While the government may have changed and the man who envisioned it is no longer the prime minister, the new national car project (NNCP) is set to roll on, according to Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii) CEO Datuk Madani Sahari.

He revealed that the project, which is being led by Cyberjaya-based digital engineering services and consultancy company DreamEdge, remains ongoing, and there are no plans to scrap it because the government is not involved in – or funding – its development.

“There is no stopping where the NNCP is concerned. It is not a government-funded project, but a privately-funded one, and NAP 2020 is giving such incentives for such a project, so those measures remain,” he told reporters at a MARii industry performance briefing earlier today.

“For the private sector, as long as they want to do this (the third national car) it will continue. If they say they want to stop, there’s nothing the government can do, but as far as we are concerned until today there is no news that they will stop,” he said.

He added that DreamEdge wanted to reveal the prototype in April during the upcoming Malaysia Autoshow 2020, but the event’s postponement to July as a precautionary measure against the Covid-19 novel coronavirus outbreak means that the car will now only be shown to the public when the rescheduled show takes place.

The NNCP first surfaced into public view in June 2018 when ex-prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad mooted the idea of a new national car. The topic evolved into a series of discussions in the following year, until DreamEdge was announced as the lead for the project in August last year.

The car – which is expected to be a plus-sized B-segment sedan – was teased at the launch of the National Automotive Policy 2020 (NAP 2020) last month, albeit in a box and draped, with just the headlight and tail lamp section being offered for view.

According to DreamEdge, its offering promises to be an all-round performer that will be fun to drive, family friendly, highly fuel efficient and be value for money. It will also get a “modern and futuristic styling,” complete with up-to-date in-car connectivity functions, and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems.

Powertrain-wise, the car is likely to feature a regular internal combustion petrol engine or a hybrid powertrain, but this will be led by technology partner Daihatsu, which confirmed its involvement in the project last October. Daihatsu has no equity involvement, but will merely head powertrain and platform development.

Originally, it was said that a working prototype was due by the middle of this year, but it remains to be seen if the timeline has now changed given the developments that have occurred in the past week. At last count, production is set to take place in the first half of 2022, and the company plans to sell at least 3,000 units of the car a month in the first year of sales.

In related news, when asked if there would be any revisions to the NAP 2020 following the change in government, Madani said all indicators so far point to the policy and its workings continuing as is.

“The NAP was approved by the previous Cabinet, and the current PM was also in that Cabinet, so we – and those at the ministry of international trade and industry (MITI) – think that the new government would not want to change things, and continue with the policy and its outlines. The vision of the NAP is pretty holistic to make sure there isn’t only local development, but that everyone can grow and contribute to the Malaysian economy,” he said.