Volvo Malaysia Eyes Five New Export Markets This Year

Volvo's Shah Alam factory

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 1 (Bernama) -- Volvo Car Manufacturing Malaysia Sdn Bhd is eyeing a bigger export market in the Asian region this year following the restructuring of its plant in Shah Alam that will expand its production capacity.

Managing Director Fredrik Karlsson cited Vietnam, Myanmar, Philippines, Indonesia and Taiwan as the five new export markets.

"We will start exporting in mid-year (upon completion of the plant), starting with the XC90 luxury SUV, followed by a new car at end of the year," he told reporters.

Karlsson said the RM20 million plant revamp was part of Volvo's expansion plan ahead of 2020 in order to raise its total production to 5,000 cars a year.

For this year, he said the car maker aimed to increase the capacity by 50 per cent from the current 1,500 cars and another 50 per cent next year.

Sixty per cent of the total production is meant for domestic consumption while the rest is for export to Thailand.

"Over the years, it has been the other way around. But because Thailand was having difficulty (economic turmoil and bad weather) last year, we had a lot less production then," he said.

With the restructured plant, which is likely be completed by mid-year, he expects the ratio for domestic and export consumptions to change to 25:75.

Volvo has marked its presence in Malaysia since 1967 with Shah Alam as its first production plant outside Sweden.

Karlsson said Malaysia would continue to be Volvo's important market, as well as the production and purchase hub for Southeast Asia.

By becoming the purchase hub, Volvo will look into the possibility of Malaysian suppliers making forays in China, he said, adding that, "This will of course be a huge opportunity for Malaysian suppliers."