The beginnings of Federal Auto Holdings Berhad (FAHB) go back to the year 1960 when Federal Auto Co. Ltd. was founded in Penang by four businessmen. The first car brand handled by the company was Volvo, a brand which it would become synonymous with in the years that followed.
Responding to the Malaysian government’s call for assembly of motor vehicles locally to promote industrialisation, Federal Auto formed a joint-venture with Volvo Cars to build the first vehicle assembly plant in the country in 1967. The plant was located in Shah Alam, Selangor, and its first model produced was the 144. The assembly of Volvos locally was timely as Malaysia’s economy was growing rapidly and with motorisation accelerating, demand for motor vehicles rose.
To support its increasing clientele, Federal Auto began opening branches in many parts of the country, including East Malaysia. Its head office complex alongside Jalan Klang, Kuala Lumpur, was also one of the first purpose-designed car showrooms in Malaysia which would be a landmark for many decades after opening in 1971.
The name of Federal Auto Holdings Berhad was adopted in 1975, by which time the company had grown in size substantially. The Volvo brand had become one of the ten most popular brands in the country and with the launch of new models, it also gained a premium image, especially with its European origins.
During the 1980s and 1990s, FAHB briefly represented two other brands – Subaru and Renault – to offer customers alternatives in other segments of the market. The 1990s also saw ‘winds of change’ blowing for FAHB as it continued to expand and the Volvo products also changed as a new generation of models with front-wheel drive was introduced.
In 1999, the role of FAHB as the sole importer and distributor of Volvo vehicles changed with the establishment of Volvo Cars Malaysia (VCM) as a sales and marketing subsidiary of Volvo Car Corporation. To more effectively service customers, FAHB would focus only retail marketing and providing after-sales services through its subsidiary, Federal Auto Cars Sdn. Bhd. (FAC).
In 2005, MBM Resources Bhd (MBM) acquired a majority share (69.6%) in the group. The new ownership by this public-listed company saw FAHB gain stronger impetus in its growth and development as it approached its 50th anniversary.
In the years following 2005, FAHB began to pursue a multi-brand strategy, first being appointed to represent Volkswagen (through F.A. Wagen Sdn Bhd), and then Mitsubishi Motors (through F.A. Automobiles (Ipoh) Sdn Bhd). Having represented Volvo for decades, FAC today has the largest dealer network for the Swedish brand.
Recognising growing demand by customers to enhance and upgrade their cars, FAHB also established FAST, a subsidiary offering accessories and performance parts for brands such as Volvo, Volkswagen and Audi. In this connection, it gained exclusive distribution rights for ABT, Heico and Williams, and also has business associations with Llumar and Hills.
FAHB is today one of the most dynamic multi-brand automotive dealers in Malaysia with strong business ethics, impeccable integrity and a solid reputation built over five decades. Its representation of world-class automotive brands has come about through having long experience and expertise in the business as well as the resources and drive to succeed.
As evidence of its push forward and upwards, the original head office complex at Jalan Klang which has been a landmark since the 1970s, has been redeveloped into a 26-storey commercial skyscraper that will again become a landmark in Malaysia’s capital city.