Earthy gift: Ong (front row, third from left) receiving pomelos as a souvenir from Gopeng MCA division chairman Datuk Albert Chang during the Gopeng MCA annual general meeting.
IPOH: Locally-assembled Volvo cars could hit the Asean market in 2022 with the setting up of a factory in Tanjung Malim.
International Trade and Industry Minister II Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan said Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co, which owns the Volvo brand, sees the region’s 620 million population as a potential market.
Ong said Geely, which recently acquired a 49.9% stake in Proton, planned to use Malaysia as a hub to assemble luxury cars for the Asean market.
“Geely is definitely bringing Volvo to Tanjung Malim. While Volvos are sold in Malaysia, it does not have a sophisticated plant in the country to produce them and Geely plans to do it in a big way,” he told reporters after opening the Gopeng MCA annual general meeting here yesterday.
Ong said the factory would be set up within five years, with construction work to start next year.
He said Proton would also upgrade its Tanjung Malim plant with more advanced technology from Geely.
Ong said both the Volvo and Proton set-ups would then create a supply chain for automobile parts in the state.
“It’s high time for Perak to go into the high tech industry. We now hope to have investors setting up factories to produce tyres, automobile parts and in particular electronic parts, which will become an income earner for the country,” he said.
China, he said, had the highest automobile output in the world with 28 million cars manufactured annually.
“As a strategic partner, Geely can help Proton penetrate the China market. Malaysia’s combined annual car sales, which include Proton, Perodua and other brands, is about 580,000 units.
“If we can get 1% of China’s market, it will be good for Proton. At its peak, Proton can only produce 140,000 cars (a year),” he said.
Ong said with Geely’s technology, Proton could also create new car models.
“It will be revolutionary for the automobile industry,” he said.