Naza Corporation NAMMalaysia - The French carmaker has signed a joint venture (JV) agreement with Naza Corporation Holdings - a Malaysian business conglomerate that operates in a variety of industries, from education to automotive. As part of this, the two companies will work together to operate the Naza Automotive Manufacturing (NAM) plant in Gurun, Kedah.

The facility has an annual capacity of around 50,000 vehicles, with a workforce of nearly 450 people. It currently makes a range of Peugeot, Citroen and Kia models for the domestic market. The NAM plant will implement Groupe PSA's EMP2 modular platform for C and D segments, the Peugeot 3008 commencing production in 2018 while the Citroen C5 Aircross will follow in 2019.

According to Carlos Tavares, Chairman of the Managing Board of Groupe PSA, the move solidifies the company's position in the ASEAN region: “The creation of the ASEAN hub in Gurun, Kedah, is a significant leap forward for Groupe PSA which will lead to the development of a profitable business in the region as part of our Push to Pass strategic plan. We are pleased to partner with Naza Corporation Holdings and continue leveraging our historical relationship.”

The two companies have been working together since 2008. Naza has now obtained sole responsibility for the distribution of Peugeot, Citroen and DS vehicles in the Malaysian market.

A report from market researcher Reciprocus predicts strong and sustained demand for new vehicles in the near future across the ASEAN region. In Malaysia alone, the vehicle fleet is forecast to expand at a CAGR of 5.5% to reach a size of 17.3 million by 2020. It also describes Thailand as "the regional hub for automotive manufacturing."