PUREM by Eberspaecher and Aapico Hitech Public Company Limited (Aapico), through the joint venture of Purem Aapico Co. Ltd, opens its first exhaust system plant in Malaysia.
The new plant in Rawang covers 43,056 sq ft which focuses on the production of exhaust gas after treatment systems.
This includes hot ends with catalytic converters and manifolds as well as cold ends such as mufflers and pipes.
Highly automatic, the plant houses about 100 employees which will produce and deliver about 400,000 components annually for four different car models directly to national automotive manufacturer Proton as a start.
For now, at least 75 per cent of the components will be made for the brand's sports utility vehicles (SUV) while the remaining will head to the sedans - though the difference to cater to the two has been said to mainly be length of the exhaust.
Further volumes with potential new local customers are planned in the future works, as well as technical expansion of the production facility for coating of catalysts.
Eventually the JV's aim with the plant is to focus on the Asean region and not just any particular automaker with export plans to include even to China.
With a present RM50 million investment the facility still has the potential to expand up to 75,348 sq ft when operating at full capacity.
This venture is said to contribute to the growth and development of Malaysia's auto parts industry with the creation of new employment, introduction of leading technologies and upskilling the workforce, while delivering sustainable world-class exhaust systems to OEM manufacturers.
"This is our second auto part investment in Malaysia within this year. Aapico is confident of the future of the car industry in Malaysia. I am proud to bring Purem by Eberspaecher, one of the largest and top exhaust makers in the world, to Malaysia," said Aapico Hitech PLC president and chief executive officer Yeap Swee Chuan.
Eberspaecher Group managing partner Martin Peters said the move is an important milestone for the JV's business activities in the Asean market.
"It demonstrates that our products and technologies for clean mobility are well sought and we are delighted to deliver these together with our joint venture partner Aapico.
"Just a year after the start of our joint venture activities, this opening is a proof point of its success and an important step to develop the local Malaysian market," he added.
When asked if the growing electric vehicle (EV) market would affect the JV's plans, Yeap explained that there will always be regions that require internal combustion engines (ICE) so it is more about finding balance with the EV market for the two to co-exist and survive.
He adds that business for exhaust systems will instead continue to grow as it will take a very long time before EVs purely dominate the market and take major foothold as a cultural norm.
"It is unlikely that EVs will take over the market in 10 or 20 years, but it could take up to 40 years. Therefore, the auto parts business will continue to grow now," he said in an interview with Bernama during the launch of the JV's new Rayong plant in Thailand.
Till then he sees the ICE powertrain still possessing at least 66 per cent of the vehicle share market years from now.
In regards to further expansion, the companies are in no rush to take on new projects and that they will still focus on setting up the right people with the right skills before anything else, saying that while growth is important speed and skillset is equally necessary.
The JV's new Rayong plant which just opened right after the launch of the Rawang plant will manufacture and supplies exhaust systems for passenger cars and pickup trucks for Thailand and international markets, while meeting the highest emission standards.
Unlike its fresh engagement in Malaysia, the JV's operations in Thailand will cater to a variety of automaker brands.
It is Purem Aapico's second factory in Asia and has a yearly production capacity of 300,000 clean mobility systems.
Yeap said its exhaust systems comply with the international standards of clean mobility, namely Euro 6, CARB LEV III, and EPA Tier 3, and can be exported to over 100 countries worldwide.
"At present, the plant will supply exhaust systems for Ford to produce pickup trucks, whereby 30 per cent of the trucks will be sold in Thailand, and the remaining 70 per cent will be exported worldwide.
"We are talking to all original equipment manufacturers in Thailand. I am very confident with excellent quality, competitive cost, and excellent delivery, we will soon be able to supply to other brands in Thailand as well," he told Bernama.
Yeap said Purem Aapico invested 500 million Thai baht in the first phase of its plant in Rayong, with 100 million Thai baht for factory construction and 400 million Thai baht for equipment and engineering.
The joint venture of Purem Aapico was founded in August 2022. Purem by Eberspaecher holds 51 per cent, while Aapico 49 per cent. The aim of the partnership is to develop the local market and become a major exhaust technology system supplier for the region.