Published on June 16th, 2021 | by Subhash Nair


Malaysia Might Miss Out On Tesla’s 1st ASEAN Plant In 2024

Tesla will take one look at NAP 2020 and brush Malaysia aside when deciding where to build the plant.

A recent investor note by Morgan Stanley published on the 14th of June 2020 forecasts that Tesla will be opening 5 new auto plants by the middle or later this decade. They anticipate that these 5 new plants will be opened to cater for India, ASEAN, Northern/Central Europe and the United States. The ASEAN plant is of particular importance to us.

Will Malaysia be sidelined once again when Mr Musk starts looking into a South-East Asian EV hub? After all, every other country in ASEAN seems to have some sort of blueprint for Electric Vehicles. We don’t even have to go that far, most countries can actually give you clear numbers as to incentives and taxes.

Tesla Gigafactory in Fremont, California
Tesla Gigafactory

Meanwhile, if you’re just at the planning stages for a car factory in Malaysia, there’s no real way to get concrete numbers unless you’re already familiar with the market. That is probably why Porsche has decided to assemble cars here. Maybe if one of the cars assembled here is the new Taycan, Tesla might pay attention to Malaysia and look at how well Porsche are faring.

BHPetrol_Euro5 Diesel_2021

Right now, Tesla has no actual presence in Malaysia. There are a few parallel importers (and other random players) who are trying to make a case, but it’s not the case that these cars are selling like hot cakes in the grey market. Without a strong demand for these cars at existing grey market prices and without a proper national agenda for a charging station network, I fear Tesla may end up making cars in Thailand or Indonesia. Perhaps even Singapore.

The government really needs to start thinking about more transparent policies for foreign investors. Malaysians could do with the jobs.

About the National Automotive Policy 2020

Ever since the National Automotive Policy 2020 (NAP 2020) was announced, we’ve seen major investments in the automotive sector completely bypass Malaysia in favour of other countries in the region. Hyundai Motor Group, for instance, has picked Indonesia for its first plant in ASEAN, with another high tech EV facility in Singapore. They’ve even closed their Asia & Pacific Regional Headquarters in Malaysia and moved it to Jakarta.

About the Author

Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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