For­eign part­ner­ship key step to en­sure Pro­ton’s restora­tion

New Straits Times - - News -

KUALA LUMPUR: Iden­ti­fy­ing a for­eign strate­gic part­ner (FSP) that fits well with Pro­ton was key to en­sur­ing that tech­nol­ogy, mar­ket ex­pan­sion and brand el­e­va­tion are on the ta­ble for the na­tional car­maker.

Malaysia Au­to­mo­tive In­sti­tute chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Datuk Madani Sa­hari said from the gov­ern­ment’s stand­point, the move was an im­por­tant step to­wards sus­tain­able com­pet­i­tive­ness and restora­tion of Pro­ton’s bot­tom­line.

He said the year-long process of an­nounc­ing Pro­ton’s FSP was car­ried out after con­sid­er­a­tion of all fac­tors aimed at ben­e­fit­ing both Pro­ton Hold­ings Bhd and China’s Zhe­jiang Geely Hold­ing Group Co Ltd.

“This part­ner­ship will in­volve in­jec­tion of funds to sus­tain Pro­ton in the short term. Although the amount has not been dis­closed, this in­jec­tion will cer­tainly ease Pro­ton’s op­er­a­tions.”

Madani said Geely had re­cently launched its 01 sports util­ity ve­hi­cle un­der Lynk and Co at the Shang­hai Mo­tor­show last month.

The car, he said, was built on a mod­u­lar plat­form, which was the re­sult of Geely’s ac­qui­si­tion of Volvo.

“Pro­ton will now have ac­cess to this mod­u­lar plat­form which can be used for all seg­ments.”

Pro­ton’s ca­pa­bil­ity to de­sign “Global Small Car” for five-star NCAP (New Car As­sess­ment Pro­gramme for South­east Asian Coun­tries) could fur­ther en­hance both brands to gain con­sumer at­ten­tion in an ex­panded re­gional mar­ket when cou­pled with Geely’s mod­u­lar plat­form ca­pa­bil­i­ties, he said.

He added that the part­ner­ship also opened the pos­si­bil­i­ties to more ad­vanced ven­tures on the elec­tri­fi­ca­tion and medium-term tech­nolo­gies, such as anti-fa­tigue de­vices, radar and laser sen­sors, ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and other ad­vanced driver as­sist sys­tems.

This new part­ner­ship, he said, could al­low Pro­ton to con­sider its own credit com­pany sim­i­lar to Mercedes, BMW and Toy­ota to in­ter­nalise the hire-pur­chase process and boost sales.

“It is im­por­tant to note that Pro­ton has been sell­ing around 5,000 to 6,000 units per month, which is fourth in the coun­try after Pero­dua, Honda and Toy­ota.”

Mean­while, Malaysian Au­to­mo­tive As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Datuk Aishah Ah­mad said the joint ven­ture was long over­due as Pro­ton needed the fi­nan­cial in­jec­tion.

“Pro­ton can­not sur­vive on its own. This part­ner­ship is bet­ter for Pro­ton’s fu­ture. You have to be re­al­is­tic as the com­pany can­not be ask­ing the gov­ern­ment to res­cue it all the time.

“With­out the part­ner­ship, even­tu­ally, Pro­ton may be op­er­at­ing poorly and this will se­verely im­pact its ven­dors and em­ploy­ees.”

She said Geely’s 49.9 per cent ac­qui­si­tion of Pro­ton would bring the lat­ter back to its glory days, thus im­prov­ing the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try in gen­eral.

Datuk Madani Sa­hari

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