Chinese automotive conglomerate SAIC Motor Corp Ltd and local commercial vehicle distributor Weststar Maxus Sdn Bhd have signed an assembly and distribution deal worth up to RM1 billion in a move that could see the return of the MG brand in Malaysia, according to The Star.
The report from the English language daily, citing sources close to the deal, states that SAIC is looking to take up a 49% stake in Weststar Maxus and will provide the distribution rights for its wide range of vehicles, including cars from the MG brand, passenger vans and pick-up trucks. These will add to SAIC’s Maxus brand of commercial vehicles that Weststar already sells.
In addition, SAIC will also join forces with Weststar Maxus to set up an assembly plant here – Weststar currently builds Maxus vehicles at its facility in Port Klang, so this plant could be used for MG’s CKD operations.
South East Asia has been SAIC’s target for expansion for quite some time now – it has been assembling MGs in Thailand since last year with the MG6 (the MG3 hatch was added earlier this year), and has recently signed a joint venture to set up a plant in Indonesia.
Weststar is currently wholly-owned by “AP King” Tan Sri Syed Azman Syed Ibrahim, who previously held the franchise approved permits (AP) for Honda and Chevrolet.
Back in April 2013, Volvo dealer Federal Auto and SAIC entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) as a first step towards reviving the MG brand in Malaysia, with a view of CKD local assembly. The recent deal with Weststar indicates that this agreement has since fallen through.