China’s BAIC Models To Be Locally Assembled In Malaysia

It seems that every few months, a new Chinese carmaker announces its entry into the Malaysia market. After big names like BYD, Chery and GWM entered recently, BAIC (short for Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co. Ltd.), has just signed a 10-year contract with EP Manufacturing Berhad (EPMB) to assemble its cars locally in Melaka. The company plans to introduce its BJ40 Plus and X55 II into Malaysia by 2025.

As part of the Beijing Automotive Group Co Ltd, PEPS-JV Melaka Sdn Bhd (PJVM), a wholly-owned subsidiary of EPMB, announced last week that it had signed a contract with BAIC. According to the terms of the 10-year contract, PJVM will be in charge of manufacturing and assembling the cars in Malaysia and making sure the assembly plant can produce at least 5,000 cars annually by September 1 and 10,000 cars each year by March 2025.

For the Malaysian market as well as other RHD markets in Southeast Asia, EPMB and BAIC have agreed to create right-hand drive versions of the BAIC BJ40 Plus and the X55 II SUVs. “The strategic collaborations with original equipment manufacturers from China signify our commitment to charting a course towards better profitability for our stakeholders,” said EPMB Executive Chairman Hamidon Abdullah.

Employing Jeep-like styling, the off-road capable BJ50 Plus gets a 2.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine producing 250 hp and 350 Nm. The engine is matched with a 6-speed automatic gearbox, and a four-wheel drive (4WD) system distributes power to each of the four wheels. The BJ40 is available in three variations on its official website: Champion, Flagship, and Premium.

As far as size goes, the X55 II is larger than the Proton X70. It is powered by a 1.5-litre turbocharged engine producing 187 hp and 275 Nm and mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox, enabling it to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.84 seconds.

CARLIST THOUGHTS

No matter which angle you look at the BJ40 Plus (not the best name by the way), you will see strong hints of Jeep especially around the grille and wheel arches. Strangely though, given that all other Chinese carmakers have landed here with EVs in their lineups, BAIC appears to be entering Malaysia with no electric cars in the pipeline.

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