Subaru To Cease Its CKD Operations In Malaysia & Thailand

Subaru confirms that all its future models sold in ASEAN will come fully imported from Japan. 

While it was not too long ago that Subaru was once be riding high in the Malaysian sales charts, its hey day over here however does unfortunately look to be all but over already. Such is as the Japanese automaker has recently announced that it will be ceasing all of its complete knock down (CKD) operations in Southeast Asia, with it to once again be returning to the importation of its models directly from Japan. 

In a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on May 24th, Tan Chong International Limited (TCIL) and Subaru Corporation had announced plans to phase out its local assembly operations for Southeast Asia. ‘From next year, the CKD markets in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Cambodia will transition to a complete build up (CBU) sales model from Japan,’ continues the business update.

According to the filing, Subaru sees for the existing CKD operations in ASEAN is ‘no longer sustainable in the long term’. The Japanese automaker claims that this moves is a response to evolving market dynamics, with the board of directors at TCIL further adding that the transition to a CBU model enables for an increase in agility for its business operations within the Southeast Asian region. 

Subaru WRX Wagon

Subaru’s ASEAN CKD operations incidentally only started back here rather recently in Malaysia, with the local assembly of the first-generation XV at the Tan Chong Motor Assemblies plant in Segambut, Selangor beginning in 2012. This Segambut site then then took on the responsibility of churning out fourth-generation Forester from 2016 to 2019, with it to continuing to produce the second-generation XV for local and export markets to this day. 

The other Subaru assembly site in ASEAN meanwhile is located in Lat Krabang Thailand, where the only model it produced to date (since beginning operations in 2019) is the fifth-generation Forester. This Thai plant is incidentally also the first dedicated Subaru manufacturing plant outside of Japan in Asia, and only the third plant to fully produce Subaru vehicles worldwide. 

Now despite the discontinuation of its CKD endeavours, Subaru has continue to emphasise their commitment to the Southeast Asian market. Though said commitments will likely be catering to a significantly smaller customer base, with its currently high-priced CBU lineup of WRX and Outback being precursors to the Japanese automaker’s inevitable slow-selling future over here. 

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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