Bermaz Motor Sdn. Bhd., the Malaysian corporation responsible for Mazda's operations in Malaysia and the Philippines, has just held the assembly roll-off ceremony for the second generation CX-5.
"The customers who have supported our growth so far have even higher expectations for the 'next Mazda'", said Mr. Hiroshi Inoue, Mazda Motor Corporation's Managing Executive Officer. "Together with our partners, Mazda must exceed those expectations, and the start of production of the all-new CX-5 here at Mazda Kulim Plant is our first step in that journey together."
The new compact crossover from Mazda is assembled at the INOKOM factory in Kulim, Penang from completely knocked down (CKD) kits from Japan. The previous generation Mazda CX-5 was also assembled at the INOKOM facility since 2012.
Malaysian law makes imported fully-assembled, completely built up (CBU) units prohibitively expensive due to taxes, prompting auto brands to invest in domestic manufacture and assembly. This time, however, Mazda will start exporting the CX-5 to other markets, including the Philippines.
"And we plan to take advantage of the opportunity that represents by expanding export markets for the Malaysia-made CX-5," continued Mr. Inoue. "In addition to Thailand, the new CX-5 will eventually be shipped to the Philippines, Indonesia and other ASEAN markets."
Mazda Philippines has already launched the CX-5 crossover earlier this year, sourcing the vehicle from the brand's factory in Hiroshima, Japan; a factory that is operating at capacity given that it produces vehicles for many other markets.
More importantly, given that the CX-5's engine options do not qualify it for the virtually tariff-free provisions of the Japan Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA), importing the vehicle from Malaysia instead would be sensible as it would qualify under the stipulations of the ASEAN Free Trade Area.
Sourcing the vehicle from an AFTA market such as Malaysia will also give Mazda Philippines the flexibility given the stipulations under the yet-to-be-finalized tax reform law and its provisions for vehicular excise taxes.