RAWANG: Perodua will launch its much-anticipated D55L compact turbocharged sport utility vehicle (SUV) on March 3, via an online premiere.
The national automaker had opened the D55L SUV for booking last Friday, with the X, H and AV variants at prices estimated between RM62,500 and RM73,400, on-the-road before insurance in Peninsular Malaysia.
Among the D55L’s headlining features is the advanced safety assist – a driver assistance system that helps to reduce the risk of collisions, which is available on all variants.
Also available on all variants are lane departure warning and prevention, while the top AV exclusively gets lane keep control, blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert and adaptive cruise control.
All the features make the D55L SUV the first Perodua model to satisfy level two autonomous driving standards.
At a media briefing on Tuesday, Perodua president and CEO Datuk Zainal Abidin Ahmad said the company has a planned capital expenditure (capex) of RM1.2bil for 2021, of which more than half would be for research and development, and RM250mil for sales network upgrades and expansion.
“We will focus more on a design centre, where we can do multiple model designs. We want to do as much in-house design work as possible, ” he said.
Also, this year the automaker is aiming for 25% of the 190 Perodua outlets in the country to be 3S (sales, service and spares) centres, from 10% in 2020.
Zainal said a substantial portion of this year’s capex was deferred from 2020, where the company spent RM620mil instead of the RM1.06bil planned.
“We deferred a lot of last year’s capex to 2021, due to the lockdowns arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, ” he explained.
Zainal also said the company had spoken to the government about the potential for producing electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrids in the country.
However, he stressed that Perodua’s DNA is about minimising a car’s fuel consumption and not about powertrain types.
“When talking about green vehicles such as EVs, we first need to look at reducing the carbon footprint of the energy generation infrastructure as a whole. In Malaysia, we are still very much dependent on coal-fired powerplants, ” he said.
He added that if there were plans to produce EVs, the company would look at the local production of batteries for such cars.
However, Zainal noted that Malaysia has to study the future automotive landscape in Indonesia, which has rare earth metals and materials that are crucial for EV batteries.
Nikkei Asia had recently reported that battery production for EVs is expected to become a new magnet for Chinese and South Korean investment in Indonesia.
The business journal reported that President Joko Widodo’s government has targeted 2024 for starting domestic production of EV batteries in the country and is eager to tap the expertise of foreign players.
Jakarta seeks to capitalise on Indonesia’s position as the world’s top producer of nickel, a key battery material.
According to Nikkei Asia, the Indonesia government is discussing investment with battery makers including China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd and South Korea’s LG Chem.