We’re accustomed to news of carmakers setting up shop in Thailand or Indonesia, making our neighbours the regional production hub for important models, but here’s a piece of good news for Malaysia. Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI), the owner of Subaru, has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Tan Chong Group to produce Subaru vehicles in Malaysia.

This consignment production contract between FHI and TC Subaru Sdn Bhd will see the production of 5,000 units of Subaru vehicles per year “at an existing production facility of Tan Chong Motor Assemblies (TCMA)”. This could be the Serendah plant that currently churns out Nissan models such as the Grand Livina, Sylphy and Teana, or the older Segambut plant in KL. We’re guessing it’s the former.

Production will begin in October 2012, and the model in question is a Subaru compact SUV that will be marketed in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia through the Subaru sales and distribution network of Tan Chong Group.

FHI’s partnership with Tan Chong dates back to 1987, when the latter was appointed as Subaru distributor in Singapore. Over the years, Tan Chong has been expanding the sales and distribution network of Subaru vehicles across ASEAN countries. They now have a presence in Cambodia, Southern China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

As to the identity of the “compact SUV”, many first guesses will shout Subaru Forester, but we have a feeling that it’s a smaller crossover, since today’s Forester isn’t exactly a compact 4X4. We’re also surprised that FHI did not choose a mass market vehicle like the Impreza saloon or Exiga MPV. Anyhow, we will be heading to Singapore tomorrow to dig deeper, so stay tuned!