We’re back from Honda Malaysia’s Pegoh facility in Alor Gajah, where the CKD Honda Jazz Hybrid received its launch this morning. In attendance was Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI) Datuk Mukhriz Tun Mahathir. The first hybrid to be assembled in Malaysia wears a price tag of RM89,900 (OTR with insurance), a reduction of RM4,900 over the CBU car that launched last March.

The CKD car omits features such as Hill Start Assist, cruise control, one touch lane change, automatic wipers, audio controls on the steering wheel and shift paddles found on the imported car. The signal stalk has been switched to the right side of the steering wheel, while the Multi-Information Display control buttons (located at the 5 o’clock position on the steering wheel with the CBU car) occupy the spot where the cruise control buttons were on the CBU car; that is, on the right-hand spoke of the steering wheel.

The CKD car has rear drum brakes and dual front airbags as opposed to the CBU car’s all-round discs and six airbags (front, side and curtain). Curiously, the CKD car’s transmission gets an L gear not seen on the imported car, and its fuel gauge ranges from F to E and not 1 to 0. The key is also a conventional one; the CBU’s is a jack-knife type.

Their overall steering ratio and turning radius at body also differ, albeit slightly – 15.3 for CKD versus 16.8 for CBU, and 5.39 metres for CKD versus 5.41 metres for CBU, respectively. Unsurprisingly, the kerb weight of the CKD car is listed as 7 kg less than the 1,166 kg CBU car. For now, we understand that both CKD and CBU cars will be sold alongside each other until supply of the latter runs out.

The CVT gearbox remains the same, as does the powertrain, which involves a 1.3 litre i-VTEC + IMA that produces 88 PS (+14 with both motors active) and 121 Nm (+78) of torque. Features that are carried over from the imported car include the flexible Ultra Seats, Vehicle Stability Assist, ABS with EBD and BA, and 4-Corner Reverse Sensor.

Boot space is 831 litres above floor with the rear seats up and 1,321 litres with them down. Optional extras include alloy pedals and interior foot light, a more aggressive front grille, a tailgate spoiler, illuminated garnish for the door sills and Connex SVR (vehicle tracking system).

The objective of local assembly for the Jazz Hybrid is to push for more localisation in an attempt to reduce overall costs and to further promote hybrid tech in the country. If Honda Malaysia manages to make it more cost competitive, export to other markets in the region will be likely.

According to Honda Malaysia CEO Yoichiro Ueno, 10% of the CKD Jazz Hybrid’s parts are locally sourced. He said the relatively low percentage is because of the fact that the model took only eight months to begin local production from launch (the fastest in Honda Malaysia’s history). The local content is expected to increase gradually in the future. Ueno also revealed that the petrol-powered Jazz is expected to go down the CKD route next year.

“I am proud to announce that 69% of the hybrid cars in Malaysia are from Honda,” Ueno said. “Honda Malaysia targets to sell 4,800 units of the CKD Jazz Hybrid in 2013.”

The company says its local associates have been trained in Japan and Thailand on the intricacies of hybrid vehicle production. The new 2.15 km test track at Pegoh is also where every Honda CKD model is tested before delivery to the customer. By next month, there’ll be a new R&D centre at Pegoh, which aims to develop parts designs that best match local suppliers and increase the local content.

The CKD Jazz Hybrid is offered with a three-year or 100,000 km warranty, six-month or 10,000 km free service and for the IMA battery only, a five-year or 140,000 km warranty. More background information on Honda Malaysia’s production can be had in an earlier story.