KUALA LUMPUR // DRB-HICOM, the Malaysian car maker, is holding discussions with potential partners as it bids to become the first hybrid manufacturer and the third company to sell hybrids in the country. Currently only Honda and Toyota run franchises to selling the Honda Civic Hybrid and the Toyota Prius respectively.
"We are talking to two or three parties now and hope to finalise something within 2010. It would take 18 to 24 months after finalisation for the whole thing to come on stream," DRB-HICOM's automotive group director Datuk Nik Hamdan Nik Hassan said. "Honda and Toyota have hybrids now. Rather than just importing, we should consider manufacturing as well, especially where the government has introduced incentives." The incentives introduced by the Malaysian government include an exemption of 50 per cent on excise duty for locally made hybrids and the provision of grants to assist with production.