Naza to roll out Kia cars this year


BY V. CHANDRASEKARAN IN GURUN

SPECTRA, Carnival MPV and three other models in the Kia stable to be produced at Naza Kia Sdn Bhd's RM350mil plant in Gurun are expected to hit the street by year's end. 

A four-wheel drive will be among the models to be produced at the plant, it is learnt. 

Kedah Science, Technology, Environment and Industry committee chairman Datuk Beh Heng Seong said yesterday the state government had recently approved Naza Kia's plan for the plant. 

This was the single biggest investment in Kedah last year, he said when asked about the latest developments on the plant, to be sited on 59.2ha. The groundbreaking ceremony was held on Sept 13 last year. 

The plant is expected to turn out 20,000 units of Kia vehicles in the first year of production – 60% of which will be for export market. The facility will have the latest prerequisites for assembly, including body shop, paint shop and trim shop. 

Naza Automotive Manufacturing Sdn Bhd and Naza Kia group managing director Tan Sri S.M. Nasimuddin had said after the groundbreaking ceremony last year that Naza Kia's goal was to have at least 40% of the parts and components used in its vehicles to be manufactured locally. 

On foreign direct investments (FDIs) in Kedah so far this year, Beh said these were down by 50% because of the war in Iraq and the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. 

“Last year we achieved our annual target of about RM2bil in investments, including FDIs, but the investment climate seems to be dull this time around,'' he said, adding that the state government was wooing more domestic investments to the state. 

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