1. What is happening behind the scenes with Proton and Perodua? Is there a merger or not? P.S. Tan, Seremban
There are always advantages and disadvantages to any merger. From Perodua's point of view, the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages. That is why we are not in favour of it.
Although a merger may result in a bigger entity or volume, it will not solve the structural and fundamental issues of the auto industry. especially in matters relating to tool, die and mould, quality, cost , productivity/efficiency and capability of local vendors.
Also, Perodua and Proton have different philosophies, business models and work cultures.
From the engineering and technical point of view, there are many differences too. In the case of sharing of platforms, Perodua specialises in producing and manufacturing compact vehicles with the assistance of Daihatsu Motor Co Ltd of Japan while Proton is in the sedan market. There are also differences in measurement of standards specifications and processes.
On the other hand, a strategic collaboration with Proton in areas such as procurement of raw materials, vendor development and support in terms of logistics and distribution will be more meaningful. We have started discussing to collaborate.
We are sure that Proton is aware of the challenges ahead and have their own plans to move forward.
2. Some say Perodua is just a rebadged Japanese car and not one that is made in Malaysia like Proton. Your comment? K.S. Lee, Muar
One of our international shareholders is Daihatsu Motor Co Ltd, an internationally-recognised automobile giant. Since day one, we have collaborated with them as our technology and technical partner, tapping into their R&D, technology, technical and engineering expertise. Perodua's collaboration with Daihatsu includes sharing common platforms and technical expertise.
Be mindful that Perodua does not blatantly copy and paste new models but we develope new models to suit local tastes, in the areas of styling, features and also ride comfort. Perodua's models use up to 90% local parts. Our new exciting model, to be launched this month, is fully developed by Perodua with the support from Daihatsu. About 200 local engineers, designers and testers are involved.
The role of Perodua's R&D team in new models has increased significantly, currently contributing 70% in terms of upper body design capability. At the KL International Motor event held last December, we showcased our own concept car the Bezza which received rave reviews and underlines Malaysian capabilities. It's a matter of time before we roll out a 100% Malaysian automobile!
3. Where do you see Perodua in 2020? Will the subcompact segment remain relevant moving forward? Ahmad Faridz Dzulkarnain, KL
The world is moving towards compact and fuel efficient cars. There is demand for green engine technology, hence the birth of hybrid and electric cars. Many consumers in developing economies are upgrading from motorcycles to cars, especially affordable compact cars. Compact cars also offer easy parking and mobility in congested cities. Thus, I feel that compact cars will remain relevant even in 2020.
Despite introduction of hybrid and electric cars, the internal combustion engines will continue to power most vehicles for a long time as the latter gives better mileage and lower emissions.
4. What makes you especially proud to be the boss of Perodua? Lim Boon Sin, Malacca
Every morning, the drive to Perodua's headquarters at Sg Choh, takes me through various interesting scenes that remind me of how fortunate I am to be living in this country.
I am energised and yet humbled by the touching sights of ordinary folks going about their daily chores.
They remind me of Perodua's contribution to the community and in turn, their contribution, directly and indirectly to our success.
Without teamwork, Perodua would not be able to achieve what it has in such a short span - less than two decades. I am blessed to have a team of dedicated management and staff.
5. Do you sometimes feel that Perodua is treated differently from Proton in Malaysia? Brandon Jag, KL
Perception is a mind game and if you allow yourself to continuously think that you are second-rated or inferior, then eventually, it can become believable. It is unfair to compare us with Proton as our business module is different and we have our own strengths and capabilities.
Our company is testimony to successful joint ventures between Malaysian and Japanese companies, in fact, it reads as “the second automobile manufacturer of Malaysia.” We have earned our dues rightfully, with the Government extending different opportunities in the best interest of both companies.
6. What is Perodua's contribution towards the auto industry and development of Malaysia? Martin Khong, PJ
We have sold 1.9 million vehicles since 1994 and enjoyed a reasonably good market share - 31% of total units sold last year.
We are one of the country's biggest employers with 11,500 staff, and supported by an even bigger community comprising over 140 vendors and business partners. We generate socio-economic development, create jobs and help purchase local parts.
Last year alone, we purchased RM4 bil worth of parts and components from local vendors apart from providing training for them. We also export completely build up (CBU) vehicles to seven countries - Brunei, Sri Lanka, Nepal, the UK, Singapore, Fiji and Mauritius.
We export components such as intake manifold, crankshaft and cylinder blocks to Japan, Indonesia and Pakistan.
Perodua has about 140 vendors employing more than 41,500 people.
Perodua is also a proponent of the university-industry collaboration. We have donated a number of industrial robots to the several institutions of higher learning to learn about industrial automation.
One of our major corporate responsibility programme is the Perodua Eco-Challenge, where we challenge the innovativeness and engineering skills of the undergraduates.
7. What is the roadmap for the company setting environmental and emission targets in the future? Gregory Chan, KL
Perodua with the support from Daihatsu Motor, will start production of the high-tech Electronic Automatic Transmission (E-AT) system in Malaysia. While the technology is not something new, we will be the first in Malaysia to produce the E-AT system. The system, which is now incorporated in two of Perodua's current models namely Myvi and Alza, helps improve fuel consumption and smoothen gear shifting.
We will continue to work on conventional technologies while improving them. Hybrid and electric technology are far too expensive and this makes the cars expensive.
We are working on a three-stage engine development, wherein the first stage will see the introduction of a light-weight full aluminium engine that delivers high efficiency and low fuel consumption.
In the second stage, we will introduce a new generation, two-cylinder direct injection turbo with ultra-high exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) coupled with an active ignition engine that will enhance engine performance and boost fuel efficiency by 30%.
Perodua's green engine roadmap revolves around the Precious Metal-Free Liquid-Free Fuel Cell, which will be the first of its kind in Malaysia. This fuel cell system is acknowledged as the best alternative for the internal combustion engine, not needing to use precious metals and has zero-carbon emission. Hence, it is environmentally friendly and more importantly, cost effective.
8. What was the impact of the recent earthquake in Japan on your business? CH Lew, Kelantan
We experienced a slight delay in obtaining certain engine components and were forced to cut production by 11% in the early part of the second quarter However, delivery has returned to almost normal much earlier than expected. God willing, by July, we shall be able to fully recover as our vendors are already getting components from Japan and other markets.
We are positive that we will bounce back soon and maintain our top position especially with our new launch planned not too far from now.
9. There is talk that a vehicle end of life policy may be in the offing. How would you convince Malaysians, who are not among the highest income earners in the world but pay one of the highest taxes for cars, that they should change their cars more often? M. Saras, Puchong
The vehicle end of life policy is something that we should look at positively. We should learn from countries that have implemented this policy such as Japan, Australia, Germany, Singapore, the US, UK and South Korea. The reasons for the introduction of the policy include safety, environmental and economic.
From the safety point of view and road worthiness, it would make our roads safer. Average wage earners normally prolong the ownership of vehicles well after 10 years. The cost of owning a new car is high and they can't afford it. In such cases, they should take their cars for road worthy test yearly. We should start educating the public on how to maintain their vehicle.
The Government has to consider all of these before implementing the policy. Our suggestion is for it to be done in stages emphasising more on educating the public on proper maintenance of vehicles, safe driving and disadvantage of using non-genuine parts.
10. Do you see Perodua maintaining its number one position in the next five years? Tan K. Loong, KL
It was not our intention to be the number one manufacturer or seller when we started operations in 1994. What mattered most was to manufacture and sell quality compact and affordable cars to Malaysians.
We have put in place a five-year strategic road map to remain competitive and relevant post liberalisation.
What is important now is for Perodua to work even more closely with local vendors and help them to be globally competent and competitive and not just be vendors for Perodua alone.
We are working with Daihatsu to bring in reputable vendors from Japan and other countries to Malaysia, either to partner with local vendors or venture on their own. We will discuss with the Government on appropriate incentives to attract them and make Malaysia another market of choice.
Liverpool Football Club managing director IAN AYRE is no stranger to Malaysia having worked and lived in the country for a number of years and is among the architects that hope to improve the financial side of Liverpool as the club, one of the world's most famous teams, looks to regain its perch in England's top flight of football.
Liverpool will play a Malaysian selection on July 16 and if you have any questions regarding the club, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org