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Poor demand for electric cars in M'sia: BMW

Publication Date : 19-02-2014


BMW Group Malaysia Sdn Bhd has no immediate plans to manufacture electric cars mainly due to poor demand for such vehicles in the country.

This does not override the fact that locally assembled electric vehicles will be exempted from excise duties.

“We can’t produce our ‘i’ (electric vehicle) models now because the volume is just not there,” said BMW Group Malaysia managing director Dr Gerhard Pils at a media briefing on Tuesday, adding that there was also insufficient infrastructure to support electric vehicles in Malaysia.

He urged the government to offer incentives for players to sell electric vehicles, regardless of whether they are locally assembled.

“With such incentives in place, other players can come in as well.” BMW’s “i” models are its i3 (electric) and i8 (hybrid).

It was announced under the National Automotive Policy last month that excise duty exemptions will only be given to locally assembled or completely-knocked-down hybrid and electric cars.

The exemption for hybrids will end on Dec 31, 2015 and for electric cars on Dec 31, 2017.

BMW Group senior vice-president region Asia, Pacific and South Africa Hendrik von Kuenheim noted that global demand for electric vehicles was growing.

“The BMW brand, for the past 100 years, has relied on internal combustion engines and we believe there is still potential for growth. However, electric mobility is growing,” he said, adding that governments around the world needed to play a pivotal role in pushing demand for electric vehicles.

On another note, Pils said BMW Group Malaysia was confident of recording double- digit growth in sales this year from the 7,974 units it sold in 2013.

“We have successful products and good orderbank,” he said.

The company’s total sales rose 22.7% year-on-year to 638 units in January this year. Pils said the BMW Group intends to locally assemble the BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo in 2014. This will be the 14th BMW variant to be assembled in Malaysia.


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