After much speculation, it has now been confirmed that Kia Motors is partnering with Bermaz Auto (BAuto) in Malaysia. Both parties have formed a strategic partnership and a newly incorporated company – Kia Malaysia (KMSB) – will be formed to undertake CKD local assembly of Kia vehicles in Malaysia.

As a start, three CKD models are planned for the Malaysian market. The Kia Seltos SUV and new Kia Carnival MPV have been named as the models, while the third vehicle will be determined at a later stage. The Korean carmaker intends to make KMSB the regional manufacturing hub for ASEAN and other potential markets.

Along with this, Kia has also appointed BAuto’s subsidiary Dinamikjaya Motors as the new distributor of Kia vehicles in Malaysia. Taking over from Naza Kia, Dinamikjaya will sell CKD and CBU Kia vehicles and handle after-sales for the brand in Malaysia.

“After months of searching for the right partner, Kia is delighted to enter into the Kia JV and Kia distributorship with BAuto. With BAuto’s proven capability in successfully building up automotive marques in Malaysia and the Philippines as well as their automotive manufacturing experience, we believe we have placed the Kia brand in good hands under the capable leadership of its executive chairman Datuk Seri Ben Yeoh,” said Tae Hun (Ted) Lee, president and CEO of Kia Asia Pacific.

“Kia marque vehicles are well-known for their stylish looks, packed with smart features, frequent facelifts and new launches that keep prospective buyers excited over its products. The Kia JV and Kia distributorship will complement our existing group automotive businesses and we look forward to a successful collaboration with Kia,” said Datuk Seri Ben Yeoh, BAuto’s executive chairman.

This development comes shortly after the Peugeot marque came under the stewardship of Berjaya Auto Alliance Sdn Bhd (BAASB), a joint venture between Berjaya Corp and BAuto. The Vincent Tan-controlled conglomerate holds 51% stake in BAASB, while BAuto has a 20% interest. BAuto is of course the company behind Mazda in Malaysia. Prior to this, Kia and Peugeot had the Naza Group as local partners.

GALLERY: Kia Grand Carnival

GALLERY: Kia Seltos 1.6 GT Line