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MAI applauds Proton-Suzuki collaboration

POSTED BY ON 29 June 2015

Malaysia Automotive Institute’s (MAI) chief executive, Madani Sahari, applauds the latest initiative of DRB-Hicom and its subsidiary Proton Holdings Bhd to collaborate with Suzuki Motor Corp, affirming his support for such a move made by industry players.

Last week, Proton sealed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Suzuki Motor and DRB-Hicom to enter into a long-term automotive collaboration, which would promote technology transfer and innovation from Suzuki to Proton, within the scopes of car models, platforms and powertrains.

“We support efforts from all original equipment manufacturers in delivering more competitive products to the Malaysian automotive market,” Madani told Cars Bikes & Trucks.

He added; “As the collaboration paves the way forward by sharing technology, markets and facilities, both consumers and industry players, including OEMs and vendors, can expect to benefit from this partnership in the long run.”

MAI chief executive Madani Sahari

MAI chief executive Madani Sahari

No doubt that this partnership will also benefit all three parties as manufacturing costs will be reduced, operations will be optimised and market opportunities will be unlocked.

It has been quite an uphill battle for national car manufacturer Proton to defend its position in the domestic vehicle market as it has been overtaken by Perodua Sdn Bhd in terms of sales volume.

Based on previous statistics revealed by analysts, Cars Bikes & Trucks understands that as at April this year, Proton sold about 4,972 vehicle units. However, this was not even close to one-third of what Perodua made, which was about 17,584 units.

And in saying so, the latter took an almost 39 per cent share of the pie, whereas Proton only managed to claim a mere 11 per cent.

For the financial year ended March 31, 2015, DRB-Hicom Bhd posted revenue of more than RM10,782 million for its automotive arm, up 0.4 per cent from the RM10,728 it garnered in the previous year.

Lately, however, a series of countermeasures taken by Proton on its own behalf have been well received and are viewed as tailwinds for company.

Last April, Proton and its subsidiary Lotus Group, entered an equity joint venture (JV) contract with China’s Goldstar Heavy Industrial, which would then lead to the formation of a JV company called Goldstar Lotus Automobile.

This company will manufacture and market Lotus-branded passenger vehicles, engines, parts and components as well as accessories, in addition to offering aftersales services in the People’s Republic of China.

Proton’s chief executive Datuk Abdul Harith Abdullah, chimed in with the opinion that more importantly, the collaboration will bode well with the National Automotive Policy (NAP) as the group strives to improve and produce products with features which meet international standards and requirements.

“The partnership is consistent with the NAP as having a strong and renowned global automotive player like Suzuki as the foreign strategic partner to Proton, and it will provide us the opportunity to grow internationally leveraging on Suzuki’s presence worldwide,” he said.

India has remained Suzuki’s stronghold, where it currently holds a 45 per cent market share via its collaboration with Maruti. Suzuki has sold three million cars per year globally.

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