Toyota is preparing to ratchet up its presence in Malaysia, seeking to replicate its success in dominating the market in neighboring Thailand.
With Toyota sales soaring, UMW Toyota Motor says it will double its manufacturing capacity for Toyota cars when its new 7.2 million-sq.-ft. (670,000-sq.-m) plant at Bukit Raja, Selangor, opens in 2019.
The RM2 billion ($468 million) plant will launch with a production capacity of 50,000 units a year and is designed to expand to 100,000 units as the market develops.
UMW manufactures, assembles, markets and distributes Toyota vehicles, and it markets and distributes Lexus cars in Malaysia.
Toyota’s sales of 5,818 units in April put it in third place in the Malaysian market, behind Perodua and Honda, but it was in fourth place year-to-date with 22,321 deliveries, trailing Perodua, Honda and Proton.
UMW has said its Shah Alam plant will be retooled to focus mainly on commercial vehicles when Bukit Raja opens. Toyota now builds only passenger vehicles in Malaysia, all at Shah Alam.
The Star newspaper reports UMW’s President and group CEO Badrul Feisal Abdul Rahim saying the new plant will allow the company to produce a wider variety of Toyota cars.
“There will be four Toyota facelift models coming up in the second half of the year,” he is quoted as saying.
The company has a sales target of 70,000 Toyotas this year.
Toyota’s first-quarter 2017 sales improved 61.5% year-over-year, “albeit from a lower base,” UMW Holdings says.