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Kia Malaysia begins export of CKD Kia Sorento Hybrid and PHEV to Thailand, from Kulim

Hans · Jun 14, 2024 04:35 PM

Kia Malaysia begins export of CKD Kia Sorento Hybrid and PHEV to Thailand, from Kulim 01

Kia Malaysia, the manufacturing joint venture between Kia Motor and local distributor Bermaz Auto, appears to have started export of the Malaysia-assembled (CKD) Kia Sorento to Thailand.

Based on production data compiled by the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA), Kia Malaysia’s contract manufacturer Inokom’s Kulim plant has produced nearly 382 units of the MQ4 Kia Sorento – 77 units of 7-seater Hybrid (HEV) variant and 305 units of 6-seater Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) variant – in March and April this year.

However, checks with Dinamikjaya Motors, the Bermaz Auto subsidiary responsible for distributing Kia vehicles in Malaysia, say these electrified Sorentos are not for our domestic market.

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Considering that production only started in March, and only two HEV and PHEV variants are being produced, it’s obvious that these cars are meant for export to Thailand.

Kia Malaysia begins export of CKD Kia Sorento Hybrid and PHEV to Thailand, from Kulim 01

In February, Kia setup its own national sales company (NSC), Kia Sales (Thailand) Co Ltd. The entity took over from previous distributor Yontrakit Kia Motor Co., Ltd. in February this year.

Thailand only sells two variants of the Sorento - HEV and PHEV - both powered by electrified versions of a 1.6-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder petrol, paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission.

The HEV variant makes 230 PS, while the PHEV variant makes 265 PS. The latter comes with AWD.

The HEV comes with 7 seats while the PHEV comes with 6.

Kia Malaysia begins export of CKD Kia Sorento Hybrid and PHEV to Thailand, from Kulim 02

In many markets, a new facelifted Sorento is already on sale

In Malaysia, the Kia Sorento is priced from RM 211,498. It’s powered by either a 2.5-litre naturally aspirated 4-cylinder or a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel 4-cylinder.

The model is also locally assembled at Kulim, but only 240 units were produced last year, and none this year.

Dinamikjaya has previously ruled out introduction of hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants of the Sorento.

For one, the 1.6-litre turbocharged engine requires Euro-6 petrol. Even Malaysia’s RON 97 petrol stops at Euro 5.

Secondly, Malaysia only incentivizes battery EVs (BEVs). Plug-in hybrids will simply cost a lot more.

Rivals for the Kia Sorento include the Mazda CX-8 (from RM 185,360) and Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace (from RM 177,590). Both are locally assembled.

There’s also the Hyundai Santa Fe, but since its preview in November 2023, there’s still no confirmed price list for the model.

Hans

Head of Content

Over 15 years of experience in automotive, from product planning, to market research, to print and digital media. Garages a 6-cylinder manual RWD but buses to work.

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