This has been months in the making, and finally, ink wets paper. After what seems like an eternity, this piece of news may sound good, especially if you're a KIA vehicle owner. Kia Motors Corporation and Bermaz Auto (BAuto) have joined hands to expand, distribute and produce CKD Kia vehicles in Malaysia. The freshly-minted company is now known as Kia Malaysia Sdn Bhd.
Three models are planned to be released under this JV, namely the Seltos, the Carnival and another undisclosed model. Kia Malaysia also intends to produce vehicles in Malaysia that will eventually be exported to counties in the ASEAN region. Having said that, Kia Malaysia has not committed to a timeline for production, only stating that it may take at least 18 months.
In any case, the Kia vehicles will be distributed under BAuto's subsidiary, Dinamikjaya. Aside from selling CKD and CBU Kia vehicles, the subsidiary will also carry genuine spare parts and provide after-sales service.
"After months of searching for the right partner, Kia is delighted to enter into the Kia JV and Kia Distributorship with BAuto. With BAuto's proven capability in successfully building up automotive marques in Malaysia and the Philippines as well as their automotive manufacturing experience, we believe we have placed the Kia brand in good hands under the capable leadership of its Executive Chairman, Dato' Sri Ben Yeoh." says Mr Tae Hun (Ted) Lee, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Kia Asia Pacific.
In his speech, Dato' Sri Ben Yeoh said, "BAuto, as you are all aware, believes in creating a positive vehicle ownership experience. The vehicle ownership experience plays a vital role in building customer confidence towards the brand allowing the company to remain sustainable and grow the brand in the market."
If Mazda's litmus test is any indication, Kia will see a resurgence here as well. But what does this mean for current Kia owners, who have been left by the wayside?
Dato' Sri Ben Yeoh said during the press conference that the company will do what it can to mitigate the situation as responsibilities cannot be transferred in this case. As frustrating as it may seem to current owners, the previous company's warranties and promises cannot be handed over to the new entity.
Think of it precisely like a divorce-and-remarry situation. A lady who remarries cannot expect her new husband to make good the promises made from her previous marriage.
Nevertheless, Kia Malaysia is not cutting off current owners completely. The company is well aware that it must reciprocate the faith of current owners. In that, the company is currently seeking Kia owners to get in touch via the website.
At the very least, things are finally moving, and there's light at the end of the tunnel.