Entrepreneur Development Minister Mohamad Nazri Aziz has told national car dealers to be prepared for the coming of the Asean Free Trade Area (AFTA) in 2003 and that they should change their business approach if they want continued success.

They should not take things for granted just because the government was safeguarding the interest of the two national cars, he said when officiating the annual general meeting of the EON Dealers Association of Malaysia or EDAM here.

Malaysia produces Proton and Kanchil cars.

Nazri also unveiled the new logo of EDAM, which was set up in 1997, at the meeting.

He stressed that once AFTA was implemented, the market for cars in Malaysia and the region would be opened wide.

Under this scenario, imported car dealers are expected to go all out to break the long-standing monopoly of national car dealers, Nazri said once AFTA was implemented, tariff protection would be abolished, throwing the market wide open.

In order to succeed under the new environment, national car dealers must give their fullest commitment in selling cars, he said.

He warned dealers against taking things for granted for their business would be torn apart by the industry giants once AFTA was implemented.

Nazri pointed out that the factors for being a successful car dealer included on-time delivery, excellent after-sales service and adequate knowledge of the vehicles being sold.

Armed with these strong points and combined with the home ground advantage, dealers of Malaysian cars could ensure that they remained competitive even after AFTA was enforced.