The newly-launched second-generation Mazda CX-5 (story to come later) is being assembled at the Inokom Kulim plant not just for the Malaysian domestic consumption, but also to be exported to neighbouring ASEAN markets from October onwards.
"We see Malaysia as an important production base in the ASEAN region and, with the aim of establishing a sturdy production system, we've worked closely with our business partners to develop manufacturing of Mazda cars here," said Masatoshi Maruyama, Mazda's Managing Executive Officer in charge of Global Production and Business Logistics.
Mazda Malaysia was already exporting the outgoing CX-5 to Thailand, but is set to expand its reach to the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Myanmar as well.
Plans to export the CX-5 were initially revealed by an RHB Research investor newsletter. Over 40,000 units of the previous-generation CX-5 have been built at the Kulim plant for Malaysia and Thailand.
In its current configuration, the Inokom plant has a combined annual production capacity of 40,000 - 50,000 units assembling cars for multiple brands. Mazda, on its own, accounts for 20,000 units of the plant's net capacity.
Production of the new CX-5 at Kulim began in August, together with the start of operation of a new state-of-the-art paint shop at the plant dedicated for Mazda’s use. The new paint facility is claimed to match production standards of Mazda's Japan plants in Ujina and Hofu. Mazda had just spent RM 87 million to upgrade its production facilities in Kulim, the bulk of it accounted by the new paint shop.
Besides providing Mazda cars with a higher quality finish, the new paint shop also enables Mazda to offer a range of premium metallic colours in locally-assembled models to Malaysian consumers for the first time.
For a premium of RM2,000, the all-new CX-5 can be had with a choice between three new premium metallic colours – Soul Red Crystal, Machine Grey, and Snowflake White Pearl.