Naza Kia Malaysia (NKM), the official distributor of KIA vehicles in Malaysia, has appointed MBf Automobile Sdn Bhd into their ever-growing dealer network. The appointment was confirmed by the signing of a dealership agreement between the two companies at the Malaysia Autoshow 2018 which is on today, tomorrow and Sunday at the MAEPS outside Kuala Lumpur.

“This new dealership appointment symbolises Naza Kia Malaysia’s relentless pursuit of brand excellence and brand reach in the country,” said Dato’ Samson Anand George, Group CEO, Automotive Group, Naza Corporation Holding., “We are grateful for the immense support from our dealers over the last few decades and we welcome MBf Automobile Sdn Bhd to our existing network of dealers. This dealership reassures us of Kia’s growing presence in Malaysia and the confidence that dealers such as MBf Automobile Sdn Bhd place on us.”

Dato’ Samson Anand George, Group CEO, Automotive Group, Naza Corporation Holdings and Daniel Choo, Group General Manager of MBf Automobile at the signing ceremony between Naza Kia Malaysia and MBf Automobile.

MBf Automobile will set up its first Kia outlets incorporating the Korean brand’s new corporate identity for its Kia Concept Stores. The first 3S Kia City Concept Store Experiential Showroom in Malaysia will be at Menara MBf, situated along Jalan Sultan Ismail in Kuala Lumpur. MBf Automobile will be spending RM5 million on this new outlet which, when it opens in mid-2019, will give visitors a one-of-a-kind immersive experience at a state-of-the-art facility.

MBf Automobile will also revamp an existing Kia outlet located along Jalan Maarof in Bangsar and spend RM1.5 million to convert it into a Kia City Concept Store that will begin operations in the third quarter of 2018.

“This year, we plan to continue intensifying investments to further grow our network with five new outlets nationwide and expand customer touchpoints to ensure an extraordinary experience throughout the consumer journey,” added Dato’ Samson. He said that the Kia network already has 51 sales and service centres in the country and more new outlets will be opened in different areas in 2018.

MBf Automobile Sdn Bhd, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of MBf Group, is no stranger to the automobile business. In the late 1980s, the MBf Group was approached by Peugeot to handle its products and provide aftersales services after Asia Motors ceased to be the distributor. It established MBf Automobile to handle the franchise and during the 1990s, made great progress with the brand to position it one of the popular European makes. It also had some models assembled locally and was among the first car companies in Malaysia to offer a 24-hour roadside assistance service to owners.

“Because the motor industry was so competitive, I knew that we had to find some added-value service to win the customers. We decided to set up a system whereby if one of our [Peugeot] cars broke down within a 90-km radius of a major city or town, a call to a toll-free number would bring a breakdown truck to provide assistance within an hour, anytime of the day,” explained the late Tan Sri Loy Hean Heong, who founded the MBf Group in 1963, in his book ‘Against All Odds‘.

The MBf Group, through its MBf Automobile and MBf Commercial Vehicles units, handled Peugeot and Jeep in the 1990s.

MBf Commercial Vehicles, another unit in the MBf Group, also handled the Jeep business in the second half of the 1990s. However, the financial crisis of the late 1990s hit the auto industry badly and MBf Automobile had to withdraw from the business which its founder had personally liked, having been a mechanic himself in his younger days.

Today, the MBf Group still has some units involved in automotive businesses in the South Pacific islands. It also continues to have be a partner in MAN Truck & Bus Malaysia which was started as a joint-venture with the German commercial vehicle company in 1991.

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[Chips Yap]

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