- Bermaz Auto currently sells Mazda, Peugeot and Kia vehicles in the region
- BAuto plans to add one mainstream Chinese EV maker to its portfolio
- The company is said to be in talks with Geely, Dongfeng and Xpeng
Exclusive distributor to Malaysia and the Philippines, Bermaz Auto (BAuto) is considering an expansion into the electric vehicle (EV) segment by adding a Chinese EV brand to its portfolio. Distributor of Mazda, Peugeot and Kia vehicles in the region, BAuto plans to invest RM1 billion over the next five years to establish a network of dealerships and service centers for its new brands. According to Affin Hwang Investment Bank (AHIB), BAuto is currently discussing potential partnerships with several China EV automakers for EV distribution rights in Malaysia and beyond.
AHIB reported that BAuto was interested in incorporating a pure EV player and is now in negotiations with mainstream Chinese brands such as Xpeng, Dongfeng, Geely and others. Given the growing adoption rates of EVs in the marketplace, collaborating with a Chinese EV maker as its primary EV brand is a strategic move, but said that a deal was far from done. BAuto believes that these brands offer a competitive range of electric vehicles that will appeal to Malaysian consumers.
Bermaz Auto is confident that its strong track record in the automotive industry will help it to successfully launch and market one or more of these brands in Malaysia. The company has a network of over 100 dealerships and service centers throughout Malaysia, and it employs over 2,000 people, giving it a certain amount of clout. “A partnership with any of these industry-leading Chinese EV players would be a plus for BAuto, but certain rivals with stronger distribution networks, and more clout (!!) may also be planning such strategic moves, so nothing is a given,” the report said.
In addition, affordable Chinese EV brands like Wuling and Hozon have the ability to cater the low to mid-income consumers, thus boosting traffic to Malaysian showrooms.
For the record, GoAuto has partnered with Hozon, and has already started imports of the Neta V crossover, while Wuling, who has already introduced the Mini EV into Indonesia, also has some ‘test’ cars on the road in Malaysia.
Bermaz Auto’s plan to partner with a mainstream Chinese EV player is a good move and one that needs to happen to help strengthen not only the company’s position in the marketplace but to expand viable EV choices for local consumers. To be honest, tying up with any of the three Chinese carmakers mentioned above would be a huge injection into BAuto’s arm, and finances.