Here’s a snippet on the new national car project, which the government insists we need, although the automotive players disagree.

Speaking in parliament today, entrepreneur development minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said that he did not personally know the status of RM20 million previously allocated to develop a third national car, the Malay Mail reported.

“I also can’t tell you what has happened with the funds, because if it has been allocated, I am confident that the ministry would have utilised it and monitor its progress. I can only tell you what I know. So if any one of you (MPs) know (about it), thank you,” he told the Dewan Rakyat during Q&A time.

In November last year, the PH era entrepreneur development ministry denied that the RM20 million allocated by the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (Might) was for the super drone a.k.a. “flying car” project developed by Aerodyne Group. Instead, the money was to fund the R&D of a new national car project (NNCP), anchored by Cyberjaya-based DreamEdge.

Last month, international trade and industry (MITI) minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali said that the NNCP is set to continue despite the change in government.

“This is for the sake of expanding the country’s automotive sector,” the senior minister said, adding that DreamEdge will be called to give a briefing on the status of the project, and that Perodua and Daihatsu had been requested to brief and present a paper to the government on how they can help develop the NNCP.

The NNCP first entered public consciousness in June 2018 when former PM 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 anchor company for the project in August 2019.

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 images above are renderings based on the teasers.

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 since been no update about the car’s debut.

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.

Meanwhile, existing auto players do not agree that we need another national car. “The industry’s stance is that having two national cars in Malaysia is already too many. To have a third national car project, I don’t think we need it. Having national cars is a political decision, so it’s very difficult for me to comment on,” Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) president Datuk Aishah Ahmad said at the industry’s 1H 2020 market review briefing last month.