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Berjaya gets license to manufacture hybrid vehicles
30 October 2010 - Berjaya Corp Bhd (BCorp) has obtained a licence to manufacture passenger and commercial vehicles at a factory to be built in Selangor, but the rights do not cover small cars that the diversified group is more interested in.
BCorp said yesterday that the Ministry of International Trade and Industry's licence is for the production of commercial vehicles, hybrid cars, electric cars and luxury passenger vehicles.
BCorp wanted to partner China's BYD Auto to develop 1-litre cars for the domestic and Asean markets at a new factory on 41ha in Bukit Tagar.
BCorp and BYD Auto had signed a memorandum of understanding to develop the latter's F0 model in February this year.
F0 retails at between US$4,000 (RM13,778) and US$5,000 (RM17,222) in China.
The government, however, does not plan to relax rules under the National Automotive Policy, which only allows new manufacturing licence for cars with capacity of 1.8 litres and above.
A BCorp spokesperson said plans to assemble BYD vehicles had not been shelved.
"Our motor division is still in talks (with BYD on the prospect)," she said when contacted yesterday.
BYD Auto, which counts famous US investor Warren Buffet among its shareholders, is the fourth biggest carmaker in China by volume, after Volkswagen, General Motors and Toyota.
Last year, BYD Auto sold 450,000 vehicles.
Commenting on the licence, BCorp chairman and chief executive officer Tan Sri Vincent Tan said it will provide the group the opportunity to assemble commercial and passenger vehicles locally. This will give it more flexibility and control over quality and pricing of its vehicles.
"Besides strategically complementing and widening our existing range of motor brands, this will also be a good opportunity for Berjaya Corp to promote green technology through the development of hybrid and electric vehicles, which are more environmentally friendly.
"In line with this, we hope to expand our market share and develop a bigger global presence," Tan said in a statement yesterday.
The Berjaya group has considerable experience in the motor vehicle business, with rights to distribute, market and sell world-renown brands such as Aston Martin, Mazda, Skoda, Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles and China's Chana and Jinbei.