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Can Proton’s new owners re-enter the Thai auto market?

POSTED BY Yamin Vong ON 28 November 2018

 

Five Proton managers — four from Geely and one from Proton — were recently in Bangkok to study how to re-enter the Thai auto market. But can Proton succeed and how can it achieve this?

We asked the opinion of automotive industry veteran, Khun Kwanchai Paphatphong, on the sidelines of the 35th Thailand International Motor Expo. Paphatphong is the founder and organiser of the Thai Motor Expo.

He said that for Thailand, it would be difficult using the Proton brand name.

“No chance to Proton to be re-born in the Thai market. The brand came and left. For Proton to enter again, it will have to invest too much,” Kwanchai advised.

What about entering the market as Geely?

“Geely is Chinese. Don’t come into Thailand with the Geely brand. China is not yet recognized as a premium car manufacturing nation. Enter the Thai market with the Lotus brand,” Kwanchai said on the sidelines of the Thai Motor Expo. Geely owns the Lotus brand.

“Enter the Lotus brand into the upper-end of Thailand’s popular segment such as the Eco-Car segment. Price a 1.5 litre car a bit above THB400,000 ceiling price of the Eco-Car.

“Better to start with a new brand name, a premium name such as MG. SAIC (Shanghai Automotive Industrial Corporation) bought MG and used this brand to enter its cars into Thailand.

“MG is now increasingly successful in Thailand. This would be a good business model for Geely to consider as a strategy to enter the Thai market,” he said.