PUTRAJAYA: The acquisition of a 49.9% stake in Proton by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group will bring back the “glory days” of Malaysia’s national car, said Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani.
He said the strategic business plans that were in store following the sale would help Proton emerge as a “formidable” automotive player in Malaysia and the region.
“This signing marks a significant milestone for Proton and for the country.
“Our very own and much loved brand now has a real chance at making a comeback, a huge one I hope,” said Johari at the signing ceremony of the agreement.
He said Proton was once a powerhouse but of late, it had been in a “highly challenging situation” caused by declining sales, a small Malaysian market and “cash flow constraints”.
“With a strategic partner, Proton would be able to elevate the brand value and consumer confidence, have access to the latest technology, achieve higher economies of scale and have the ability to access bigger markets beyond Malaysia.”
Partnerships in the automotive world were common, he said, citing examples such as Tata with Land Rover and Jaguar as well as BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce.
Johari also said that the sale would not affect Proton’s identity as Malaysia’s national car.
“Proton will always remain a national car and a source of pride as DRB-Hicom still holds the majority of Proton at 50.1%,” he added.
He also praised the choice of Geely Holding as Proton’s partner.
“Geely is the 100% owner of Volvo, London Taxi and Lynk and Co.
“It is among the most progressive automotive players in China and among the best in the world,” he said.
Johari also gave an assurance that the jobs of 10,000 staff of Proton, as well as vendors and dealers would not be affected following the deal.