New national car to launch in March 2021, powered by Daihatsu!


Turns out that all the hoopla surrounding an electric SUV designed by Giugiaro was a smokescreen after all. For the much anticipated ‘third’ national car company, the tried and tested formula of working with a technical partner from Japan – in this case, Daihatsu – will be adopted once again. And we will be seeing the first model to roll out as early as March 2021, some 18 months from now.

Historic moment as MITI Minister Datuk Darell Leiking announces new national car company.

The ‘anchor company’ to deliver the new national is DreamEdge Sdn. Bhd. The literature on their capabilities is enough to fill up this whole page, but this is how they describe themselves (just the first paragraph) on their website:

“Innovation and Engineering have been at the very core of DreamEDGE’s DNA. DreamEDGE focuses on several types of innovation, from product and process innovation, to business and service innovations. DreamEDGE Sdn Bhd has developed its’ local Research and Development (R&D) status company, recognition by Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA).

Tight timeline, 18 months to market launch.

Powerful stuff. Anyway, what we managed to gather at the 30-minute press conference held at their headquarters in Cyberjaya, located on an aptly name street called Jalan Impact:

  • The chosen technical partner is Daihatsu, they will ‘provide support in advanced technology’ but won’t be taking up equity in the yet to be named new national car company.
  • The pillars of this new model were listed as ‘new model with advanced technology’, ‘exclusive model with new approach to segmentation’ and ‘affordable to the public’.
  • Key areas which the new national car company will focus on are ‘upper body design’, ‘interiors’, ‘human machine interface’, ‘NVH’ and ‘ride and handling’.
  • Major milestones are; mock up to be shown by end of this month (August), a prototype by March 2020 and market launch a year later in March 2021.
  • According to DreamEdge, the mock-up of the first model will be shown in the end of August, there is no name for it yet, but it is described as a C-segment sedan. Daihatsu currently has no C-segment three-box sedan in its line-up. The only C-segment model is the Mebius which is a rebadged last-generation Prius.
  • When queried as to what kind of powertrain to be used in the first model, the CEO of DreamEdge Khairil Adri Adnan mentioned ‘advanced ICE’ or ‘hybrid’.
  • DreamEdge is looking to contract manufacture its first model, so expect a local manufacturing partner to be chosen. Could this partner be located somewhere in Rawang?

More details will emerge soon enough, but after a year’s worth of public discourse and speculation, looks like the new national car company is assuming a familiar business model, it’s not straight rebadging but it will very likely be based on a vehicle that’s already in production, given the tight timeline to deliver a brand new car in 18 months. Now Malaysians can start speculating on which model and powertrain it’ll be based on.  


Denis Wong

Denis Wong

In the age of misinformation and spin, Denis prefers candour and a counterpoint, because the truth matters.
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