Official Rollout of the Hyundai Elantra for export (L-R Hideki Yanagisawa, Rizal Jailan and HK Kim)

In a follow-up to the launch of the Malaysian-assembled facelifted Hyundai Elantra in Thailand, Inokom has announced that it has indeed been assembling the refreshed Korean sedan in its plant in Kulim, Kedah and exporting it to the Thai market. As we reported earlier, the move was made due to favourable tariff rates as a result of the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA).

Around 1,000 units of the new Elantra are expected to be shipped to the Land of the Smiles in the first year. So far, the company has already exported 200 units since June, and will ship another 200 units early next month. The number of cars exported is expected to increase to meet an anticipated increase in market demand due to the significant price drop over the previous Korean-built model.

How significant? Prices for the new Elantra start at 749,000 baht (RM74,800) for the base GL model, rising up to 819,000 baht (RM81,800) for the GLE and 898,000 baht (RM89,600) for the top-spec GLS Navi. This is in contrast to the outgoing model, which came in at between 899,000 baht (RM89,700) and 1,198 million baht (RM119,600).

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“Though this is our first collaboration with Inokom, we look forward to future collaborations and possibly, for the other Hyundai models as well,” said Hyundai Motor Thailand president Hideki Yanagisawa.

Inokom’s managing director Rizal Jailan said that this collaboration may grant the company more export business avenues, particularly through the assembly of Hyundai models.

“We have proven our capabilities and we have vast experience in producing high quality vehicles,” he said. “We place emphasis on quality, productivity and efficiency and this will ensure that we remain competitive in both the domestic and export markets. We are confident that our track record and reputation in producing quality vehicles will help the product’s success in Thailand.”

Rizal also mentioned that Inokom was looking to establish a long-term working relationship with Hyundai Motor Thailand, as well as looking and evaluating other business opportunities in ASEAN. In addition, the company is hoping to further cement its support for the new National Automotive Policy (NAP) through the development of new vendors and the increase in participation of current local vendors.

Now that we are already assembling the facelifted Hyundai Elantra for other markets, how long more until we can have the spoils for ourselves?