KUALA LUMPUR - Interest in hybrid cars is said to be picking up following the latest round of fuel price increase.
But while distributors of hybrid cars are embracing the latest development, they are uncertain how things will fare after the end of this year - when the tax incentives on hybrid and electric cars expire.
"With the petrol price hike, there will be more awareness regarding the benefits of hybrid cars. I hope this will spur the sales of hybrid models this year," said UMW Toyota Motor Sdn Bhd president Datuk Ismet Suki.
He hoped that the tax incentives would be extended.
"Without the tax incentives, hybrid cars would not be as attractive in pricing. Also, more time is needed to educate the public and improve awareness on these eco-friendly cars," he said.
"We are also seriously looking at introducing new Toyota hybrids in Malaysia or local assembly operations with the right incentives."
Under Budget 2012, the Government gave full exemption of import duty and excise tax on hybrid and electric cars below 2,000cc until Dec 31, 2013.
The move saw hybrid car sales for that year jumping 84 per cent to 15,355 units (compared with 8,334 units in 2011), according to data from the Malaysian Automotive Association.