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Proton, Honda Still In Talks To Explore Collaboration

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KUALA LUMPUR – Proton Holdings Bhd (Proton Holdings) and  Honda Motor Co. Ltd (Honda Motor) are currently engaged in a series of meetings to explore the possibility of collaborating in the field of technology enhancement, new product lines and sharing of platform and facilities.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said it would signal a long-term strategic collaboration which would involve more Proton engineers and local automotive vendors in a technical collaboration that would meet customer satisfaction.

“In tandem with Proton’s aspiration to produce high-quality and high-technology new models, the meetings will, among others, touch on  platform sharing, which is the methodology used now in the automotive industry.

“This new development model is expected to help Proton save millions in investment and development time for a new model,” he said in reply to a question from Dr Che Rosli Che Mat (BN-Hulu Langat) at the Dewan Rakyat here today.

Che Rosli asked whether Proton was going to collaborate with Honda as a business partner in rolling out a new model since the current Proton Perdana was 100 per cent based on the eight generation Honda Accord.

Mustapa said Proton started manufacturing of the Proton Perdana in  January 1995 but production ceased in 2010, among other, because of obsolete technology, inadequate safety features and difficulty in sourcing spare parts.

“To meet the demand for D segment cars, Proton introduced the new Proton Perdana. For the first phase (December 2013-2015), this model is only introduced for use as government vehicles,” he said.

For the public sector, Mustapa said the Perdana model would be introduced in 2016, adding that an agreement was signed between Proton and Honda on Oct 29 2012, which was then followed by a specific agreement for a replacement Proton Perdana model.

“Based on this agreement, development activities for a new Proton Perdana was based on the previous Honda Accord model,” he said.

To date, Proton has produced 1,000 units of the 2,000 cc Proton Perdana and 700 units of the 2,400 cc variant.

“The 2,400 cc variant is for the use of ministers, local government and JUSA A officers and above,” he added.

To a another question on whether Proton can maintain its current low prices, Mustapa said the government does not interfere in pricing as Proton was a private car company owned by DRB-HICOM.

However, he said the ministry would also monitor the industry although Proton had the final say in determining prices.

To a supplementary question from Bung Mokhtar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan), Mustapa said Malaysia had several locally manufactured car brands like Proton Iriz. The car’s engine is developed by a Malaysian.

“Proton adopted this collaborative approach as it was a cheaper business model. If it had gone on its own to develop and invent its own car, it would have required capital injection of between US$500 million and US$2 billion.

“It would have entailed a longer period and incurred higher costs. As such, it is much cheaper to adopt the technology and facilities of an international repute company like Honda,” he added. – BERNAMA

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