Bermaz to expand beyond Mazda – what new brands are coming to Malaysia?

Hans · Aug 27, 2020 03:01 PM

At the moment, Bermaz Auto’s business is limited only to Mazda, Ssangyong and Changan. The latter two are active only in the Philippines, where Bermaz Auto is also doing brisk business there.

Rumour has it that Bermaz Auto have been in talks with several car brands, some already present in Malaysia under another distributor, while others are new entrants. At least one European brand and two more Asian brands are said to have been in contact with Bermaz Auto.

Details of the discussions and parties involved are still kept tightly under wraps and for now, nothing has been decided yet.

In an interview with BFM radio earlier this month, CEO of Bermaz Auto Dato’ Francis Lee revealed that Bermaz is open to acquiring more distributorships for other automotive brands, but stopped short of revealing any further details.

“We are always on the lookout for more brands in the group. But of course we have to be careful in what brand we choose, especially now, things are still very uncertain (Covid-19). But of course in this pandemic era, there are a lot of opportunities out there. We are very choosy, nothing is concrete yet at this stage. Hopefully we can conclude something in the next 6 to 8 months.

“In the meantime, our main concern is to ensure that we are on stable footing in terms of financials,” said Lee.

“We have the expertise, we have the manpower. So to take on another brand is not difficult,” added Lee on Mazda’s progress under Bermaz since 2008.

“If opportunities arise, yes we will take on another brand,” he said.

Lee also revealed that the company is looking at launching the Mazda MX-30 mild hybrid and all-new Mazda BT-50 in the first quarter of 2021.

Ssangyong at the Seoul Motor Show

Berjaya Auto first took over the Mazda distributorship business in Malaysia in 2008, from previous distributor Cycle and Carriage. The business was later transferred to Bermaz Auto in 2016 under a management buyout deal.

Since taking over the business, Berjaya Auto/Bermaz Auto’s subsidiary Bermaz Motor have raised Mazda’s sales in Malaysia from a paltry 1,059 units in 2007 to 11,651 units in 2019.

Bermaz Auto’s vehicle assembly joint venture with Mazda Motor, Mazda Malaysia, currently exports the CX-5 and CX-8 to Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines.

Bermaz Auto’s subsidiary Bermaz Auto Philippines became Mazda’s distributor in the Philippines in 2012. Another Bermaz-affiliated company Ssangyong Berjaya Motor Philippines, clinched the deal to represent the Korean marque in the Philippines in 2015.

Meanwhile, Berjaya Auto Asia have been representing the Chinese Changan brand in the Philippines since 2017. Changan has since been rebranded into Kaicene in the Philippines.

So what do you think? Which brands are going to come under Bermaz’s expanded wings soon?