mazda cx-5

Mazda’s local assembly programme is building up steam, with capital investment set to get a massive boost – according to Bernama, the automaker will be pumping in RM100 million into its assembly plant operation in Kedah. This is a significant hike from the RM40 million initially reported for the programme last year.

The facility, which operates in the Inokom plant area in Kulim, begins local production of the Mazda CX-5 next month. The SUV is the second Mazda to be locally assembled in Kulim, after the Mazda 3 sedan and hatchback, which began local production in January 2011. Last month, the CKD pricing for the CX-5 was released.

In September last year, Bermaz Motor – the distributor of Mazda vehicles in Malaysia since 2008 – inked a joint venture agreement with Mazda Motor Corporation for a manufacturing programme in Malaysia.

Mazda’s entry saw the establishment of Mazda Malaysia, responsible for both manufacturing and increasing localisation activities to support Bermaz Motor’s sales and marketing efforts. Mazda Motor Corp has a 70% share in the JV, with the rest held by its local partner.

It was reported last year that the new JV project will see 3,000 units of the CX-5 being assembled yearly. Meanwhile, the Bernama report adds that two new Mazda CKD models are set to be introduced in 2014, and also that the Japanese carmaker plans to use 50% local components in its CKD vehicle programme within a year, in line with its localisation efforts to bring costs down.

Mazda’s Structural Reform Plan has set a sales target of 150,000 units for the ASEAN region, and Malaysia is considered one of the Japanese carmaker’s key markets, alongside Thailand and Indonesia.