Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) chief executive officer Datuk Azman Mahmud (fifth from right) at the opening of the BMW Group’s Regional Parts Distribution Centre in Senai, Johor today. Pix by Hairul Anuar Rahim

JOHOR BARU: BMW Group has expanded its presence in Malaysia with the launch of a new Regional Parts Distribution Centre in Senai here today.

Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) chief executive officer Datuk Azman Mahmud said the opening of the centre was timely in capturing growing market opportunities in the region.

"The existing strategic free trade agreements and the upcoming Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) makes the investment timely and also shows that BMW is serious about its investments in Malaysia," Azman told reporters at the RM130 million facility.

BMW Group had initially set up a facility in the Port of Tanjong Pelepas in 2004. It has now tripled its capacity to 45,000sqm with the new facility, which employs 80 local staff.

"The group plans to expand the facility to 65,000sqm by 2025," Azman said.

The group currently also engages 55 local service providers with an annual contract value of more than RM25 million and of these, 20 are local logistics players.

"BMW's expansion plan shows that Malaysia has the infrastructure, people and capability for strategic foreign investment, and Malaysia has become an export-driven economy spurred by high technology, knowledge-based and capital-intensive labour," he added.

The Johor facility is the only regional parts centre in the world besides the central distribution centre in Germany that is delivering parts to more than 20 countries.

Azman also said that MIDA is targeting more companies like BMW, to create more quality employment opportunities for locals, so that they do not need to seek employment in Singapore.

Meanwhile, BMW Group senior vice president (Asia Pacific and South Africa) Hendrik von Kuenheim said the new facility will be supplying the parts locally and to Singapore, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand, among others.

"The group recorded a 5.3 per cent increase in 2016 compared to the previous year, by delivering 2.3 million BMW vehicles worldwide in that year. Of these, 745,000 vehicles were in the Asia Pacific region," Kuenheim said.

Also present was group vice president (parts logistics management) Wolfgang Baumann and group managing director Han Sang Yun.

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