In July, Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI), the maker of Subaru vehicles, announced that it had entered a consignment production contract with Tan Chong Group for the assembly of Subaru units in Malaysia.
According to FHI, production will begin in October 2012 at an existing production facility owned by Tan Chong Motor Assemblies, which has a production capacity of 5,000 units a year. FHI added that Subaru compact SUVs will be built in the facility and then marketed in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia through the Tan Chong Group's Subaru sales and distribution network, Motor Image. FHI then hopes to leverage the Malaysian assembly of Subaru vehicles to expand the Japanese carmaker's growth in the ASEAN region.
In an interview on PaulTan.org, Glenn Tan, executive director of Tan Chong International and group chief executive of Motor Image, confirmed that the compact Subaru SUV that will be built in the Malaysian facility would be the soon-to-be-launched Subaru XV.
So, is there a possibility that the Philippines might see the arrival of the XV soon?
Unfortunately, the answer to that is 'no' as the Malaysian plant will only be assembling right-hand-drive models, which obviously means only right-hand-drive XVs will roll out of the facility.
According to Nicky Mariano, general manager of Motor Image Pilipinas, the Philippines will only get its supply of Subarus from Japan. So until the Malaysian plant starts assembling left-hand-drive vehicles, we'll continue to get our Subarus directly from their home country, which means the only way we'll get the XV is if Subaru's Gunma, Japan, plant decides to manufacture it for our market as well.
Still, the prospect of getting our Subarus from a fellow ASEAN member sounds tantalizing as it could mean minimal tariffs for Malaysia-made models.