VOLKSWAGEN Passenger Cars Malaysia (VW) has launched its first locally-assaembled (CKD) car last Saturday.
The Volkswagen Passat is priced at RM170,888 and is now available at all 18 of the brand’s dealers. According to the company, this is part of its future strategy to have variants of Passats with prices ranging between RM169,888 and RM184,888.
This also marks the official CKD project in Pekan for VW and its local partner, DRB-Hicom. It has already assembled 300 units of the Passat 1.8 TSI. The two companies have invested in a RM1 billion collaboration which sees Pekan to be the home for VW, the second German brand in that town (Mercedes-Benz assembly plant is just across the road).
According to Dr. Christof Spathelf, senior vice president, group manufacturing overseas for Volkswagen AG, the fist batch of CKD 1 cars have 100 per cent imported parts. “To ensure the quality remains the same as cars built in Germany, we would have the CKD project here in stages – CKD 1, 2 and finally 3. In the final stage, we are targeting a minimum of 40 per cent local content,” he explained. He later added that local parts sourcing may commence in another 12 to 18 months.
According to Datuk Lokman Ibrahim, CEO for DRB-Hicom, state of Pahang has allocated a land area close by for the vendors to set up their plants. “We have assessed 27 vendor companies and 20 have passed our stringent test,” he informed.
Weiming Soh, member of the board of management of Volkswagen Group China/Asean said that VW would be studying the possibilities to export the CKD cars to other market. He targeted 2014 would be the best year for such plans.
DRB-Hicom is not only assembling the cars, but it will soon open up its own Volkswagen dealerships through out the country.
“DRB will sell 30 per cent of the amount of VW cars sold here in Malaysia through our dealers,” Datuk Sri Khamil Jamil, Group Managing Director for DRB-Hicom informed the media. We heard that Zainuddin Taib, formerly from DRB’s Euromobil will be heading the retail side of DRB for VW.
VW is targeting a market share of 10 per cent from the total Asean market, an equivalent to 200,000 units a year.