This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly on March 6, 2023 - March 12, 2023
The government has granted Tesla approval to import battery electric vehicles (BEVs) into Malaysia.
The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti) says it is facilitating Tesla’s entry through the introduction of the BEV Global Leaders initiative, a measure that aims to help boost BEV demand in the country and promote the development of an ecosystem to support BEV adoption.
Tesla is the first applicant for this initiative, under which it will establish a head office, its Supercharger network, as well as its experience and service centres in Malaysia. The initiative also seeks to secure investments from leading global BEV manufacturing companies in Malaysia.
The approval for Tesla is good news for Malaysians who have been longing to own a Tesla car and a groundbreaking move in the EV segment.
But it may not be that good of news for approved permit (AP) holders who intend to import Tesla into Malaysia to sell. Since Tesla is permitted to import its own marque and distribute it locally, it will be tough for AP holders to compete with the marque owner.
Some say this will shake up grey importers of Tesla that have brought in the EVs using APs and sell it in Malaysia at hefty prices.
AP holders who have been importing cars in the past decades have made lucrative profits at the expense of the nation’s coffers because of the lower excise duty granted.
It is time to scrap the need for APs on all cars, more so with the country’s tight fiscal position.
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