Luxury carmaker to set up operations in M’sia: MITI

A luxury automaker known for its ‘precision engineering’ will be setting up a base in Malaysia soon, minister of international trade and industry Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said at a civil servants’ gathering, Malay Mail reported.

This automaker is most likely to be Porsche. Last month, The Edge Weekly published a report stating that the German automaker is setting up a local assembly plant in Malaysia, and it is understood to have planned for CKD assembly of the Macan and Cayenne SUV models in the country.

The minister said that the car company has agreed to operate in Malaysia, although the minister said that he is not at liberty to reveal the identity of the manufacturer. “I can say that there is one car manufacturing company. This is one which produces expensive cars, not cheap ones,” Azmin said.

“I cannot announce [their identity] yet, although they have agreed [to operate in Malaysia], and this is the first plant outside that particular country. This is about precision engineering, [which means that they will be] making cars which are among the most expensive in the world. So, the factory will be here in Malaysia,” the minister said.

Of its current line-up, Porsche manufactures the Cayenne in Bratislava, Slovakia, which is a Volkswagen-owned facility that also makes the Volkswagen Touareg, Audi Q7 and Q8. This would make the upcoming Kulim, Kedah facility Porsche’s first located outside native Germany.

The earlier Edge report stated that Porsche is working with Inokom for the setting up of the plant in the northern region, and this would be a logical partnership as Inokom is a a subsidiary of Sime Darby Motors, which also owns Porsche distributor Sime Darby Auto Performance.

Only the base models of the Macan and Cayenne are expected to be locally assembled, which means that GTS or Turbo variants won’t see the significant price drops that result from CKD operations, and there won’t be CKD versions of two-door sports cars such as the Boxster, Cayman and 911 on the horizon.

Porsche has previously rejected the idea of manufacturing its cars in China, its largest and most profitable market, even if it could stand to significantly increase its sales numbers by doing so.

CEO Oliver Blume, who is also on the board of parent company Volkswagen, stated that it is worth absorbing higher costs for the cachet of being a ‘Made in Germany’ brand among its buyers. “That’s also the feedback we got from our dealerships and from our customers,” Blume told Financial Times last month.

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