Kia Carnival CKD delayed in Malaysia to May 2022 –

Those of you looking forward to Bermaz’s first Kia model will have to wait a bit more. Research house RHB Investment Research has reported that CKD local assembly of the Carnival MPV will be pushed back to May 2022, five months after the original December 2021 target.

The article pointed to the nationwide movement control order, which was only lifted in Kedah (where Kia vehicles are set to be assembled) today, as the reason behind the delay. The Seltos B-segment SUV is also likely to be affected, given that it was due to assembled locally in the second quarter of 2022, according to a previous report.

However, the Carnival’s revised mid-2022 start date is still well within earlier expectations. Back when the partnership with Kia was announced in April, Bermaz executive chairman Datuk Seri Ben Yeoh said that it would take between 12 and 18 months before CKD operations could commence.

It’s still early days of the distributorship deal between Bermaz and Kia. The brand is now represented here by Dinamikjaya Motors, a new company created by Bermaz solely for this purpose. Another new firm, Kia Malaysia, was set up to assemble Kia vehicles in Malaysia and is 60% owned by Kia in South Korea.

The cars will be built at the Inokom plant in Kulim, taking over from the Naza plant further north in Gurun. That factory is now majority-owned by Stellantis (née Groupe PSA) and solely produces Peugeot vehicles – another brand now under Bermaz stewardship.

Bermaz owns a 29% stake in Inokom and will use excess capacity at the plant to churn out Kias. The facility is also earmarked as the brand’s regional production hub with the hopes of exporting vehicles to other countries in Southeast Asia.

While new products would certainly refresh an ageing local lineup, the company has other priorities. Yeoh has previously said that Bermaz is currently focused on improving the brand’s aftersales service by listening to the feedback of current Kia owners. “The demands of customers are very important to us. Our priority is to engage existing customers, look at their grievances and try and address those grievances.

“Happy customers will determine the future of the brand. We will [meet customer expectations] by upscaling both our human resources as well as our facilities, so that [our aftersales] is convenient to customers and [we can] give them a hassle-free experience, as we have done for other brands in the past,” he said.

Until the new CKD models arrive, Dinamikjaya is selling Naza’s existing inventory of Kia vehicles through its 35 outlets. New CBU imports will have to wait until the company finds a new importer, as the main focus is now on solidifying the brand’s aftersales presence.

While we still await the new Carnival, over in Thailand, the fourth-generation MPV has recently received its first model year update, adding the new Kia logo. Imported from Korea, the car will likely see a drop in price if (or when) it is exported from Malaysia to the Land of Smiles, as it currently retails between 2,045,000 baht (RM233,100) and 2,495,000 baht (RM308,700).

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