Published on August 31st, 2022 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
The Exciting Growth of Volvo Cars Malaysia since 1966
It should be a matter of national pride that Volvo Cars Malaysia has a long-shared history. The Swedish marque is one of the fastest growing in the premium market around the world and part of their story is intertwined with our country.
By 1966, Swedish Motor Assemblies had opened their first plant outside of Europe in Batu Tiga, Shah Alam. It was one of the first, if not the very first automobile assembly plant in Malaysia and has been running ever since.
It must have been a huge leap of faith for the Swedes. Malaysia was not an industrialized economy and was relying heavily on rubber and tin exports at the time.
The local plant assembled its first model, the Volvo 144, in November 1967 and kept pace with global portfolio developments throughout the decades. This plant produced many important Volvo models throughout the decades from the iconic 240 to the XC90 Recharge.
Today, the plant there assembles thousands of cars annually. In 2021, they assembled 5084 units in Shah Alam, including all their popular models such as the XC40, XC60, XC90, S60, V60 and S90. The target for 2022 is 7,294 Malaysian made units.
They put together not just the turbocharged models like the T5, but even the twin charged (supercharged and turbocharged) variants like the T6, mild hybrid powertrains like the B5, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (T8). Most recently, they’ve even begun to assemble battery electric vehicles bearing the Recharge Pure Electric name.
The Volvo Cars plant in Shah Alam has been upgraded to be export-capable. In fact, it is currently Volvo Cars’ export hub for the South-East Asian region serving markets such as Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines, with exports to Indonesia planned for September 2022 onwards. What’s more, they are the first brand to export all-electric vehicles from Malaysia to other markets.
It’s more impressive when you look at some of the specific benchmarks that Volvo Cars has set for Malaysia. Throughout the 1970s to 2000s, VCM has been expanding their network of dealers. Within the first decade of their introduction alone, the Swedes have poured a significant amount of investment to meet the expansion goal.
This continued decade after decade. When ownership of the brand fell under Ford Motor Company, the factory even started assembling some Land Rovers (which were also owned by Ford at the time).
They were the first to locally-assemble a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle back in 2016 with the XC90. This was way ahead of the game with many of their competitors taking months to years to catch up.
The latest XC90 was a true game changer. It exceeded just about all its competitors in terms of size and power. Not only that, but in its Inscription guise, it felt practically unmatched in terms of equipment and luxury appointments. All that while also having seating for 7, being capable of electric driving, and while also costing significantly less money than its competitors.
Even today, the company is pushing boundaries. Just this year, Volvo Car Malaysia became the first automotive brand in Malaysia to introduce a locally assembled electric vehicle. This was in-spite of the government’s measures that impose no excise duties and no import taxes on imported electric vehicles.
As before they are using our nation as a regional export hub, providing hundreds of jobs and enabling technology transfer. If there’s a brand that’s going to bring our automotive supply chain into the electrified future, it’s going to be Volvo Cars.