Hicom-Teck See Manufacturing Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Malaysia's largest maker of precision injection molded auto parts, hopes that work it began this year exporting parts to Spain and Germany will help it crack the large-volume European and American markets.
The Shah Alam-based company has a target of boosting exports to 70 percent in two years. The firm said it has been trying to grow outside Malaysia's small market since it established a molding plant in Rayong, Thailand, in 2003, where it makes bumpers for Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp.
Plastics News partner publication Asian Plastics News sat down with HTS Chief Executive Officer Khairudin Dato' Haji Yusoff earlier this year to talk about where the company is headed. He described its export push as being kicked off by an increasing popularity of imports in its home market.
``Compared to 10 years ago, the Malaysia automotive industry has undergone some changes as consumers increasingly favor Japanese-made cars over Malaysian ones,'' he said. ``We saw this coming and four years ago began our export drive by going to Thailand and setting up a plant there. We are more aggressive in pursuing export markets now, but we do not forget our local customers, as they will continue to be our rice bowl.''
Hicom-Teck See's Shah Alam headquarters plant, its largest, houses 14 injection molding machines, all established Japanese brands, with clamping forces of 550-3,000 metric tonnes. The Thai facility houses six presses and a fully automated painting line.
In Shah Alam, the company makes medium and large parts for Malaysian automakers Proton Holdings Bhd and Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd, or Perodua. The Tier 1 supplier also operates two painting and assembly factories in Kedah and Perak, Malaysia. It also does gas-assisted and sequential injection molding, blow molding and low-pressure stamp press injection molding for door trim and instrument panels.
Hicom-Teck See designs and manufactures bumpers, full instrument panels, interior trim assemblies and headlamp housings.
The company sees higher volumes and lower costs if it can successfully push into the more demanding European and American markets.
``The interesting thing about the export market in Europe and America is that the volume is big,'' Khairudin said.
``In Malaysia, because of the low volume produced, we have to make very frequent mold setup changes, which is costly and time consuming. But in big automotive markets like America, one mold change is almost equivalent to 20 mold changes in the local market, due to the difference in production volume.''
This is an edited version of a story that appeared in the latest edition of Asian Plastics News.