The prototype for the new national car project (NNCP) is expected to be introduced as early as next year, economic affairs minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali told reporters. A Bernama report states that Azmin Ali had discussed the matter in the National Development Council meeting chaired by prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad recently, and said “we will share the prototype with the public soonest next year.”

He added that, to realise the government’s aspiration to produce a new national car, the government was focusing on enhancing local engineering competitiveness and creating new ecosystems that are innovative and technologically friendly. It’s believed that the move will help revitalise the national automotive industry and help the parts and components industry that drives small and medium enterprises (SMEs) grow.

The NNCP has been the talk of the town since it was mooted by Tun M in June, and the premier claimed that the automotive industry will be the driving force behind other sectors of the economy, particularly engineering. “A car is a kind of catalyst for other things. If you want to learn manufacturing of certain products, engineering-wise, you have to start with a car,” he said.

Earlier in October, entrepreneur development minister Mohd Redzuan Yusof said the project will develop more than 500 new automotive suppliers and vendors as well as more than 100 new entrepreneurs as a result of its formation. It is also expected to result in the creation of a large number of jobs for Malaysians, which will ultimately deliver a car that will cater to international demands.

Currently, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) recently said that it has received over 20 proposals from the private sector for the project, which finance minister Lim Guan Eng said will not use public funds. The name of the vehicle will be announced by the end of this year, and it is expected to feature semi-autonomous driving capability.