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It seems the matter regarding the extension of hybrid and electric vehicle incentives beyond the end of this year isn’t such a straightforward matter. Last month, a report alluded that the upcoming NAP would see the continuation of hybrid vehicle incentives beyond the end of this year, despite no mention on the matter in Budget 2014.

Now, various insider sources have intimated to us that imported hybrids and EVs are not likely to enjoy the same incentives as those that are locally assembled – in fact, the upcoming National Automotive Policy (NAP) revision might not provide significant incentives for the CBU imports any more, if at all.

While the current full import and excise duty exemption for hybrids and EVs – initially announced in Budget 2011 – will run up until December 31, 2013, they are likely to continue beyond that date only for CKD locally-assembled models, according to the sources.

If the exemptions stop completely or are drastically revised for imported hybrids and EVs, we will almost certainly be paying a good deal more for them come next year, and there’s the likelihood that the plug may be pulled on some models altogether, given the lack of competitive pricing.

hybrid instrument cluster

Hybrids that qualify on the current exemption front are the Toyota Prius and Prius c, as well as the Honda Insight, Civic Hybrid and CR-Z. All are imported units, as is the Audi A6 Hybrid, which gains full exemption as it resides just under the 2.0 litre and below capacity ceiling. Meanwhile, the Honda Jazz Hybrid is currently the only hybrid vehicle that’s assembled in Malaysia, with the CKD Toyota Camry Hybrid set to follow soon. As for commercially available EVs, there’s the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and soon-to-be-launched Nissan Leaf.

One of the sources added that the current exemptions stand for any particular hybrid falling under the 2.0 litre exemption ceiling as long as it is a 2013 model (or before), meaning that even if the car is registered in 2014, it will still be fully exempt from import and excise duties.

Another states that all registrations have to be completed by Dec 31, 2013, failing which things are then subject to a new structure, whatever that may be. With 2013 nearly up, that doesn’t leave much time for potential buyers of these imported hybrids if the latter scenario is the one that plays out.

Malaysia Automotive Institute (MAI) CEO Madani Sahari revealed recently that locally-assembled hybrids and Energy Efficient Vehicles (EEVs) will enjoy more favourable incentives, whereas those that are imported will be subject to some conditions. Until the NAP revision is presented at year-end, what these conditions are is anyone’s guess. The announcement of the revised policy cannot come soon enough to end the conjecture.