Bermaz Auto, the authorized distributor of Mazda vehicles in Malaysia has confirmed that there will not be any new locally-assembled (CKD) Mazda models for financial year 2020 (FY2020), putting aside speculations that a CKD Mazda CX-30 (currently imported from Japan) will be launched later this year.
Speaking to The Edge, CEO Datuk Francis Lee said there will be no new CKD projects for FY2020. “If anything, that would be FY2021. If we do, it will be another. Ideally, if we can get the pricing right, it could be as big as the CX-5,” he added.
Bermaz’s financial calendar ends on 30th April.
Candidates for the next locally-assembled SUV could be either the B-segment CX-3 or C-segment CX-30, both are currently imported from Japan, and are thus slapped with additional import and excise duties.
Between the two models, the latter is more likely as the CX-3 is approaching the end of its lifecycle and the B-segment isn't a very profitable space to be in for a niche, premium manufacturer like Mazda.
Currently, Bermaz only has two CKD models; the CX-5 and CX-8, both locally-assembled at its joint venture company Mazda Malaysia’s assembly plant in Kulim, which also makes the same models for export to Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
Lee also reiterated that although there are no new CKD models this year, the company is actively looking into widening its range of CKD models.
“CKD has been our bread-and-butter [business], as 75% of our cars are locally assembled. CKD is built in ringgit, so we are not exposed to the Japanese yen. With more CKD models, we should be able to mitigate the impact if the sales of one particular model are delayed,” said Lee.
Lee also explained that the biggest challenge in introducing lower priced CKD models is Malaysia’s small non-national market, which echoes what we have explained earlier here.
“We and Mazda Japan have always been discussing how to expand our plants and get more vendors involved in the business. The main concern is not enough volume to justify the investments. Manufacturing is all about volume. If you don’t have the volume, nobody is going to invest,” said Lee.
Apart from the locally-assembled Mazda CX-5 and CX-8, Bermaz also imports the Mazda 2 and BT-50 from Thailand, while the Mazda 3, CX-3, CX-30, Mazda 6, and CX-9 are imported from Japan.