Good day from the Indonesia Convention Exhibition at BSD City, where the 2019 Gaikindo Indonesia International Auto Show (GIIAS) opens today for the press. We’ll kick off our annual live coverage with the Daihatsu HY Fun Concept, which was briefly uncovered for vice president of Indonesia Jusuf Kalla this morning. The concept car, making its world debut, will be formally unveiled later today.

The Daihatsu HY Fun is a sharply designed MPV with a hybrid powertrain, hinting at Daihatsu’s next move for our region. It’s not electric, but hybrid. Daihatsu sells inexpensive cars for the masses in Indonesia and Malaysia, the latter via market leading sister brand Perodua, and eco tech has to be affordable and realistic.

As stated by Perodua president and CEO Datuk Zainal Abidin Ahmad yesterday, the carmaker’s plans for electrification will arrive at hybrids first – there won’t be a straight jump to full electric cars. He said that the company doesn’t see EVs as a good fit for the local market, adding that Malaysia obtains more of its electricity from gas and coal than from renewable sources like hydropower, compared to some developed countries. The same can be said about Indonesia.

The more likely eco tech is hybrids. P2 showed off Daihatsu hybrid tech at the Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show last year. The non-plug-in system is projected to work just like any other parallel hybrid, using either an internal combustion engine, an electric motor or both to propel the vehicle. It derives electricity, stored in a battery, from kinetic energy recuperated under deceleration.

The Daihatsu HY Fun Concept is a three-row MPV with six seats and virtual reality games for passengers. The first two rows of individual seats can swivel around and face each other. Its footprint isn’t very faraway from today’s Toyota Avanza and Daihatsu Xenia, and could be viewed as an early vision of the next generation budget people mover.

This DNGA (Daihatsu New Global Architecture) based MPV looks much sleeker though, thanks to a low roof and more sculptured panels. The Avanza/Xenia is utilitarian and van-like in appearance – something like that won’t do it anymore, but this surely will. Also, this shouldn’t be completely dismissed as a flight of fancy – Indonesia and Malaysia are Daihatsu’s two most important markets outside of Japan. What do you think of the HY Fun?

GALLERY: Perodua-Daihatsu hybrid tech at KLIMS 2018