Automotive Engineering Centre (AEC) was officially established on 1st February 2008. Prior to the establishment of AEC, the Automotive Focus Group which was responsible for all the automotive related activities in UMP had been formed. In 2007,the Automotive Focus Group proposed to the UMP top management to develop a centre focusing on automotive engineering research activities to be known as the Automotive Development Centre.
The proposal was endorsed by the UMP Board of Directors, however the name was changed to the Automotive Excellence Centre. In March 2010, AEC underwent rebranding in order to expand its capabilities and operations to meet the changing needs of the local automotive industries. A total of 20 researchers from the three Faculties of Mechanical, Electrical & Electronic and Manufacturing Engineering were appointed as AEC members of staff.
The Centre name's was finally changed to the current Automotive Engineering Centre (AEC) effective from 22nd July 2010 to better reflect its operations and services. AEC had established several collaborations with players in the automotive industries such as HICOM Automotive Manufacturers, Modenas, Miyazu and Sapura as well as with overseas technical universities such as National Kaohsiung University of Applied Science (KUAS) of Taiwan and Iwate University of Japan.