Suzuki closes Malaysian motorbike plant

Suzuki Motor

TOKYO: Suzuki Motor has closed its Malaysian motorcycle assembly plant after earlier slashing production due to weak demand.

A Report in the Nikkei Asian Review said the company would now export the bikes from Japan.

A check at its website showed a prominent notice saying that it had closed its branches in Kedah, Malacca and Johor effective 16 July. No reasons were given.

It advised those who had bought its bikes to visit Suzuki authorised dealers for repairs and spare parts.

According to the Nikkei report, the Japanese manufacturer had assembled scooters and other models at the site by installing engines and other core parts procured elsewhere.

But the plant’s annual output nearly halved to around 8,000 units in fiscal 2015, compared with fiscal 2013.

Efforts to raise efficiency bore little fruit owing to the facility’s limited scale and this led to the company deciding to focus on exporting lucrative larger models from Japan, said the Nikkei report.

Suzuki plans to assemble 1.44 million motorcycles in fiscal 2016. The company has been struggling to boost sales in Asia, and its profitability remains low, added the report.

Meanwhile, Suzuki, which had ceased production of its cars earlier in Malaysia, has entered into a pact with Proton Holdings to start producing new vehicles developed jointly before the end of this year.
Suzuki, the Nikkei Asian Review had reported in January, will share its car platforms and technologies with Proton and use the local company’s distribution and service network for its re-branded cars.

More than two dozen showrooms selling and providing services to Suzuki customers had been converted into Proton outlets, Proton had earlier said in a statement.