There has been an influx of Chinese-made cars into the market lately, either direct from China or rebadged as local makes like what Naza did with the Sutera. However certain parties have been spreading rumors of these new cars not having Type Approval, presumably to damage sales.

But what exactly is Type Approval? All CBU (fully imported) vehicles in Malaysia must undergo Puspakom inspection. This may have made sense in the days when tonnes of gray market vehicles came in with over-the-legal-limit tinted windows, but these days distributors with CBU imported models usually have to go through Type Approval.

According to an industry source, Type Approval in Malaysia, also widely referred to as Homologation is a process whereby the maker fills in a thick set of documents, with entries ranging from name & address of the maker, engine, weight, weight distribution, name and type of all light bulbs used, etc.

Its a noble concept designed to protect the end user by making sure the manufacturer complies with a minimum level of safety & regulatory requirements. Having every component of the car registered also aids in cases of recall, so the authorities have on record details for that particular vehicle to check if a component in the vehicle has any recalls worldwide. It ensures that vehicles, their systems and components, meet the appropriate environmental and safety standards.

In Malaysia, all vehicles sold, regardless if they are CKD or CBU are required to undergo Type Approval, before being allowed to be sold. The control mechanism is the registration. Vehicles which are not Type Approved, cannot be entered into a computer, thus it cannot be registered. So these rumors of the cars not being Type Approved are baseless – if they do not have Type Approval, they cannot be registered!