UMW Toyota Motor is currently in talks with Toyota Motor Company over the possibility of setting up a CKD hybrid production plant here in Malaysia, as reported by Bernama. Which model it will be has not yet been decided though, so don’t expect a solid announcement anytime soon.
Speaking at the Lexus showroom launch last week, UMW Toyota Motor President Datuk Ismet Suki said that the set up of a local hybrid CKD base is a big possibility for the company, though it will first have to complete a thorough review of the market demand. Having sufficient volume locally will be a crucial factor in achieving economies of scale, as is the potentiality of exporting the models to neighbouring markets.
As of now, there are three hybrid models currently on sale under the UMW Toyota Motor umbrella that are under consideration for local assembly: the Toyota Prius c, Prius, and Lexus CT200h. Judging by their respective sales numbers however, it seems obvious that among the three, the Prius c would be the safest bet for what would be a considerable investment.
Let’s not take that for granted just yet though, as we’ve come to learn that UMW is also studying the local prospects of Toyota’s entry-level petrol-electric wonder, the Yaris Hybrid. A true B-segment entrant to be positioned a rung below the Prius c (with the same drivetrain, no less), perhaps that’s the ideal choice for UMW Motor to take on the CKD Honda Jazz Hybrid.
Thinking further out of the box, with BMW Malaysia announcing considerable price cuts for their ActiveHybrid models under the expanding Energy Efficient Vehicles (EEV) incentives, feasibly the 2.5 litre Toyota Camry Hybrid would qualify for the same tax break too. While it won’t be fully tax exempt, it remains conceivable that a hybrid Camry, classified as an EEV, can be priced not far above the current 2.5 litre model. A hybrid range-topping Camry, anyone?
What are your thoughts on this? Which model would you like UMW Toyota Motor to assemble here?