THE Asean countries and China are now within reach for Proton Holdings Bhd to market its cars following its recent strategic partnership deal with China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co Ltd, said Institute of GeoSpatial Science & Technology geostrategist Dr Azmi Hassan.
“One thing is clear from the start, Geely is aiming for the global market as this has been its business model all along. To begin with, Malaysia is well on its way to becoming the gateway to the Asean market,” he told Bernama yesterday.
Geely — among other things — fully owns Volvo, so the Malaysian national carmaker could not have asked for a better partner, he added.
He agreed that going into partnership with Geely in facing the highly competitive world car market was the best thing to have happened to Proton in its entire history.
DRB-Hicom Bhd group MD Datuk Seri Syed Faisal Albar Syed Ali Rethza said recently that Geely had proved to be a committed partner in all its ventures, helping each of the companies that it acquired a stake in to turn around with appropriate levels of financial investments plus a heavy dose of injection in technology and innovation.
Azmi said in the car manufacturing business, it did not make any sense for a player to go in alone and this was particularly so for Proton, which had all along been struggling to make ends meet by selling cars mainly to the domestic market.
“To let Proton continue selling only for the domestic market will only lead to its demise. It’s critical that it is able to capture the Asean market, especially now that tariff barriers within the region have been removed. I can see that Geely is aiming for Malaysia via Proton to establish its footprints in Asean,” he said.
He described Asean, with some 600 million people, as a fast-growing car market and with Geely, which made one million cars annually globally, Proton would also be able to better produce quality cars at lower prices, thanks to economies of scale.
“As a Malaysian, I, too, consider myself as having a stake in Proton and I see Geely’s business model as very fitting for Malaysians who regard Proton as our national icon,” he said. — Bernama