CYBERJAYA (Aug 9): The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) has today announced the appointment of DreamEDGE Sdn Bhd as the lead Malaysian anchor company to work on the new national car project, with advanced technological support by Daihatsu Motor Co Ltd.
The first model of the new national car, which was noted to likely be a hybrid C-segment sedan model, is set to be launched in March 2021. The names of the brand and model, however, has yet to be decided.
In a media briefing here today, its minister Datuk Darell Leiking said DreamEDGE was appointed after it had convinced Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that it has the right capabilities to execute the project with its effective business model.
“[DreamEDGE was chosen] because they have a good business model that we believe can work. They have briefed the prime minister and he is convinced that as long as it is privately funded and that it is run by experts from DreamEDGE, then why not,” Darell said.
He explained that the conditions in choosing the anchor company, among others, were that the company must be a Malaysian company with a proven track record, commanding a pool of local engineers with experience in advanced technology, as well as capabilities in product engineering, development, and process design.
The company must also have experience in new manufacturing technologies, and integration into product-design thinking.
Most importantly is that the company must be privately funded, Darrell noted.
“Just like any other company, they can apply for tax incentives, and then we will see whether or not they are entitled to receive them,” he said, clarifying that there will be no government funding involved.
The amount of total investment value that will be put into the project was however not revealed. DreamEDGE founder and chief executive officer Khairil Adri Adnan only said that it will be “a few hundred millions”.
“We are still in the midst of discussion about the total amount of the funding, but it will probably be a few hundred millions.
“We are still looking at a few fund-raising options. We would like to have a look [as to] which scheme will be the best for the company,” Adri said.
Adri also did not reveal details of the agreement between DreamEDGE and Daihatsu, but clarified that the Japanese auto company will not be an equity partner. He noted that the technological collaboration may include technology exchange of the platform to be used, as well as engine development.
“Daihatsu has agreed to lend their support in the areas of advanced technology. There are still a lot of things to be discussed, which we cannot reveal at the moment. Let me announce the details in a few months from now,” he said.
Adri added that the project will not involve building a new plant to manufacture the cars. Hence, he is confident that the company will meet the March 2021 deadline.
“By having the support from the technology partner, and with the existing facilities that we have in Malaysia, I think we can make it in time within 18 months.
“We are looking at contract manufacturing,” he added.
Founded in 2007, DreamEDGE has provided technical and long-term strategic collaboration to support clients within and outside of Japan, having local Malaysian engineers based in Japan.
MITI said DreamEDGE has built a capable internal development team focused on technology innovation, from ideation to prototyping to mass production.
In addition, the company has developed the required in-house capabilities and experience to provide end-to-end automotive engineering services, through skilled workforce capable of offering shorter, accelerated lead times in delivering engineering projects, the ministry said.
The company has a manufacturing and prototyping centre in Cyberjaya, an innovation lab in Bukit Jalil within the R&D institute Sirim, a design centre in Taiping, as well as an R&D office in Tokyo, Japan.
Malaysia’s third national car project — now part of the ongoing review of the National Automotive Policy — was first mooted by Dr Mahathir in June last year, a month after he was appointed prime minister. A year on, it seems the project is still in its preliminary stage, as there are a lot of details that have yet to be ironed out.