Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad visited China and we at DSF predicted two months ago that the new third national car programme would likely be a joint venture with Chinese electric vehicle (EV) company LYNK & Co. Why?
Well, LYNK & Co is a new brand by Geely Auto.
In 2017, we saw the launch of the 01, the first product from Geely Auto’s newest brand LYNK & Co.
“Born global and connected”, LYNK & Co set a new benchmark for EV manufacturing globally with a brand new plant in China.
This high technology/ultra-modern plant combines technology and manufacturing know-how from the Geely and Volvo Cars units of China auto giant Zhejiang Geely Holding Group.
The Zhangjiakou complex builds the LYNK & Co 02 SUV and a sedan called the 03 for the Chinese market.
Currently, the plant employs about 1,800 workers on one daily shift, working alongside nearly 300 robots.
When the factory goes to a second shift, it will employ 3,000 people capable of building about 200,000 cars per year. These employment and production levels are consistent with auto plants in mature markets globally.
Important to note – LYNK & Co is building left-hand drive vehicles right now for China and European buyers.
If Malaysia were to work with them, Malaysia can be the manufacturing hub for right-hand drive vehicles which would allow easy sales access to Asean including Australia and New Zealand.
Current LYNK & Co models are plug-in hybrids but they are working towards a full EV lineup in the coming years.
Other than a claimed electric range of 50 km, the plug-in hybrid is a pairing of a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine with an electric motor.
LYNK & Co plans to gradually add more EVs to its lineup and this is where Malaysia’s third national car programme will start.
If Malaysia starts talking to LYNK & Co right now, by the time negotiations are concluded and the new factory built, the full EV lineup can be ready for assembly in right-hand drive.
Malaysians and others in the region can then enjoy Malaysia’s third national car that will be a full EV with a Volvo build and Geely battery power. Think about it!