Porsche’s decision in choosing Malaysia to host its first production plant outside of Europe is an embodiment of the company’s confidence in the country’s conducive ecosystem. It also acknowledges the capability of our local talent of highly skilled engineers and technicians, says senior minister of international trade and industry Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali.

“Despite a challenging global economic landscape, Porsche strongly believes that Malaysia is an ideal gateway for the ASEAN market,” he said, adding that the strategic decision sees is sees the carmaker “signifying its commitment to build a long-term presence in the ASEAN region”.

“With Porsche’s reputation as a high-performance car manufacturer that demands state of the art technology and precision engineering, this partnership will certainly lead to the creation of high-quality jobs and niche technology capabilities which in turn will solidify our National Investment Aspirations,” Azmin said in a statement.

Last month, the maker of the 911 announced that it will set up CKD operations in Malaysia, which will be its first outside of Germany. According to Zuffenhausen, the move is aimed at strengthening its presence in emerging markets within Southeast Asia that has seen encouraging growth.

Local assembly will be done together with Porsche’s long-standing partner Sime Darby, which is the official distributor of Porsche vehicles in the country via Sime Darby Auto Performance (SDAP). Currently, Sime Darby Motors’ Inokom assembly plant in Kulim, Kedah, assembles BMW, Hyundai, Mazda and MINI cars, and has an annual production capacity of 38,000 units.

“We’re fortunate that, due to careful planning, our existing factories are more than up to the task of meeting current and future global demand for our cars. However, the new assembly site in Malaysia meets specific market needs and, although a standalone project and modest in size and capacity, it signals our willingness to learn and adapt to specific local market conditions,” said Albrecht Reimold, member of the executive board for production and logistics at Porsche.

“Malaysia and the whole ASEAN is a region of great potential and we look forward to the first locally assembled models reaching our Malaysian customers next year. As Porsche is moving into a new era of mobility, Malaysia and the ASEAN region are gaining an increasing importance. This step now is part of a long-standing initiative to keep pace with rapidly evolving customer and market demands,” said Detlev von Platen, member of the executive board for sales and marketing at Porsche.

The announcement did not hint at the potential CKD Porsche models, but said that “the vehicles will specifically match local requirements and will be available for Malaysia only,” with operations set to begin next year. Some will be dreaming of more affordable sports cars like the 911 and 718 Cayman and Boxster duo, but the best sellers locally are the Macan and Cayenne, so those SUVs are more likely. Or how about the Taycan EV? Fingers crossed.