According to a news report by The Edge‘s business weekly, Porsche is in the process of setting up a local assembly plant for its vehicles here in Malaysia. If the report turns out to be true, the new plant will be the first in the world outside of Germany to assemble Porsche vehicles.
Per the unnamed source, the local facility will be located in Kulim, Kedah, where it will be partnering with Inokom, a subsidiary of Sime Darby. Sime Darby, under the Sime Darby Auto Performance brand, has been Porsche’s sole distributor in Malaysia since 2010.
“There have been quite a number of big investments coming into Malaysia in the automotive sector, but the government has yet to declare them. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the movement control order (MCO), many of the principals could not come to Malaysia,” the source told the business publication.
“The announcement has to be made jointly. They are big names; the government cannot just hold a press conference and announce the investments,” the source added.
Another source familiar with the matter said that the new Kulim assembly plant, which will be constructed specifically to assemble Porsche vehicles, will serve as the ASEAN hub for the marque. The Inokom facility in Kedah currently also produces CKD vehicles for BMW, MINI, and Mazda, among other brands.
The source added that the incentives for the investment has already been approved by the Ministry of Finance.
When asked to comment on the matter, Porsche’s deputy director of corporate communications and spokesperson for production and logistics, Christian Weiss told The Edge, “ASEAN is a promising region with great potential, and we continuously examine options for further growth in this market.”
A Sime Darby representative meanwhile, said that the company regularly engages existing and potential partners to explore opportunities to expand their business, and welcomes any partnership that will add value to its strategic business plans.
If the rumours turn out to be true, the investment would be a much-needed boost to the automotive production sector in Malaysia, at a time when major carmakers are opting for Thailand and Indonesia to set up shop, thanks to their more lucrative and transparent incentive packages.
The introduction of locally-assembled Porsches could also mean a reduction in price, due to the 20% lower import duties on locally-assembled cars. Of course, “cheaper” doesn’t exactly mean cheap, as Porsche is still a premium marque after all.
Still, Malaysian car enthusiasts already can’t stop salivating over the prospect of more affordable Porsches, and we don’t blame them. A man can dream, right?