Auto and property group DRB-Hicom Bhd has set a target to sell 500,000 Proton vehicles within five years after it is done with the restructuring of national carmaker Proton Holdings Bhd, which it took private last year.
DRB group managing director (MD) Datuk Seri Mohd Khamil Jamil said the company is implementing programmes to improve Proton’s overall product quality and brand that would strengthen its position in both domestic and export markets.
“The export market is fundamental for Proton and taking into account that we are only selling 20,000 cars to 55 countries currently, the numbers are not justifiable.
“In the next five years, we have plans for Proton to strengthen in the export market,” Mohd Khamil said at a media briefing in Johor on Monday.
He said Proton needed to produce more cars in order to bring down its unit cost and price, and to increase sales the company needed to improve product quality, bring down prices and make the delivery of vehicles to the customer more efficient.
DRB is also rationalising Proton’s two distributors Proton Edar Sdn Bhd and Edaran Otomobil Nasional Bhd (EON) as an early step to improving the overall delivery of vehicles, parts and services.
Mohd Khamil said DRB is in the midst of rationalising Proton Edar and EON, and will not rule out the possibility of listing Proton Edar in Bursa Malaysia.
“Looking at Proton Edar and EON, naturally the end result is to list the company but we have to put the ‘house’ in order first to make sure everything is in place before we go for the next step,” he said.
“Proton had been the number one car manufacturer in Malaysia and a company like Proton that has a 27-year history cannot be changed within six months or one year.
“We at DRB have our plans for Proton and to move forward with our plans, but we need to see what’s on the plate for the last 27 years for Proton, we cannot come in and make changes in a short period,” he said.
Mohd Khamil also expanded on the Asian car project mooted by DRB to specifically cater to the Asean region.
“The Asian car is not something new as I have spoken about this three years ago, and when I look at the Asean market, it is a very promising growth region for cars.
“When we look at the Asean market, we see cars that come from Europe, Japan and Brazil but there are none made by an Asean member except for Proton.
It being the only 100% car manufacturer, Proton should be in front and champion the cause to bring an Asean car for the Asean region,” he said.
He said there are possibilities for DRB, led by Proton, to come up with an Asian concept car with collaboration from Thai and Indonesian automotive players.