Mazda Motor is investing an initial MYR100 million (USD 31 million) in a new assembly plant in Kulim in the Malaysian state of Kedah, to produce so-called energy-efficient vehicles (EEVs) – according to Malaysian Government sources.

The plant will be located within the industrial complex owned by Inokom Corporation, which began assembly of the Mazda 3 in 2011 and which also has assembles vehicles for Renault and Hyundai.

The first model is expected to be produced in April, with two other models planned for 2014, as the Japanese carmaker vies to increase its presence in the substantial Malaysian passenger car market.

Mazda intends to increase local content of the new model 50% within a year to help bring down taxation and overall costs. The vehicles will be exported also to other Asean markets.