Bermaz Auto, the parent company of Bermaz Motor, the sole authorized distributor of Mazda vehicles in Malaysia, has confirmed that it will be introducing its third locally-assembled (CKD) model, hinting at the Mazda MX-30.
In an interview with BFM radio earlier this month, CEO Dato’ Francis Lee said Bermaz is looking to introduce the Mazda MX-30, first as a mild-hybrid, but a fully-electric variant will also be considered if government incentives are attractive enough and there is enough supporting infrastructure for electric vehicles.
The MX-30 was originally planned to be launched in Malaysia in late-2020 but the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic will delay it by a few months.
“It’s very hard to communicate now with Mazda in Hiroshima because of the pandemic. We can’t fly there as and when we like to have further discussions, but hopefully in the next month or so we can have a Zoom or video conference call to push it along further,” said Dato’ Francis.
“Hopefully we can bring it by the first quarter of next year, in the mild hybrid version,” he added.
While Lee didn’t specifically mentioned that the third CKD SUV will be the MX-30, the model was discussed alongside the topic of the RM 200 million investment by its manufacturing partner Inokom, which Bermaz has a 29 percent stake in. However, completion of the plant expansion has also been delayed by Covid-19.
“Of course during this pandemic things move slower than normal, but we have not given up hope yet. We are hoping that Mazda Japan will try and accommodate our request. We are still working on it very hard. As far as the plant expansion is concerned, it is still going as planned but it is delayed by the pandemic and MCO. This RM 200 million CAPEX expansion will be at Inokom level, so it’s not at Bermaz level. As far as cash flow is concerned it won’t deplete our cash a lot, but Inokom being a contract assembler, they have to keep up with the times,” said Dato’ Francis.
The Mazda MX-30 was previewed at last year’s Tokyo Motor, then only as a battery electric vehicle (BEV). A mild-hybrid variant was announced earlier this month, and will go on sale in Japan next year, again due to delays caused by Covid-19.
Details are still to be announced but Mazda has confirmed that the MX-30 will be powered by new 2.0-litre naturally aspirated e-SkyActiv-G engine, dispelling rumours of a small capacity rotary-type range-extender engine.
Being a mild-hybrid means that the electric motor will only be used for assistance, and the car can’t accelerate from standstill in electric power alone. In other words, it’s closer in execution to the previous Mercedes-Benz C200 with EQ Power (the model has been replaced by a non-hybrid C200 AMG), than the upcoming two-motor full-hybrid Honda City RS with i-MMD.
But nevermind about its powertrain. The highlight of the MX-30 is its quirky rearward opening rear doors, reminiscence of the Mazda RX-8, as well as the its very artsy interior.
The MX-30 is based on the CX-30, which is imported from Japan and has a starting price of RM 143k. With lower taxes from local assembly, the MX-30 could potentially undercut the CX-30's price.