On the 1st of April (as fate would have it), Kia Motors Corporation and Bermaz Auto (BAuto) formed a strategic partnership to build and sell Kia vehicles in Malaysia under a newly formed Kia Malaysia Sdn. Bhd (KMSB).
Initially, three vehicles are planned to begin production under this set-up, the start-stop Kia Seltos - here's to hoping we might see a proper launch and the Kia Carnival. The third vehicle is yet to be determined. Kia intends for KMSB to be its regional manufacturing hub for ASEAN. That is a vote of confidence in Malaysia but more so for BAuto, who has handled Mazda quite brilliantly since 2008.
As part of this expansion, BAuto's subsidiary, Dinamikjaya Motors Sdn. Bhd (DJMSB) has been elected as the official distributor of Kia vehicles 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, Dato’ Sri Ben Yeoh.” says Mr Tae Hun (Ted) Lee, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Kia Asia Pacific.
“We are pleased to be given this opportunity to undertake the Kia JV and Kia Distributorship with our partner, Kia under Hyundai Motor Group, which is Korea's second-largest multinational automotive manufacturer and currently the fifth-largest automotive manufacturer in the world. 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.” says Dato’ Sri Ben Yeoh, the Executive Chairman of BAuto.
Now that the cat is finally out of the bag, can we look forward to the renaissance of the Kia brand in Malaysia? We'd love to see Stonic go head-to-head with the Proton X50, the Mazda CX-9 rivalling 4th-generation Kia Sorento, the attractive Kia Proceed wagon, Xceed crossover and maybe even the EV6?