Automotive Subaru factory Thailand

Published on December 9th, 2019 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez

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Why is our National Automotive Policy STILL Delayed?

Last call says its being unveiled this December 13th.

For most of you reading this, the Malaysian National Automotive Policy (NAP) might not be important to you, but if you are an automotive brand guardian in Malaysia and work in the Malaysian automotive eco-system, the NAP is probably the most important policy that you eagerly wait for each and every year. This policy affects our automotive landscape in more ways than most of you reading this can understand.

Jobs are affected if the policy is not well thought out

Some years ago, Malaysia was the automotive leader in ASEAN. Recently Malaysia has taken the 3rd seat (Thailand is first and Indonesia is second right now) and by this time next year Vietnam could well be ahead of us.

All this mean lost jobs for Malaysians. Loss of foreign direct investment and a huge loss to the growth in our automotive industry. 

How will car brands expand?

The 2019 NAP which was supposed to be presented to the Malaysian automotive community in late 2018 to allow all car brands to plan for 2019 car launches and their pricing has been delayed numerous times by the Ministry Of International Trade & Industry (MITI) and the Ministry Of Finance (MOF). 

In previous years, the Malaysian Automotive Institute (MAI) has been the strong advisor to the previous MITI minister and his team.

However, MAI, which has recently been rebranded as MARii (Malaysia Automotive, Robotics & IoT Institute) has instead continued to work with their partner to organize unsuccessful car shows in Peninsular Malaysia and recently in the state of Sabah in the town of Penampang from the 19-20th October 2019 where car brands were ‘forced’ to participate (as we were informed by some executives) and pay high ‘booth’ prices.

The Panampang car show had only less than 2,000 visitors and most of the brands that participated were disappointed with the attendance and the reaction from the attending crowd. This was shared with us by some of the participating car brands. 

Now, instead of being involved in the organization of Motor Shows and a car of the year (COTY) awards ceremony (which is this December 2019) MARii and MITI should be working to develop our slowing automotive industry and start looking at working with global partners in the electric vehicle industry, like battery manufactures and technology providers to start factories and Automotive Research facilities in Malaysia to further enhance our automotive market.

How Thailand and Indonesia benefits

This is why EV battery manufacturers are opening factories in Indonesia and Thailand these past 12 months. 

This is why Hyundai has just announced a brand new ASEAN vehicle assembly factory in Indonesia and not Malaysia.

This is why Motor Image (Singapore based Subaru brand guardian) opened an ASEAN assembly factory just outside of Bangkok to start assembling the popular Forester SUV. (only the Subaru XV is assembled in Malaysia). 

Subaru Thailand

This is why many car models are not being introduced in Malaysia and instead seeing Thailand, Indonesia and even Vietnam launches ahead of us. 

This is why the Mitsubishi Xpander is still pending its launch in Malaysia when Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam has already seen strong sales.

Take the refreshed Honda Civic which was scheduled for launch months ago. We test drove this model in Bangkok three months ago and its Malaysian launch is delayed till today. 

The all new Honda City Turbo was just launched in Thailand two weeks ago and there is no confirmed Malaysian launch planned as yet. 

Honda Motor has two (2) car factories in Thailand producing a variety of models for domestic and export. Malaysia should have had two (2) Honda factories. 

With the retirement of top key people in MOF (Ministry Of Finance), decisions are pending for the above mentioned car brands to move forward and MARii is not assisting enough as they are busy chasing for exhibitors for their next Motor Show in Klang Valley.

Soon, our automotive market will be playing not only behind Thailand and Indonesia who are pulling ahead of us, but Vietnam will be ahead of Malaysia in just a matter of years or sooner.

Remember and share this article to let more Malaysians understand what is happening in our slowing car market. It affects jobs, investment and possible earned taxes from increased new car sales. 


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