The government says the new national car project (NNCP) is set to continue despite the change in national leadership, according to senior minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali. “This is for the sake of expanding the country’s automotive sector,” he said.

The latest statement by the international trade and industry (MITI) minister reiterates what Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii) CEO Datuk Madani Sahari had stated back in March. At that point, Madani had said that there were no plans to scrap the project, which is being led by Cyberjaya-based digital engineering services and consultancy company DreamEdge, because the government is not involved in – or funding – its development.

Mohamed Azmin said that DreamEdge will be called to give a briefing on the development of the project, Berita Harian reports. He added that Perodua and Daihatsu had been requested to brief and present a paper to the government on how the two automotive companies could help develop the NNCP.

“This is because we have identified the platform and its implementation. This needs to be clarified,” he said. He added that the NAP2020 would continue as outlined, as it contains the agenda and framework for the automotive industry moving ahead into the future.

Meanwhile, Perodua president and CEO Datuk Zainal Abidin Ahmad said the request for the proposal would be fulfilled by the company as soon as possible. He said the proposed paper would not just include the NNCP but the automotive ecosystem on the whole.

“We will show the government how Perodua can help the local automotive ecosystem, not just focus on a new national car. It will cover everything from the workforce to the technology and the vendors,” he explained.

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) in February this year, albeit in a box and draped, with just the headlight and tail lamp section being offered for view.

The prototype was supposed to have been previewed in April at the Malaysia Autoshow 2020, which was first postponed and later shifted to 2021 due to the Covid-19 outbreak and resulting movement control order (MCO). There has been no update as to when it will be shown to the public.

DreamEdge has previously stated that the new car 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.

Previously, DreamEdge had revealed that full production of he new car was set to take place by the first half of 2022, and it was targeting to sell at least 3,000 cars a month in the first year of sales, leading to an annual rate of 36,000 units a year.