Looks like the government’s National Automotive Policy bag of carrots is effective. Renault has chosen Malaysia for it’s ASEAN manufacturing hub, instead of Thailand. Renault’s Asia-Pacific vice president Patrick Debrot attributed the decision to Malaysia’s suitability to Renault’s stable of vehicles. Thailand is mostly a pick-up truck market, while Malaysia is more of a passanger vehicle market. Renault’s target market in Thailand would be up to a maximum of 50% of the total automotive market segment, while in Malaysia the target is about 75% of the total market.

Renault is already assembling CKD versions of the Renault Kangoo here in Malaysia. The CKD Kangoo is assembled locally by Tan Chong Motor Assemblers in Segambut, and distributed by TC Euro Cars Sdn Bhd, a division of Tan Chong. A new plant will be built and be ready by 2007 outside Rawang, Selangor. By then, Renault will be ready to export Malaysian-assembled Renaults to the ASEAN region.

Debrot said the new National Automotive Policy was a positive step forward to an open market, and understands the government’s needs to protect Proton.