Competitive Supreme to assemble Rexton

THE sole importer and distributor of South Korea’s SsangYong vehicles, Competitive Supreme Sdn Bhd, plans to assemble the Rexton sport utility vehicle (SUV) as early as December this year and to roll out at least 300 units a month for next year.

The company signed a memorandum of understanding with DRB-HICOM’s Automotive Manufacturers (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd yesterday, appointing the latter to assemble the marque in Pekan, Pahang.

Competitive Supreme managing director Muhammad Fadhil Ahmad expects the completely-knocked-down, or CKD, Rexton to be priced competitively when assembled in Malaysia, which will commence as early as December.

He said the company plans to sell between 3,600 and 4,000 units of SsangYong cars in 2006.

Automotive Manufacturers’ chief executive officer Datuk Wan Ab Ghaffar Wan Ahmad said the initial investment for the collaboration will cost both parties a combined RM10 million.

He said that the company will be providing Competitive Supreme a dedicated production line as believes more models will be assembled in future.

Muhammad Fadhil said the company has been planning to assemble SsangYong vehicles since it obtained the SsangYong franchise in 2001 and began operations in July 2002.

“It is now common knowledge in the automotive industry that the demand for SsangYong vehicles has been very strong, and this has spurred us to fast-track our CKD plans,” Muhammad Fadhil said.

The Rexton SUV currently contributes 80 per cent of the company’s vehicles sales. Other SsangYong models under Competitive Supreme include Chairman Luxury Saloon and Stavic SV270Xdi.

It sold about 1,800 to 1,900 units of SsangYong vehicles last year, and is poised to sell 2,000 units this year.

“We have sold about 50 per cent of our targeted sales and we are optimistic that we can achieve this aim,” Muhammad Fadhil said.

On whether the company will assemble the Rexton with local components, Muhammad Fadhil said: “We will use as many parts made from local content as we can.”

He said it may take the company about three years to break even, provided it only sells 300 units a month.

“We certainly hope we can do better than 300 units a month, and break even faster,” he added.