News: Chinese automaker Chery Holdings plans to invest US$300mn to build a manufacturing plant in Malaysia by 2018, Automotive News reports. The carmaker wants to make the country its major regional hub for right-hand drive models in South East Asia, due to its stable government, stable economy and receptive car buyers. Chery views the country as an ideal place to assemble vehicles in a completely-knocked-down format before exporting the products to other nations in South East Asia. Chery has more than 50 dealerships in Malaysia.
BMI View: On the production side, BMI has become slightly more negative, revising down its 2013 vehicle production forecast slightly, from growth of 10%, down to 7.7%. This reflected a slightly slow start to the year, with uncertainty ahead of the May 5 general election also reportedly creating more uncertainty on the production side than it did for new vehicle sales. However, we remain bullish in the long term, forecasting an average annual growth rate of 7.4% over the 2013-2017 period, to reach in excess of 810,000 units.