MBM eyes export opportunities in other SE Asian countries

by BERNAMA/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

MERCEDES-BENZ Malaysia Sdn Bhd (MBM) is looking at opportunities to expand its market to other countries in the South-East Asian region following its success in penetrating the Philippines market.

However, president/CEO Dr Claus Weidner (picture) said it depends on several factors, including the feasibility aspect.

“We can’t reveal where the focus is as we are still studying whether it is a feasible option,” he told reporters at the MBM Pekan production plant’s 15th anniversary celebration in Pahang yesterday.

MBM also celebrated a historic milestone with the rollout of its 100,000th vehicle. The premium automobile maker also announced it is exporting the first complete knock-down (CKD) left-hand drive Mercedes-Benz C-Class to the Philippines beginning this month.

“This is the first factory (in South-East Asia) to do this,” said Weidner.

Besides Malaysia, the automaker has a factory in Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam that only caters to the respective markets.

“Other plants did not have the production capacity for export,” he explained. Weidner also said it is more feasible for MBM to export to the Philippines, rather than establish a plant in the country.

This is good for Malaysia because it creates job opportunities, as well as an opportunity for technology transfer, he said, adding that its production facility in Pekan had undergone a technological upgrade that enables it to increase production volume.

“Last year, it produced 10,000 CKD (units) and the capacity can definitely be increased to more than 10,000 a year, providing us flexibility for future development in Malaysia,” said Weidner, adding that he believes Malaysia will remain as an important market in the future.

He also said MBM is looking at keeping the market share as it is still at the No 1 position in the premium segment.

Weidner said to date, MBM has invested RM300 million since 2004 and it is looking forward to the launch of the National Automotive Policy 2019 next month.

MBM manages the import, assembly and wholesale distribution of Mercedes vehicles and spare parts alongside customer services, as well as software development for global sales solutions.