Wednesday, 24 August 2016
SHAH ALAM: Proton Holdings Bhd is working closely with the Government’s Task Force Committee and is on track to identify a strategic partner within the stipulated deadline next year, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said.
“Proton will get a strategic partner within the next few months,” Mustapa said, addressing questions regarding the future of the national car company. He was officiating at the launch of the new Persona model yesterday.
Part of the conditions for the soft loan granted to Proton was to find a strategic partner.
Proton, wholly-owned by diversified conglomerate DRB-Hicom Bhd, needs a strategic and renowned partner that will assist in the company’s research and development and help it become a global player.
DRB-Hicom group managing director Datuk Seri Syed Faisal Albar, also Proton chairman, reiterated that DRB-Hicom would not sell its entire stake in Proton once a strategic partner had been found, contrary to recent media reports that it would.
“We won’t sell all of Proton. We will keep a substantial stake in the company,” he said.
Mustapa said despite falling sales, new model launches like the new Persona will help boost Proton’s market share.
“Proton has not been doing well because it has not been able to launch new models. But this year will be a good year,” he said.
Proton has been losing market share year after year. According to statistics by the Malaysian Automotive Association, its market share dropped to 13% on sales of 35,727 units in the first half of 2016, compared with a market share of 15.6% and 50,205 units sold in the previous corresponding period.
The company will be launching the new Saga next month, followed by a multi-purpose vehicle in October (the first product of the joint venture with Suzuki).
Proton chief executive officer Ahmad Fuaad Kenali said having new models will help to give Proton an advantage, adding that the company aims to sell between 3,000 units and 4,000 units of its newly launched Persona per month.
With that target, Ahmad Fuaad said the company expects to break-even investments for the model within the next two to three years.
“Based on the recent media preview, feedback for the car has been positive.”
He said the car will compete in the B-segment and would not cannibalize sales of its Saga model, which the company plans to launch next month.
“It will be unique (being a B-segment vehicle) as it will be cheaper than foreign brands but slightly expensive than the Saga. Besides, we have been running the Saga and Persona models before, so it won’t cannibalize sales of our Saga.”
Mustapa said the new Persona was the cheapest 1.6-litre model in South-East Asia. Available in three variants and six colours, the new Persona starts from RM46,800 to RM59,800 in peninsular Malaysia.
Since the launch of the original model in 2007, some 250,000 units have been sold both locally and worldwide.
Source by: The Star Online