The research and development (R&D) grant for the third national car, or new national car project (NNCP), has been approved by the government, and the sum is quite large, said entrepreneur development minister Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Yusof, reported by Berita Harian. The allocation will be used to develop a prototype of the car.

“The allocation will use the R&D grant the government had already approved, and it will be announced by prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad himself,” Mohd Redzuan said yesterday.

“Let the PM announce about the grant. The sum is quite large and is enough to be a catalyst to attract the participation of the private sector in the special purpose vehicle (SPV refers to a company, not a car) that we will establish to raise starting capital to stimulate the development of the third national car,” he added.

R&D grant for local carmakers aren’t new, and earlier this week, finance minister Lim Guan Eng mentioned it in reference to the NNCP, while reiterating that the government will not invest in the project. “To date, the government has no such allocation (to invest in building a third national car) under Budget 2019 except for R&D,” he said.

According to economic affairs minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, the NNCP was discussed in a recent National Development Council meeting chaired by the PM, and “we will share the prototype with the public soonest next year.”

In October, Mohd Redzuan announced the timelines for the NNCP – the new national car’s name will be announced by the end of this year, while the prototype for the NNCP model is expected to be ready by early next year, ahead of a 2020 roll out. The car is expected to feature semi-autonomous capabilities and advanced safety features, while remaining affordable.

The ministry of international trade and industry (MITI) has received over 20 proposals for the NNCP.