Daihatsu Motor Co., the Japanese automaker known mostly for its smaller models and off-road vehicles said Wednesday it will invest about 5 billion yen in southwestern Malaysia to build automatic transmissions.

The Japanese automaker aims to start operating the plant in the Sendayan Industrial Park in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan in November 2013 with an annual production capacity of 150,000 units.

While the ratio of automobiles with automatic transmission is high in the Malaysian market (over 70%), to date no automaker has manufactured automatic transmissions itself locally.

Last month the company said slower worldwide sales ate into its consolidated net profit by 10.1 percent in a nine-month period through December from a year earlier to 34.07 billion yen.

In an earnings report for the April-December 2011 period, the compact car-making subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corp. said its operating profit slipped 2.5 percent to 69.18 billion yen on a 4.1 percent sales drop to 1.12 trillion yen.


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