Bermaz Auto (BAuto) is reportedly looking into expanding into the electric vehicle (EV) segment with the addition of a Chinese EV brand to its portfolio. According to Affin Hwang Investment Bank (AHIB), the company is said to be engaging with several China EV automakers for EV distribution rights in Malaysia.
In a report, the investment bank said that BAuto was interested in bringing in a pure EV player to make it its main EV brand, and was said to be making overtures to brands such as Xpeng, Dongfeng and Geely. It said that BAuto’s strategy to tie up with a Chinese pure EV player as its primary EV brand is the right move, but added that securing distribution rights wasn’t a given.
“Any successful tie up with any of these larger Chinese EV players would be a plus for BAuto, but existing automotive players in the country may also be seeking such strategic plans, and thus it may be challenging (for BAuto), especially going up against the bigger players with a stronger financial position and distribution network,” the report said.
Should this not materialise, AHIB said that shifting its focus into lower price segments would allow BAuto plenty of space to maneouvre.
“Nevertheless, given the breadth of Chinese EV brands, affordable EV brands like Hozon or Wuling can cater the low to mid-income group and most importantly become a volume driver for the company’s EV segment. This could be an interesting proposition, in our view,” the report said.
It should be noted that Chinese automaker Hozon already has representation in the country, with GoAuto already bringing in the Neta V crossover via its wholly-owned Intro Synergy subsidiary. As for Wuling, the Mini EV – which is sold in its updated Air form in Indonesia – was spotted in the country last year, and while the brand isn’t in the market yet, it has been reported previously that Tan Chong Motor Holdings (TCMH) was set to become the brand’s custodian in Malaysia.
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