After Mazda, Bermaz to also export Kia Seltos and Carnival from Malaysia
Hans · Apr 2, 2021 03:00 PM
The newly formed Kia manufacturing joint venture made between Bermaz Auto Berhad and Kia Motors Corporation - Kia Malaysia Sdn Bhd (KMSB) - will become Kia’s regional manufacturing hub.
It will be Kia's first manufacturing joint venture plant in Asia outside of China.
Apart from China and Korea, Kia has only two other manufacturing facilities in Asia. The one in India is wholly owned by Kia Motor while the one in Vietnam is owned by Truong Hai Auto Corp (Thaco). Kia does not hold any stake in the plant and Thaco's plant makes mostly left-hand drive vehicles.
The Thaco plant used to export a small number of right-hand drive Kia Carnival to Thailand but the latest generation Carnival sold in Thailand is now imported from Korea.
The Kia Malaysia manufacturing joint venture will be 33.3 percent owned by Bermaz Auto, with the remaining owned by Kia Motor themselves. Bermaz Auto confirms that the manufacturing facility will be in Inokom manufacturing campus in Kulim, Kedah, but in a seperate facility from Mazda's.
Kia Malaysia will use an existing, under-utilised facility. Bermaz did not confirm it just yet, but we believe this is the existing facility used by Hyundai to assemble the Hyundai Santa Fe.
Yesterday, Kia announced that it has appointed Bermaz Auto’s subsidiary Dinamikjaya Motors Sdn Bhd(DJMSB) as its new distributor in Malaysia, replacing Naza Kia Malaysia effective immediately.
DinamikjayaMotors is 65 percent owned by Bermaz Auto, whose subsidiary Bermaz Motor is also the distributor for Mazda vehicles in Malaysia.
The locally-assembled (CKD) models line-up will start with the Kia Seltos and Kia Carnival. A third unnamed model will soon join the line-up but this will most likely be yet another SUV, either the Sportage and Sorento.
Sedans can be safely ruled out as the Cerato competes in a diminishing C-segment, one that's not big enough to accomodate anything other than a Honda Civic, while the Kia K5 is only available as a left-hand drive.
Export destinations have yet to be announced but presently, the Mazda Malaysia plant in Kulim already exports the CX-5 and CX-8 to Thailand and the Philippines, the latter is also represented by Bermaz, under a different subsidiary Berjaya Auto Philippines.
Bermaz also didn't commit to a timeline for the export but obviously this can only take place after the CKD project is complete, which Bermaz says will take between 12 to 18 months to finish, meaning that the first CKD Kia model won't be launched in Malaysia until 2022.