Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak launching the car at Hicom Automotive Manufacturing Malaysia in Pekan, Pahang
- Launch variant of the locally assembled VW Passat is priced at RM170,888 and available immediately through 18 Volkswagen dealerships nationwide today.
- The Passat family would eventually range in price between RM169,888 and RM184,888 once the whole line is available in the Malaysian market.
The locally assembled variant of the Volkswagen Passat has been highly publicised in the automotive blogs and online news sites and on Sunday it was launched by Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at the Hicom Automotive Manufacturing Malaysia (HAMM) facilitiy in Pekan.
At the rollout, DRB had accumulated a stock of just over 300 units and this represented the first batch of cars that are assembled under what is termed as CKD1 programme.
CKD1 means that the cars arrive as a partially assembled kits and the local partner completes the process without any local components.
Even as the car was being launched, DRB-Hicom Managing Director, Datuk Seri Mohd Khamil Jamil announced that the company is expanding their production facility to accommodate future needs of Volkswagen.
According to Mohd Khamil they will add a further assembly and paint line to accommodate the German marque, which will eventually be their biggest customer in Pekan and one of their core partners.
When in full swing by 2014, DRB believes that Volkswagen will make up most of the 50,000 vehicles that will be assembled by HAMM in Pekan and that number could rise significantly if DRB proves that they can assemble car to comparable quality levels of VW's German plants.
VW Board Member and head of China-Asean operations, Weiming Soh said that the marque is looking for sales figures aroudn 200,000 units in South East Asia in the next few years as part of the VAG group's global aim of becoming the world's largest carmaker in five years' time.
He said there is every possibility that DRB-Hicom could be their source of regional vehicles, especially for right-hand drive markets.
Mohd Khamil said DRB-Hicom will make all efforts to ensure that VW vehicles leaving the Pekan facility will meet the German carmaker's exacting standards so they can be exported.
VW Senior Vice President, Overseas manufacturing, Dr Christof Spathelf said they had began the venture with DRB with a clear goal in terms of quality and this meant sending a team from Germany to train and supervise the assembly of cars.
This approach also meant that the targeted 40 per cent local content will only be possible by around 2014 as they carefully pick local vendors that are capable of producing components to VW standards.
The final stage of the local assembly programme is known as CKD3 where 40 per cent of Asean contents is used and the cars can then be sold within Sout East Asia without being taxed as an import.
According to DRB-Hicom Chief Operating Officer, Datuk Lokman Ibrahim, they have evaluated many local vendors and so far 27 have passed VW's requirements.
During his speech at the launch, Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said that the Jetta and Polo may follow the Passat out of HAMM facilities in the near future.
The Polo and Jetta are popular family cars in Europe, offering value for money and reputable VW engineering and quality fit and finish in a reliable and proven package and it is expected to find strong following in Malaysia.
Below is the link to the video of the launch in Pekan on Sunday.