Malaysia’s second national car company, Perodua, plans to take on a more active role in the design and development of new cars, according to local reports.

The company is majority locally-owned, but with Japan’s Daihatsu Motor holding 20% of the equity, Daihatsu (Malaysia) 5% and Japan’s Mitsui 6%.

Daihatsu has been the main technology partner for the company since the first Perodua car was launched in 1993.

Perodua has grown rapidly since then to become the best-selling car brand in the country with a 36% of passenger vehicle sales so far this year – way ahead of first national carmaker Proton.

The report suggests that Perodua will be involved in the design of the bodies and interiors of forthcoming models, with Daihatsu transferring R&D technology and expertise to its local partner.

Perodua will continue to use Daihatsu’s platforms, including engine and transmissions, and other technologies in the foreseeable future.

In recent months, Perodua has been expanding its R&D team to improve its capabilities, which it hopes will improve the local appeal of its vehicles.