PARIS -- Renault is stepping up efforts to grow market share in Southeast Asia by starting local assembly of the Fluence compact sedan in Malaysia.
The Fluence will be assembled from knockdown kits by the Kuala Lumpur-based Tan Chong Group, a Renault and Nissan distributor in Malaysia. This is this first vehicle the company has assembled for the French automaker.
"The launch of the Fluence [in Malysia] is the first stage in Renault's drive to step up the pace of growth in Malaysia," Renault said in a statement, adding that it was using the Fluence "to win international markets, particularly in countries where three-box sedans are popular."
A Renault spokeswoman declined to tell Automotive News Europe how many vehicles the automaker is hoping to sell in the market.
In a wider expansion of the partnership between Renault and Tan Chong, the two companies plan to more than double the number of Renault outlets in the country by 2016 to 25 from 10 now, Renault said. The two companies have worked together since 2003.
Malaysia, Southeast Asia's third-largest economy after Thailand and Indonesia, has consistently averaged annual growth of about 5 percent during the past 30 years. Last year automotive sales increase by 5 percent to 645,000 vehicles.
Gilles Normand, Renault chairman for the Asia-Pacific region, said in the statement that Renault wants to be among the top three volume European automakers by sales in Malaysia by 2018. Right now Perodua, Proton and Toyota Motor Corp. rank one, two and three overall in Malaysia.