemble vehicles there. Could this be a locally badged China make? Information Gateway Corporation Sdn Bhd (IGC Corp) announced a CKD deal for Geely cars March this year, and said a local version of the Geely CK1 called the IGC CKX would be assembled at Oriental Assemblers Sdn Bhd.

There’s also the SUV and pick-up truck manufacturer Dadi. I’m sure many of you have seen Dadi showrooms around the city. LM Star Autoworld Sdn Bhd has assembly rights to Dadi SUVs and pick-up trucks, and a Bernama report says it plans to have an assembly plant in Kota Tinggi, Johor. LM Star Autoworld’s assembly plant will have the capacity for 60,000 vehicles a year but will start with an output of 28,480 in the first year. 10,000 will be for the Malaysian market and the rest for export. Could the new vehicle being launched be an LM Star-built Dadi SUV or pick-up?

LM Star also has an agreement with BYD Auto of China to develop right hand drive versions of BYD cars and have them assembled here both for the local market and export. Remember the BYD F3?

So many possibilities. I am as clueless as most of you are. Wait until Tuesday to find out. Thanks to Khairil and Stephen for the pointers.