The vehicle at the centre of the New National Car Project (NNCP) is likely to be a C-segment sedan that is yet to be named, The Edge Markets quoted AmInvestment Bank Research as saying. According to the research firm, the new national car prototype is scheduled for launch in March 2020, with the first production model expected to makes its debut a year later in March 2021.

“We strongly believe that at the current local technological level, the NNCP will not be a full-electric vehicle. Instead, it will likely be a hybrid vehicle based on an internal combustion engine with an electric propulsion system. As it is likely be a C-segment vehicle, we think that it may not be priced for the mass market but it will be targeting a niche consumer market instead,” it said.

Daihatsu Motor Company (DMC) confirmed last month its involvement in the new national car project, led by Malaysian company DreamEdge. CEO of DreamEdge, Khairil Adri Adnan said in August that the new national car will be a plus-sized B-segment sedan; this was initially mentioned to be a C-segment vehicle during a press conference at that time but was since corrected.

Because of the NNCP’s projected target market, AmInvestment does not see the new vehicle to be a threat to current national automakers Proton and Perodua, the report said, adding that the NNCP is expected to benefit the local electrical and electronics and automotive semiconductor industries through technology transfers and strategic tie-ups with more established brands such as Daihatsu, Toyota and Geely.

“We are already seeing some benefits from the Proton-Geely partnership, where many of the newer Proton models have incorporated updated technologies such as the intelligent infotainment system that has enhanced driving experiences at very affordable price-tags,” adding that it maintains its ‘Buy’ recommendations on shares from MBM Resources and DRB-Hicom.

MBM Resources holds a 20% direct share in Perodua with a further 5% via subsidiary Daihatsu, while DRB-Hicom holds 50.1% in Proton.