A local market research company has predicted Renault would receive the first licence under the government’s plan to turn Malaysia into a hybrid- and electric-vehicles hub in the ASEAN regional trade bloc, a media report said.

AmResearch believes Renault will get the first licence, WardsAuto.com reported.

"The rest are likely to be General Motors, Great Wall and Hyundai, based on our best guesses," the report cited Malaysia-based AmResearch as saying.

"Auto parts players are the broader beneficiaries of the potential entries of all four new foreign OEMs, on top of new investments into EEV production lines by existing OEMs. We think a form of consolidation in the industry to improve cost efficiency and product range is worth watching out for this year."

WardsAuto.com noted that The Star newspaper coverage of the AmResearch report noted trade and industry minister Mustapa Mohamed had said the government would issue EEV manufacturing licences by April in line with the National Automotive Policy announced in January.

The paper said AmResearch cited past meetings with regulators and players to suggest the government had been in talks with four foreign automakers to set up bases in Malaysia.

"[Renault distributor] Tan Chong Motor Holdings is the immediate beneficiary of Renault’s entry," the research house reportedly said. "However, we think that initial production volume may not be meaningful, estimated at 300 units per month, which is 2% of Nissan’s total Malaysia sales."

AmResearch said it expected Tan Chong to build the Renault EEVs at its underused Segambut plant, WardsAuto.com added.