Words by Christopher Kho
Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FHI), Subaru's corporate head, has just sealed a new contract with the Tan Chong Group for the local assembly of Subaru vehicles in Malaysia. Production will begin by October 2012 at an existing facility of the Tan Chong Group who are, by the way, the same people behind Motor Image Pilipinas. With a capacity of producing up to 5,000 units a year, Subaru plans to manufacture compact SUV's based on the XV Concept for the ASEAN market. But don't get your hopes up just yet, because according to FHI, these new units are intended for Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia, with no mention of the Philippines.
Tan Chong International Limited (TCIL) has had decades of experience in the assembly of Nissan's and Renault's for the ASEAN region. Thus, they should have no problems getting up to speed with the production of Subaru's AWD SUV's. And with sales projected to increase by over 10 fold in the first year of introducing the XV concept model, Motor Image will surely get their investment returns in no time. Let’s just hope that they also have plans of shipping some Malaysian-built XV's to the Philippines, so we too can have a slice of the action.