China car distributor in Malaysia sees sales rising with new model

Thumbs up: Azam (left) and Green Oranges Sdn Bhd CEO SM Azli SM Nasimuddin Kamal with  an M4 Compact.

Thumbs up: Azam (left) and Green Oranges Sdn Bhd CEO SM Azli SM Nasimuddin Kamal with an M4 Compact.

PETALING JAYA: Go Automobile Manufacturing Sdn Bhd (GAM), the licensed manufacturer of China’s Great Wall Motor (GWM) vehicles, is targeting to sell 15,000 vehicles next year, underpinned by the launch of its Haval M4 compact sport-utility vehicle (SUV) in January.

“The reception for the M4 this year is excellent. To date we had received firm orders totalling 2,500 units, even though we have yet to conduct our official launching,” GAM chief executive officer Ahmad Azam Sulaiman.

“We are going to do our official launching in January, 2015. Our sales target by end-2015 is 15,000 units. Our factory now is ready to manufacture 24,000 units per year,” he told StarBiz in an e-mail.

Azam said the company planned to launch a mid-sized SUV in the middle of next year and a premium-sized SUV by the fourth quarter of 2015.

“Our factory engineering team is on alert at all times to prepare for expansion once demand exceeds 20,000 units. Concurrently, we will establish our research and development facilities to facilitate localisation activities as well as some derivative changes to all the models that we are going to introduce in 2015.

“The export market is also one of our key strategies next year. We are looking at a total of 2,000 units for Thailand and Cambodia.”

Meanwhile, many industry observers believe that uncertainties over the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST), rising costs of living and poor global economic outlook may cause consumers to hold back purchases next year.

Azam said he was hopeful that GST would not be much of an impact to GAM. “We will ensure our on-the-road price remains competitive. The currency fluctuation affected us a little a couple of weeks back. We have since switched to Chinese renminbi with our Chinese partner.”

GAM announced its partnership with GWM in April and has committed to invest RM2bil to manufacture energy-efficient vehicles in the country.

The RM2bil investment would be conducted in three phases until 2018. The first phase, with an initial investment of RM150mil, will start to produce energy-efficient vehicles as early as September. The second phase, with a production capacity of 50,000 units, will start by mid-2015.

The final phase, with a total production capacity of 100,000 units, is expected to be ready by 2018.

Hong Kong and Shanghai-listed GWM, which was founded in 1984, is China’s largest SUV and pick-up manufacturer. It owns the Haval and Great Wall brands and employs over 60,000 employees. The company has a production capacity of 800,000 units.

The company sold about 770,000 units last year, making it the eighth largest automaker in China. It is targeting to sell 890,000 units this year. Through GAM, it is looking to penetrate the local SUV market.

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