Tengku Zafrul: Gov has no intention to phase out AP system despite Tesla direct imports

Despite allowing Tesla to sell its cars directly in Malaysia, the Malaysian government has no intention of abolishing the Approve Permit (AP) system for imported vehicles. This was confirmed by MITI Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul to reporters during the recent Global Investors & Vendors Convention 2023 in Kuala Lumpur.

In Malaysia, there is the Franchise AP and Open AP which are both issued by MITI. Franchise AP is given out for free to franchise holders of car brands registered with MITI while Open Aps are sold to parallel importers at RM10,000 per piece to import secondhand cars of any brand into the country (except for cars from Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore). There are also private APs that are given for free to Malaysians who work or study abroad.

The entry of Tesla into Malaysia may change how car sales are done in Malaysia. With a direct-to-consumer approach, Tesla bypasses Bumiputera intermediaries. Although the government has set the precedent that this is now allowed, it has no intention of phasing out the AP system, at least according to the MITI Minister.

Tesla is set to host the launch of its Model Y in Malaysia on July 20, 2023, and bookings are already open for the car. Prices of the Model Y start at RM199,000 for the base variant without options. The price is already inclusive of the usual taxes.

RELATED: Tesla Model Y open for bookings in Malaysia – from RM199k, extra RM32k for FSD

Brands like Tesla, Smart, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo are already changing how we buy cars – Tesla with its online ordering system, Smart claiming “buying a car is as easy as buying pizza”, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia with its newly introduced agency model for the Malaysian market, and Volvo Car Malaysia with its online e-commerce platform. The dealer model for car sales is certainly changing. As for the AP system, it is here to stay, at least for now.

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