Volvo Malaysia to expand export market in Asean

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on October 12, 2017.

Stegland (left) and Malaysian Green Technology Corp chairman Tan Sri Peter Chin at the launch of the Volvo S90 T8 Twin Engine premium sedan yesterday. Photo by Sam Fong

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KUALA LUMPUR: Volvo Car Malaysia, which currently exports to Thailand and Taiwan, plans to add three more export destinations in Asean for all its locally assembled models, namely Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. It has also earmarked Laos and Cambodia as potential new markets.

The company said it anticipates its export volume, which stands at 1,800 now, to reach close to 5,000 cars per annum “in the next few years”.

Models that are currently assembled at its production facility in Shah Alam are the newly launched S90 T8 Twin Engine, XC90 T8 Twin Engine, XC60, S60 and V40.

With that, Volvo Car Malaysia managing director Lennart Stegland said it is “comfortable with carrying out production and is well established” in Shah Alam, contrary to previous reports that it would be producing cars in Tanjung Malim, where sister company Proton Holdings Bhd currently has a plant.

Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co, which recently acquired a 49.9% stake in Proton for RM460.3 million, also owns the Volvo brand and was reportedly planning to make Malaysia a hub to assemble Volvo cars for the Asean market by 2022.

“I’m not really involved in that but Li Shufu (chairman and owner of Zhejiang Geely) has made it clear Volvo is Volvo and Geely is Geely. That’s the strategy for now, and we are comfortable [with producing from] Shah Alam,” Stegland told The Edge Financial Daily.

Stegland went on to say that the company is rebuilding its Shah Alam facility, which will allow for the production of up to 7,000 cars per year — from the current 5,000 — and will use it “as well as possible”.

“The Shah Alam production plant was established in 1967 and we have always been consistent in expanding the capabilities of our local production facility to cater to the growing demand within this region and beyond,” he said.

While Stegland declined to disclose figures, he said the company’s investment in local production has been “very substantial”.

Volvo Car Malaysia yesterday launched the new Volvo S90 T8 Twin Engine premium sedan, the second plug-in hybrid electric vehicle to be assembled locally and exported within Asean after the XC90 T8 Twin Engine.

The new sedan is available in two variants — Inscription and Inscription Plus. It is priced at RM368,888 for the Inscription and RM388,888 for the Inscription Plus, without insurance.