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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        3  March 2011

Nissan tie-up could help Proton

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Proton Holdings Bhd's endeavor to incorporate select technologies and manufacturing expertise from Nissan Motor Co could lead to potential cost savings in capital expenditure and research and development (R&D) for the national carmaker.

OSK Research said the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed on Tuesday between Proton and Nissan to conduct feasibility studies to use the latter's platform and power train for upcoming Proton models would augur well for the national car company.

OSK said there was a strong possibility that the power train and platform would be for Proton's global compact car, Emas.

Slated for launch between 2012 and 2013, the report said it was also rumoured that the power train and platform for the Emas could potentially be the same one used by Nissan March or Micra models.

“We believe that using Nissan's versatile platform and power train for Proton's upcoming global compact car will lighten the national carmaker's capex burden, given that such an endeavour can be costly (at least US$150mil to US$200mil),” OSK said in a report yesterday.

R&D costs can also be trimmed by developing a car on an existing model platform compared with coming up with a new model from the ground up.

In a statement yesterday, Proton said the feasibility study with Nissan would focus purely on technology sharing and in the pursuit of global competitiveness.

“It significantly reduces the time required to develop new products, extends tremendous cost savings in terms of development, and provides greater flexibility in being able to spin off a variety of vehicles from a common set of components,” said Proton group managing director Datuk Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir in the statement.

He said the collaboration would help accelerate the launch of Proton's next generation of vehicles and models that were being designed to appeal to a more diverse and broader market segment, both domestically and abroad.

The feasibility studies will commence from the date of the signing of the MoU and end on April 30.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

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