The Malaysian government has pledged to open up the automotive industry by offering more licences, tax incentives and soft loans to car and component makers with the aim of turning Malaysia into a regional hub for the production of energy-efficient vehicles.

"We hope this New Automotive Policy (NAP) 2014 can enable us to become the energy-efficient vehicle hub in ASEAN in the future," Malaysian International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamad was quoted by Kyodo News Agency as saying.

Among the measures announced, Malaysia will grant manufacturing licences for green cars with no limitation on engine capacity.

At present, there is a freeze on the issue of licences for the production of cars with an engine capacity of 1.8 litres and below, which will continue under the new policy in order to protect domestic carmakers.

Through NAP 2014, the country hopes to boost auto output to 1.25 million cars by 2020, from 570,000 units in 2013, and auto exports to 250,000 cars by 2020, from 20,000 in 2013.-VNA