Malaysian car assembler and distributor Naza Group is said to be looking to give up its local Kia and Peugeot franchises due to weak domestic sales caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

According to local reports citing sources close to the matter, Naza had already sold its Kia branches to local dealers and a former executive of a leading local fund had been asked to help with the disposal of the Kia distribution franchise.

Bermaz Auto (BAuto), which currently distributes Mazda vehicles in the country, is reported to have already held talks with Naza and is said to be particularly keen on acquiring the Kia distribution licence. 

BAuto is seen as the frontrunner to take over both the South Korean and French franchises but faces competition from other leading distributors including Sime Darby, which has the BMW licence, and Berjaya Group which distributes Rolls Royce, Bentley and Foton vehicles in Malaysia.

Ultimately, Naza Group will need approval from the brands' principals to transfer its distribution franchises.

The company is also the local distributor for Mercedes-Benz's Brabus high performance brand, Maserati, Ferrari and Ducati.

New vehicle sales in Malaysia declined by over 28% to 285,045 units in the first eight months of 2020 from 398,319 units in the same period of last year.