Malaysia pretty much gave up on the idea of having a national car and sold Proton, a brainchild of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. This does not keep neighboring Cambodia from embarking on a similar silliness. State-owned ACICA signed “a US$2 billion join venture investment” with UK’s BIW Automotive to build a factory in Preah Sihanouk province for a Cambodian-made vehicle within the next three years, says the Phnom Pen Post.
The joint venture has big plans for a small car: It will build a factory with a capacity of around 300,000 units per year. It will produce a small low cost car, with eyes on the domestic market, ASEAN and the world.
Now who is BIW, you ask? Good question. The company calls itself “a specialist automotive and technology transfer business,” and so far, all it has is a plan. It wanted to build yet another “circa $3,225 Peoples Car”.
Prices are going up, and when the car is finished ()if it ever will) if will cost approximately $7,000 per unit now.
“By 2015-2016, we commit that Cambodia will have a Cambodian national car which represents the country, like Malaysia or others have. But the difference to Malaysia is that we will produce all parts, such as the body and engine, by ourselves. We don’t buy from other companies. It means that everything is made in Cambodia,” said ACICA’s Group Chairman Al Rumny. Good luck with that.
Mr. Rumny also needs someone who knows how to do budgets for car companies.
According to the report, $450 million of the $2 billion project will be used to build a new power station to supply the factory. An additional $1 billion will be spent on construction of a new township. The remaining $550 million amount will be used for the car project, Al Rumny said.