Naza Automotive: U.S. Market Possible?
By: Matthew C. Keegan
Malaysia does not conjure up thoughts with car enthusiasts as
being an automotive powerhouse. Indeed, many of the cars built in
this burgeoning Southeast Asian nation are manufactured in cooperation
with more known brands including Volkswagen and Kia. That may all
be changing soon as Malaysia s top auto manufacturers start building
more models containing their own content. One manufacturer, Naza
Automotive Manufacturing, is doing just that by releasing a pair
of models this month that will be Malaysian designed and will utilize
local materials. How could this move prove to be important to American
motorists? Well, just as several Chinese manufacturers have designs
on bringing cheaply priced cars to the U.S., Malaysian automakers
may soon follow. Likely, you have never heard of Naza, but keep
an eye on the world auto scene as Naza and at least one other Malaysian
automaker, Proton, rush to develop cars explicitly designed for
the lucrative U.S. market.
Naza, is not likely to be a name easily forgotten, but for two different
reasons: the first, is the automaker s similarity to Nazi and the
second, because the company will soon be building its own cars for
the expanding Malaysian market. Previously, Kia cars were the company
s chief product built, with a Peugeot model also planned for release.
Now, according to corporate sources, the company will be building
two of its own models, a 1.1L powered car called the NX01 and a
slightly larger model, the NX02.
Despite the similarity to the notorious word Nazi, the company is
also known as NAM and could use that latter name for export once
capacity has been met for the home market. NAM officials, along
with its chief national competitor, Proton, will certainly be studying
the coming release of Chinese cars to the American market. If Chinese
cars are successful abroad, look for NAM and Proton models built
at newly created Malaysian manufacturing plants to be exported as
well. This move could put additional price pressure on the U.S.
market as another source of cheaply priced cars enters our market.
At the same time, Malaysia could use the financial boost of exporting
a potentially lucrative product overseas.
Yes, the American automotive market is changing as is Malaysia s
auto industry. Perhaps, Ford or GM will work with Naza and help
bring in certain models to fill out their own lines. More than likely
this won t happen and Naza will go it alone. Regardless, American
consumers are likely to benefit in the form of more choices and
with low new car prices at least in the entry level segment.
Copyright 2006 Matt Keegan is
a freelance writer covering the emerging brands as well as industry
trends. You can keep your car, truck, van, or SUV running great
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