GERMAN carmaker Audi AG is studying the possibility of setting up a production facility either in Malaysia, or another Asean country, said its Asia-Pacific director, Dominique Boesch.
“We're investigating the possibility of either starting our own production facility from scratch, or using an existing manufacturing facility,” he told reporters in Shah Alam yesterday after the launch of “Return of the Rings”, a showcase of the latest Audi models by its new local distributor, EON Bhd's wholly-owned subsidiary Euromobil Sdn Bhd.
Boesch declined to give more details as to where, what kind of arrangement, and how much investment Audi would put in to the facility, citing that it was still “investigating”.
The study was expected to be completed next quarter, he said.
Audi sales in the South East Asia region grew 12% last year to 8,000 units.
It was the third consecutive year it registered double-digit growth in the region, Boesch said.
“For the first six months of this year, our sales had risen by 15% to 4,300 units, and we're confident of ending the year with sales of around 9,000 units,” he added.
Audi has a relatively small market share in Malaysia, but both Audi and Euromobil are confident that with Audi's expertise and high quality cards, and EON's local experience, knowledge and commitment to provide excellent customer service, the market share would increase in line with the country's growth, and with liberalisation of the automotive market.
“We are looking at a sales target of at least 200 units in 2004 (about RM60mil in value), and we hope to increase the Audi market share in the luxury car segment to 10% by 2008,” said EON managing director Datuk Adzmi Abdul Wahab.
Euromobil expects to sell about 50 units of Audi cars this year, he added.
According to Adzmi, Euromobil has purchased 3.2 acres of land in Shah Alam to build “Audi Hangar” - a world-class showroom with 3Ss facility – Sales, Service and Spare parts centre.
The RM30mil Audi Hangar is expected to be ready by the middle of next year.
Besides the Audi Hangar, Euromobil aims to appoint six dealers in major towns in Malaysia.
The three Audi models launched yesterday were the RM220,000 Audi A4, the RM284,000 Audi A6 and the RM325,000 Audi TT.
Audi plans to launch 10 new models in Malaysia over the next five years, of which at least two will be available next year.