The government is reportedly opening its doors to German automakers to participate in the new national car project, says deputy minister of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), Dr Ong Kian Ming.

According to a Bernama report, he said there were many German car companies that had been very successful in assembling completely knocked-down (CKD) vehicles with a lot of local content.

“If the German (auto) companies are interested to explore opportunities in the new national car project, we are willing and open to their proposals,” he told reporters at an MoU signing ceremony on the Malaysia-Germany Strategic Collaboration and the soft launch of the East Coast Economic Region’s (ECER) Asia Centre of Excellence for Smart Technologies (ACES) earlier today.

German Ambassador to Malaysia Nikolaus Graf Lambsdorff said German car brands were already a familiar sight to Malaysian consumers. “Four German carmakers wish to expand their business and increase their production in Malaysia. They are very active here, looking not only at the Malaysian market but also at neighbouring countries,” he said.

So far, it’s unclear if the agency has received any proposals from these automakers, but Ong said an announcement will be made in the future. In echoing Ong’s sentiment, Lambsdorff also said there’s been no official proposals or enquiries of interest from these carmakers to participate in the new national car project.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Automotive Institute (MAI) CEO Datuk Madani Sahari said the third national car project can potentially fulfil market needs in a bid to complete the automotive industry under the connected mobility concept. He also said “the desire to develop the new national car project is not solely to gain fame but it will spur economic spillovers in terms of engineering as well as services.”

While there are factions that are excited about the new ambitious venture, many Malaysians aren’t as supportive of the new national car project, something that Mahathir himself is fully aware of. Madani however, is an avid supporter of the project, and you can read his personal opinion on the matter, here.