BMW Group Malaysia today introduced locally assembled variants of the X1 Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) at Inokom’s plant in Kulim, Butterworth. This introduction is significant in the sense that it marks the first time that BMW is assembling a new model other than a 3 Series or a 5 Series here in Malaysia.
Recounting the history of BMW’s local assembly operations in Malaysia, Mr Geoffrey Briscoe, Managing Director of BMW Group Malaysia said, “The BMW Group has had a long history of local assembly features in Malaysia, with the first Malaysian assembled BMW rolling out in 1983 at the BMW Assembly Facility in Kuching, Sarawak. The introduction of the new BMW X1 marks the first introduction of an entirely new production series by BMW in 27 years and like the BMW 3 Series and BMW 5 Series that came before is expected to become a key contributor to our continued business success and profitability.”
The BMW X1 was officially launched for the Malaysian market in April 2010, after making its global debut in June 2009. Our market received two variants, petrol and diesel, both fully imported from Leipzig and displacing 2.0-litre engine capacities. There was the petrol-driven sDrive18i which sold for RM263,800 (OTR without Insurance) and the higher-spec diesel-powered xDrive20d sold at RM299,800.
“The locally assembled BMW X1 will continue to match the capabilities of the previous fully imported CBU models, and marks an important technological transfer in Green Technology to the Malaysian automotive industry,” said Mr. Briscoe.
Local assembly has now brought prices down, especially for the petrol model, which currently accounts for 75% of total X1 sales. The locally-built sDrive18i will be offered by BMW at RM238,800, a reduction of RM25k from the CBU version. To further sweeten the deal, BMW has also added Park Distance Control, anti-dazzle mirrors, new interior trim and sports leather steering wheel to the mix.
Meanwhile, the diesel xDrive20d variant sees only RM1k slashed off its price list, but gets even more equipment. The list starts with new wood trim and concludes with the very welcomed addition of iDrive and paddle shifters for the 6-speed automatic gearbox. BMW Navigation Professional software is bundled into the iDrive, and along with it comes Bluetooth connectivity and revised wood trim for the interior.
BMW has sold out its shipments of CBU X1 cars, and all future deliveries of this model in our shores will be the locally assembled variants. Customers who insist on a fully imported vehicle can make a special request from BMW Group Malaysia, but the company believes that the added value ought to persuade customers to accept Kulim-built units.
BMW’s operations in Kulim commenced in August 2008 with the E60 5 Series. Operating on a single independent production line, BMW assembles the E90 3 Series Sedan (320i, 320d, 323i, 325i) and F10 5 Series Sedan (523i & 528i) along with the now-added X1. Current output of BMW vehicles from the plant stands at 2,900 units per year, but BMW is looking at the X1 to spur a 45% increase of that figure.