HONDA Malaysia Sdn Bhds newly operational manufacturing plant in Malacca has targeted a first-year turnover of RM700mil based on the production of some 12,000 vehicles, according to president and chief operating officer Datuk Abdul Rashid Rahim.
The RM170mil plant, with capacity to assemble 20,000 cars a year, kicked off production on Dec 16, with assembly of the Honda CR-V.
However, being equipped with Hondas world-class flexible manufacturing systems, the plant can easily increase production to accommodate any future demand.
Besides assembly, the plant will also produce car components, starting with drive shafts, mainly for the export market.
Rashid said before the setting up of the Malacca plant, Honda had sub-contracted the assembly of its cars to Oriental Holdings Bhd, which has a 15% stake in Honda Malaysia. The other shareholders are Honda Motor Co of Japan (51%) and DRB-Hicom Bhd (34%).
The assembling of Honda cars will slowly be shifted from Oriental Holdings to the Malacca plant, Rashid said at the opening of the new RM6mil Honda showroom in Kuching.
Sarawak Social Development and Urbanisation Minister Datuk Dr James Masing opened the ultra modern complex, owned by Honda dealer Jimisar Corp Sdn Bhd.
Rashid said the Malacca plant was expected to assemble four Honda models, including three passenger car models, by 2005.
Honda Malaysia has sold 5,200 vehicles in the first 11 months of this year, and Rashid expects higher sales this month in view of the Chinese New Year.
Honda Malaysia managing director and CEO Seiji Kuraishi said the company had, since it began operations in July last year, worked on its ultimate goal to improve customer satisfaction.
He said the introduction of the 3-S concept whereby sales, service and spare parts were made available under one roof was for the customers convenience.
Jimisar Corp managing director Ismail Salleh said Jimisar sold an average of 15 units of Honda car a month, and it was working to double the figure.
He said it planned to set up branches in Sibu and Bintulu next year to boost sales. We also plan to set up a body paint shop in Kuching next year.