Malaysia is an economic boom-town, and a country of 28m people. Import duties on foreign cars can run as high as 300 percent. According to unconfirmed rumors, this is to protect the two local makers, Proton & Perodua.
Many foreign car makers have tried to get a chunk of that protected market. One of them is Volkswagen, which does a booming business next door in China.
In 2004, Proton announced a strategic partnership with Volkswagen. Grand plans were hatched. Malaysia was to be come VW’s South East Asia hub, and an eport country. It was all talk, no action, and the deal fell apart in 2007.
Now, VW wants to try again. Bernama.com reports that “Volkswagen Group Malaysia Sdn Bhd expects to finalise its plans to set up an assembly plant for its completely-knocked-down (CKD) models in Malaysia by first half of this year.” Volkswagen Group Malaysia was launched 2006, as part of the abortive Proton maneuver.
The company has yet to decide what cars to assemble in Malaysia, most likely it will be the Golf and New Beetle. Also now word where the kit karts will come from. China would be a good guess.
This will not be the first time VWs are bolted together from kits in Malaysia: From 1967 to 1985, there was some CKD production. The Beetle was assembled from 1968 to 1977. The first generation of the Golf and the VW van saw Malaysian production. A VW Caravelle Van was the last locally assembled VW.
Some of the best locally produced VW products were the Volkswagen ads, created by DDB Malaysia.