By KEVIN WONG / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS
PROTON Holdings Bhd will produce 400,000 vehicles by 2022, with half of the production destined for export, under a plan by major stockholder Zhe-jiang Geely Holding Group Co Ltd, Minister of International Trade and Industry II Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan (picture) said.
Ong said the plan to ramp up Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional Sdn Bhd’s (PONSB) production to its capacity includes new models that will be developed in China in collaboration with Geely.
“The plan of producing 400,000 units of Proton will not be done in phases over five years. We have to ensure our quality is at the international standard before exporting them,” he said in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
“In the past, only a small number of Malaysian cars were exported as our quality was not competitive. So, in order to export 200,000 units (Proton), we will need to have a high level of R&D to capture the attention of the international market.”
He said new Proton models will be jointly developed in China with the support of Geely’s research and development (R&D) arm, which has a budget of about RM5.1 billion.
He said Geely was committed to providing PONSB with the latest technology to develop new Proton models.
“As the automotive technologies have gone through a revolutionary change — where more car manufacturers are heading towards hybrid and electric vehicles, it is important for Malaysia to work towards this direction.
“With the likes of Volvo, stopping all internal combustion engines by 2019, Proton will need to follow suit to remain competitive in the world market,” he said.
Ong said Proton engineers will be working closely with their Chinese counterparts during the development of new models, so they can ensure quality when production of these vehicles are moved to the local carmaker’s plant in Tanjung Malim, Perak.
“They will be handling all the productions of the new models at the Tanjung Malim plant. The new plant will be equipped with advanced automotive technologies.
“ The new plant is expected to create a long supply chain, and existing Proton’s vendors and new ones (electronic) are expected to set up factories also in Tanjung Malim,” he said.
Proton is phasing out its Shah Alam plant as all production will be moved to the Perak plant.
In June, Geely and Proton had inked a definitive agreement where Geely will acquire a 49.9% stake in the national car manufacturer for RM460.3 million.