Perodua today presented its full year review, where it revealed its sales performance for 2019, along with a bevy of other information. One of the highlights of the presentation was the strategic direction that the company is taking with regards to its future.

It’s well known that Perodua has been working closely with Daihatsu for a very long time, and the national carmaker is aiming to take things to the next level by becoming a global player as an ASEAN development hub.

In one of the slides, we see that it plans to develop models based on the Daihatsu New Global Architecture (DNGA), which is also used for the Rocky, a model that has been widely associated as the base for Perodua’s upcoming D55L B-segment compact SUV.

While there’s no official word that the D55L will indeed be based on the Rocky, the evidence has been very strong that this is indeed the case. Further reinforcing this notion is, when asked about the D55L project, Perodua president and CEO Datuk Zainal Abidin Ahmad replied, “our next model will use DNGA platform,” without disclosing further details.

Perodua’s outlook on future market trends like downsized, turbocharged engines supports this assumption, especially as the Rocky is powered by a 1.0 litre turbocharged engine. Perodua posits the use of such engines, as their smaller capacity equates to less road tax, which bodes well for affordability. Additionally, turbo engines can provide the same power output as NA engines with larger capacities, and their more compact size contributes to better fuel efficiency and lower emissions.

Other features we can look forward to with the D55L include the adoption of Level 2 autonomous driving system, which is available with the Rocky. Other trends that Perodua are keeping an eye on include electrification, although this could be approached in a lighter fashion, with mild hybrid technology being deployed before more advanced ones like full hybrids or even plug-in hybrids.

The carmaker is also looking to reduce the takt time – the average time between the start of production of one unit and the start of production of the next unit – at its two production entities, namely Perodua Manufacturing Sdn Bhd (PMSB) and Perodua Global Manufacturing Sdn Bhd (PGMSB).

Currently, the Myvi is made at PMSB with a takt time of 1.8 minutes, while the Axia and Bezza come from PGMSB. The newer PGMSB plant is more of interest, as the company is looking to reduce its takt time from two minutes to 1.6 minutes by September this year.

While Datuk Zainal did say this was meant to facilitate more production of the facelifted Bezza, it isn’t far-fetched to assume that the lower takt time could be part of efforts to slot in production of the D55L as well, with a Q4 2020 launch likely.

Adding to this is the fact that Perodua will increase its investment this year by RM490.1 million to RM1.06 billion, with 20% (around RM200 million) being dedicated to enhancing its manufacturing facilities. This is another indicator that the company is gearing up to ensure sufficient supply of the D55L when it is launched.

If that isn’t enough additional proof, Datuk Zainal also stated that Perodua has the capability to introduce one facelift and one new model each year. Given that the Bezza already received its facelift this year, there’s only a new model to look forward to this year, and that is very likely the D55L.