Mazda Motor starts CX-8 SUV production in Malaysia for SE Asian market
KUALA LUMPUR, NNA - Japan’s Mazda Motor Corp. has started production of its CX-8 sport utility vehicles on an assembly basis in Malaysia for domestic sales and exports to the greater Southeast Asian market.
One of the first CX-8 cars that rolled off an assembly line in Malaysia was unveiled on Tuesday. The CX-8 range has been open for advance booking in Malaysia, and its domestic sales are due to start in the middle of this month, according to Akira Machida, a Mazda spokesman in Tokyo.
Mazda Motor’s Malaysian subsidiary, Mazda Malaysia Sdn. Bhd., started knockdown production of CX-8 SUVs on September 24 on a dedicated Mazda Motor line at a plant in Kulim in the state of Kedah, which is owned by Inokom Corporation Sdn. Bhd., a subsidiary of Malaysia-based Sime Darby Motors, Machida said.
The line, capable of producing 20,000 units a year, is now being used to turn out CX-8 as well as CX-5 models. In Southeast Asia, Mazda Motor also has two production bases – a plant in Thailand with an annual output capacity of 270,000 complete cars and an assembly plant in Vietnam with an annual output capacity of 50,000 units. The two models have been assembled in Vietnam, the spokesman said.
“As in the case of CX-5, we plan to export Malaysia-made CX-8 models to major markets in Southeast Asia as well to sell them in Malaysia,” he told NNA in an email. CX-5 cars have been shipped from Malaysia to Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Myanmar.
He also said the production capacity of the Malaysian assembly facility might be upgraded depending on demand “as the market of each Southeast Asian country is expected to grow.” Mazda Motor started assembling motor vehicles in Malaysia in 2011 and has invested more than 10 billion yen ($93 million) in production and other equipment there, he said.
According to the business weekly Edge, Mazda Motor’s Malaysian sales agent, Bermaz Audo Bhd., has set the annual CX-8 sales target in Malaysia at more than 2,000 units. Mazda Malaysia is owned 70 percent by Mazda Motor and 30 percent by Bermaz Auto Berhad.