The government is due to reveal its partner for its New National Car Project (NNCP), and we’ve just learnt the identity of one of the bidders. According to The Edge, Alam Perkasa Consortium (APC) – apparently one of the two bidders shortlisted by Putrajaya, the other reportedly being Elenvi Otomotif – plans to set up the Malaysian International Motor Company (Mimco) to build electric vehicles that will go on sale in 2022.
In an interview with the publication, Alam Perkasa Group chairman Mohamad Mansor Ngah laid out his ambitious plans for the new carmaker and consortium, the latter also including an unnamed “leading Italian composite materials manufacturer” and both famed car designer Giorgetto Giugiaro and his son, Fabrizio. Giorgetto and Fabrizio set up a design studio, GFG Style, after separating with Volkswagen-owned Italdesign.
The most important bit out of the way first – Mansor claimed that the new venture is “ready to go” and does not require any public funding, having accumulated around RM5 billion in private funding. He also said that APC acquired the ownership and intellectual rights for a proprietary advanced modular platform (AMP) last year, which can be used to underpin everything from city cars to SUVs.
Mansor added that, if selected by the government, the company could have a working prototype of Mimco’s first model, the Giugiaro-styled Alif mid-sized SUV, within six months – in time to be displayed at the Geneva Motor Show in March. He said that the Mimco has already been given a slot to display the car at the show.
“It would be the second time ever a Malaysian vehicle is displayed at the event,” said Mansor, who said he had a hand in creating the first one, the Proton EMAS concept, as well as the Proton Prevé and the Youngman Artiga concept.
Mansor also rattled out some initial specifications of the car which, depending on the variant, will include a 230 km/h top speed and a range of 450 km from a 95 kWh battery. He said that the exposure from the Alif’s Geneva debut will cement the car in the global consciousness and boost marketing initiatives, especially in Europe. That’s important, as APC has its sights set on the export market from the get go.
In fact, the company aims to export vastly more cars than it will sell locally, with Europe, the United States and China earmarked as key markets. “The local market for hybrid and full EVs is small at present, so we will export 80% of the vehicles mainly to Europe and the US as we need to compete in the global auto industry and not be jaguh kampung,” Mansor said.
While the competitive EV industry in China (with around 400 manufacturers, said Mansor) would make breaking into that market tougher, Mansor said that APC plans to partner with Qiantu Motor, a subsidiary of its technical partner in the Middle Kingdom, to tackle the problem.
All in all, APC is targeting annual sales of 60,000 units per year for the Alif, which will come from the first phase of the company’s proposed plant that Mansor said is capable of being up and running within 24 months of being selected. “Based on our business plan, we are projecting a turnover of about RM14 billion from selling 60,000 units of Alif per annum,” Mansor said.
The car is set to be launched in Malaysia in 2022 if all goes to plan, with other markets following suit in 2023 once climate testing is completed. Of the 60,000 units to be built, 70% will be left-hand drive; Mansor also expects capacity to be ramped up to 160,000 units by 2025 for a second model, likely to be a city car.
To support the production of the car, APC is planning to develop a local vendor ecosystem within the same two-year timeframe as the factory, which will involve the recruitment of around 300 to 400 investors that will team up with foreign manufacturers to acquire the technology needed. This will be facilitated by Mimco itself.
“All vehicle components, including the powertrain – with the exception of the battery – will be made in Malaysia by Malaysian or Malaysian joint venture companies,” Mansor said, adding that the bid for NNCP was partly to secure a vehicle manufacturing licence from the government.
And how about this for a pièce de résistance – if all the pieces fall into place, APC aims to list Mimco on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in the mid-term future to raise more funds, following in the footsteps of another electric car startup, NiO.
At this point, it should be pointed out that APC’s target of selling 60,000 units globally is a tall order at best. NiO only sold 17,550 units of its ES8 electric SUV in the first 12 months, and that’s in the world’s biggest automotive market (and the biggest for EVs), China. That company also has a number of big-name Chinese and foreign investors, including Tencent, Baidu, Lenovo and Singapore’s Temasek.
So, what do you think of APC’s plans for the third national car? Could it actually become a viable player in the industry, or are those stratospheric targets just a load of hot air? Sound off in the comments after the jump.
*The images of the Italdesign Parcour and GFG Kangaroo shown above are for illustrative purposes only and the cars are in no way related to the project.
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