BMW is to take a 51% stake in its Malaysian operations and, as a wholesale company, BMW Malaysia, which starts operations on August 1, will determine what models to sell in Malaysia, and their options, pricing and how they are marketed, as well as the appointment and training of dealers and the level of after-sales support, Dow Jones Newswires reported.

Dow Jones said that, currently, Auto Bavaria Sdn. Bhd., a unit of Sime Darby via its unit Tractors Malaysia Holdings Bhd., holds the wholesale business as well as retailing of BMW cars in the country. Under the new arrangement, Auto Bavaria will keep control of the retail business through 14 dealers in Malaysia, out of which eight belong to Auto Bavaria, the report added.

"So why have we set up BMW Malaysia and changed a structure that has so far been highly successful? BMW Group and Sime Darby feel that, today, the growing size and sophistication of the Malaysian market requires a different strategy, a separation between wholesale and retail, which also allows for greater specialisation," BMW Group's sales division senior vice president for Asia-Pacific, Middle East, East Europe and Africa, Luder Paysen, said in a speech, according to Dow Jones.

As expected, the Dow Jones report added, BMW also announced on Tuesday the establishment in Malaysia of two Asian regional centres to handle the group's information technology infrastructure and parts distribution, as part of its strategy to extend its presence in the region.

According to Dow Jones, Paysen said BMW Group's regional corporate office will remain in Singapore, while Thailand will continue as the home of its sole manufacturing plant in southeast Asia.