Could Chery Be Preparing For Local-Assembly in Malaysia?

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s recent visit to China was a successful one by any measure. 

According to reports, 19 Memorandum Of Understanding related to various sectors were signed. And the total amount of that sums up to RM170 billion!

Some of those sectors were MOU’s were signed include electronic vehicle’s, electronics, big data and digitalisation. 

The automotive sector too was involved and one of it involves Chinese car maker, Chery. 

Soon after the visit to China ended, Chery sent out a statement to the local media stating that Chery executives were involved in an “in-depth conversation” with the Minister of International Trader and Industry of Malaysia, Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz. 

Part of the discussions included an investment plan and development direction in Malaysia. 

Soon after that discussion, the executives from Chery International were also invited to participate in a round table conference with the Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim and Malaysia-China Business Forum. 

In October of last year, Chery announced a return to Malaysia with a five model line-up. But since then the company has been largely silent. Members of the local automotive press would occasionally receive press statements suggesting that Chery’s gears are quietly turning in the background.

Chery has also previously mentioned the setting up of a wholly-owned subsidiary in Malaysia, which according to an official statement, is due to be unveiled in the second quarter of this year. 

Now all of this could be seen as journalistic fluff meant to drum up the Prime Minister’s visit to China. 

But considering the success of Chinese automotive makers GWM and BYD in the Malaysian EV market, it won’t be too far fetched to assume that Chery may be considering local assembly of certain Chery models. 

And why not? GWM and BYD have already proven that the local market is warming up to Chinese carmakers already.

Local assembly would make sense since this will almost certainly allow Chery to price their cars competitively and also create a strong network of dealers with strong spare parts availability. 

The only thing that remains to be seen though is who will Chery’s assembly partner be since setting up its own assembly plant would almost certainly be too costly.