KUALA LUMPUR – News that China’s Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd has emerged as the foreign strategic partner for Proton augurs well for Malaysia as the partnership will place the national carmaker on a firm footing towards future growth.
This is in view that Geely has a proven track record of rescuing renowned Swedish automaker Volvo, which it bought in 2010, and sales of the Swedish brand exceeded the half a million mark within five years.
Geely can do the same for Proton, especially in maximising the capacity of its manufacturing plant in Tanjung Malim, as well pushing Proton brands onto the regional and global markets in a big way, analysts said.
Dr Azmi Hassan, a Geostrategist, expressed confidence that Proton would henceforth be on the upward growth trajectory, given Geely’s achievement in turning around Volvo and targeting sales to the tune of a million units for 2017.
Geely, which owns 100 per cent equity in Volvo, also wholly-owns the iconic London taxi Company.
“What Geely did with Volvo’s turnaround, it will do likewise with Proton (and) the Proton-Geely partnership will not only be a ‘win-win’ situation for both parties but also for Malaysia,” he told Bernama when asked to respond to news that Geely would be the FSP for Proton.
“Why would Geely acquire Proton, the only full-fledged car manufacturer in Asean if not to grow it in a region which it has got no footprint,” he said.
Proton’s parent company DRB-Hicom’s perseverance to look for a FSP to revive the national car maker to ensure its future growth is well-placed.
Yesterday, DRB-Hicom requested a suspension of its shares on Bursa Malaysia. It closed at RM1.68, pending a material announcement.
He said Proton should no longer focus on the domestic market, but make footprints in Southeast Asia and globally through Geely’s capital, as well as their proven auto expertise.
Auto Analyst Hezeri Samsuri said that besides Geely having their own successful track record, they managed to boost Volvo’s performance to be even better than when Ford owned Volvo before.
Proton’s deal with Geely translates to growth in manufacturing, new car models, transfer of technology and platforms, increased employment opportunities, and bigger orders for Malaysian vendors, he said.
He said Proton should also strive to sell the national car to the vast China’s market, given the partnership between Proton and Geely.
Another analyst requesting anonymity said a major plus point Proton derives from the partnership is that Geely is an “entrepreneur-driven” auto company and one of the few left in the world as opposed to car firms owned by state enterprises and multinationals.
Geely’s founder Li Shufu, sometimes referred to as the “Henry Ford of China,” is a self-made entrepreneur who started building cars in 1998.
Geely chalked up car sales of 1.3 million units in February last year.