Warisan TC ramps up left-drive cars production for Vietnam market

The collaboration with GAC Motor represents significant push to increase exports directly to the burgeoning Vietnamese market 


WARISAN TC Holdings Bhd is enhancing its presence in the South-East Asian (SE Asian) automotive market, focusing particularly on Vietnam, through a strategic partnership with GAC Motor International Ltd. 

The collaboration, cemented with a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed on March 30, represented a significant push to expand local manufacturing capabilities and increase exports directly to the burgeoning Vietnamese market. 

The initiative aligned perfectly with Vietnam’s regulatory environment, which required vehicles to be left-hand drive, thereby positioning Warisan TC to capitalise effectively on market demands in the region. 

The MOU specifically laid out a three-phase feasibility study to evaluate the potential for locally manufacturing complete knocked-down (CKD) versions of GAC Motor’s popular vehicle models, the Emkoo and GS3 Emzoom, in Malaysia. Warisan TC CEO Tan Keng Meng said the MOU marked a key moment for the company.

“This MOU marked a significant milestone for Warisan TC, aligning with its strategic growth plans and reinforcing its commitment to enhance its manufacturing capabilities in Malaysia,” he told The Malaysian Reserve in a recent interview. 

GAC Motor is part of Guangzhou Automobile Group Co Ltd (GAC Group), which is head-quartered in Zhujiang New Town, China. The automobile enterprise, with 113,000 employees, is listed in both Hong Kong and Shanghai Stock exchanges. 

Tan said the feasibility study was thoughtfully organised into three distinct phases. 

“The initial phase is dedicated to evaluating the right-hand drive Emkoo model. Following this, the second phase shifts focus to the left-hand drive GS3 Emzoom model,” he said. 

The final stage of the evaluation will investigate the viability of exporting the GS3 Emzoom model, which will be assembled in Malaysia, to Vietnam. The entire project is scheduled for completion by the end-July. 

Warisan TC is not only focusing on expanding its manufacturing and export capabilities but also enhancing operational efficiencies and extending its market reach beyond Vietnam.

The company is actively exploring ways to expand into other SE Asian markets, taking advantage of the region’s growing economic ties and the increasing demand from its expanding middle class, which make it a promising area for the automotive industry. 

“Our efforts to expand into new markets and enhance our production capabilities are not just about immediate gains but are strategically designed to ensure long-term sustainability and competitiveness in the global market,” he said, elaborating the company’s broader strategy. 

Beyond automotive ventures, Warisan TC’s business portfolio is notably diverse, spanning travel services, car rentals and distribution of construction equipment and machinery. 

The company also deals in consumer products, distributing well-known brands such as Shiseido cosmetics and Wacoal lingerie. 

Despite experiencing significant financial challenges due to the pandemic, including consecutive losses from 2021 to 2022, Warisan Group has demonstrated remarkable resilience. 

The company’s strategic realignment and stringent cost management initiatives have begun showing initial success, as evidenced by a steady decline in losses — from RM59 million in 2020 to RM11 million in 2022. 

“This positive trajectory continued into 2023, where Warisan Group reported a modest profit before tax of RM1.3 million,” said Tan. 

For the financial year ended Dec 31, 2023 (FY23), Warisan TC posted a net loss of RM1.7 million on a revenue of RM455.2 million compared to a net loss of RM11.5 million on RM480.2 million in FY22. 

In FY23, the three largest revenue sources were machinery (RM175.4 million), automotive (RM160 million), and travel and rental cars (RM110.5 million). 

Despite the 5% year-on-year revenue drop in FY23, Warisan TC posted a profit before tax of RM1.3 million compared to a loss before tax of RM11.4 million in FY22. In its exchange filing, the company said turnaround was driven by the commendable results from the travel and car rental division coupled with higher profit margin of the business units, enhanced operational efficiencies and cost-saving initiatives implemented as part of the ongoing cost rationalisation initiatives. 

  • This article first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print edition