GURUN: Naza Automotive Manufacturers Sdn Bhd (NAM) hopes to conclude discussions by April on making the new RM20mil Naza Kia Academy the fourth overseas training centre for South Korea's Kia Motors Corp.
If the deal goes through, the academy would be Kia’s only overseas training centre outside South Korea located in the Asia-Pacific.
Naza Automotive senior general manager Nor Hadi Daud said that Kia officials had recently visited the academy and found its facilities “equivalent” to that in its training centre in South Korea.
“Because of this, Kia is interested in us becoming its fourth overseas training centre in addition to the three it currently has in the United States, Germany and Saudi Arabia,” Hadi told a press conference at the Naza Kia Academy last week.
The academy, located in the vicinity of Naza Automotive's plant in Gurun, is a joint project between Naza Kia Sdn Bhd and Naza Automotive. It will provide basic training for local managers, staff and skilled technicians and mechanics.
The first batch of 14 students have been at the academy for four months and are undergoing advanced technical training.
The academy expects an additional 20 international students to enrol for its courses by next month.
Hadi said Naza Kia Academy also offered servicing and showroom services, mainly to help meet the cost of running the academy.
On another note, he said the Naza Automotive plant, sited on 148 acres, was licensed by Kia to produce and assemble both Naza and Kia vehicles.
Naza, which invested an initial RM390mil in the plant, has pumped in a further RM90mil to set up the training academy, a research and development centre, a multi-purpose hall and a pre-delivery inspection centre.
Hadi said Naza Automotive planned to increase the production of the Gurun plant to 60,000 vehicles by 2007 from 25,000 now. The output for this year, he said, would be about 44,000 units.
Naza Kia's sales increased 53% last year to 32,544 units compared with 21,323 in 2004. It has an 18% share of the local commercial vehicle market and an 80% share of the large multi-purpose vehicle segment.
Two new models, the NX01 and NX02, will be introduced this year. Production of the two are expected to start within the next two months.