Come January, the National Automotive Policy (NAP) 2014 will reached its fourth year of implementation.
From the onset, the common goal was straightforward – to create an ecosystem in which healthy competition could spur the creation of businesses and jobs that had the competitive instinct and capability to match customer expectation sustainably.
The policy was a product of all views. When it was announced, we knew it was not a path laced with roses. We knew there were thorns. In order to stay competitive, changes had to be made by all. Investments were not only monetary, but they also included investment of mindset, culture and time.
In fact, those thorns grew sharper than expected. A year into the policy, significant gains were seen. Car prices became competitive, exports started growing and vehicle sales reached an all-time high, only to be hampered by an uncertain economy and shocks in foreign exchange rates.
Short-term setbacks are part of the business cycle. The development of capabilities and the competitive spirit, however, cannot be eroded by economic fluctuations. For me, that progress is more important. Tough times never last, but tough people will last.
With this in mind, I am glad that this is one of few occasions I am not writing about what has to be done, but what has been done.
Last weekend, I took time out of my schedule to visit my mother in Nilai.
The ride was smooth, serene and most importantly, felt very safe. Most of all, this level of comfort was provided to me by the ingenuity and talent of the Malaysian people.
The new Perodua Myvi felt spacious, has luxurious handling and surpasses expectations.
It comes with a five-star New Car Assessment Programme for Southeast Asian Countries Rating and the variant I own comes with advanced safety assistance – pre-collision warning and braking, front departure alert and pedal mis-operation control.
These features are available in the entry-level model, bringing advanced safety features to all. It is also one of the most efficient vehicles in term of fuel consumption.
The Myvi is designed by Malaysian engineers. I can attest that it was no small feat and took years of hard work, innovation and an immense learning curve. It also required the company’s leadership to take bold and ambitious risks in order to deliver.
Last but not least, it required the tremendous support of local vendors – 90 per cent of Myvi components were developed by Malaysian automotive businesses.
It all started with a policy – one that needed the buy-in and support of all. I am thankful that despite the challenges we faced, the spirit and support did not fade.
I hope all Malaysians can go to the nearest showroom and admire the hard work we have all put in to deliver a more competitive automotive industry.
Spend some time testing the car, feel its comfort and the advance features. It is not just a product, but a proud philosophy built by fellow countrymen.
All that is left to say is, my congratulations to Perodua, its vendors and Malaysia.
The writer is the chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive Institute.