Sunday , May 28 2023

New national car to debut in 2021


CYBERJAYA: The first car from Malaysia's new national car project could debut in March 2021, in just 18 months.

Datuk Darell Leiking, Minister of International Trade and Industry, has announced that Malaysian engineering firm DreamEdge Sdn Bhd has been chosen as the anchor company to develop the project.

Japanese carmaker Daihatsu Motor Company will provide support in areas of high technology, but it will not be an equity partner in the project.

"They (DreamEdge) were chosen because they have a good business model that we believe it can work.

"They have submitted their proposal to the prime minister and he is convinced, provided that (the project) is privately funded and is managed by DreamEdge experts," Leiking said at a press conference at DreamEdge's headquarters at I-Tech Tower here. yesterday.

Leiking said the project will be fully privately funded.

"There is no government funding at all. And like any other company, they are allowed to apply for capital taxes and the government will see if they have the right," he said.

Khairil Adri Adnan, CEO of DreamEdge, said the first car model is likely to be a C-segment sedan, though he could not confirm whether it will be a hybrid.

The company also did not decide on the name of the car.

"I will announce the details later in a few months," said Khairil, who expressed optimism that the company will be able to produce its first car within 18 months.

"With the support of our technology partner and the existing facilities we have in Malaysia, I think we can reach it.

"We are looking at contract manufacturing," said Khairil, adding that the project costs "hundreds of millions."

On its timeline, DreamEdge will be presenting the template later this month and next March for the unveiling of the first prototype.

Further recruitment for the project, especially engineering, will begin in mid-September.

Founded in 2007, DreamEdge said on its website that it offers "value-added digital engineering services" to customers "across vertical industries", including car, rail, heavy industry, electronics and tools.

The idea of ​​a new national car project was first mentioned by Tun Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in June last year.

In a statement yesterday, the ministry said the project will create new opportunities for local vendors and talent to be part of the high technology value chain.

"From the government's point of view, the national car project is the catalytic industrialization of the nation to stimulate meaningful participation of Malaysians in advanced technology," it said.

Matu chairman Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said that DreamEdge only has a paid-up capital of RM12.4mil and its 2018 figures indicated revenue of only RM20mil and a total loss.

“Billions are needed, and DreamEdge obviously doesn't have the financial strength to make such a huge investment.

"The company definitely needs a big injection of funds, and I'm sure the funds will come from the largest shareholder – the

government, "he added.

Dr Wee also said that DreamEdge's largest shareholder is Syarikat VentureTECH Sdn Bhd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Malaysian Government Industrial Group for High Technology, which in turn is 100% government-owned.

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