USDM Civic Hybrid

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry is considering revising the duty structure for fully imported hybrid cars and will be bringing the matter up to the Cabinet, minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced on Friday. This will be very good news indeed for companies like Premier Hybrid Cars Sdn Bhd.

This decision was made after a six-day trade mission to Japan which included meetings with the top management of Japanese car manufacturers. From there it was learned that car manufacturers preferred to centralize hybrid car production (in Japan, etc) and bring them into markets as CBU cars as according to them the logistics and assembly processes for a hybrid car and its components are more expensive.

Because of the uncertain (a politically correct word for flip flop) duty structures under Malaysia’s National Automotive Policy, car manufacturers preferred to adopt a wait and see strategy with hybrid cars, only introducing them slowly in a gradual manner. Only one hybrid car is sold in Malaysia now, the Honda Civic Hybrid.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin says Japanese car manufacturers are waiting for the policymakers to come up with something very attractive before stepping up efforts with alternative fuel vehicles here in Malaysia, so the ministry will be studying ways on how to offer this “attractiveness”. Our northern neighbours are so “attractive” that Toyota has decided to assemble the Toyota Prius and Toyota Camry Hybrid there.

“Our current policies are not proactive, so it is difficult for interested parties to enter our market. The result is billions of ringgit lost because of investments that have gone to other countries,” he added. Wow… no kidding, Sherlock!