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 17 Apr 2009

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Malaysia PM wants national car maker to find a suitor

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak has urged national carmaker Proton to seek a tie-up with a foreign company to ensure its survival. Najib said Proton needed to demonstrate an image of a carmaker which manufactures attractive and quality vehicles at competitive price, reported AFP.

"Proton has to become a company that is more competitive to ensure its survival in the automobile industry in the 21st century," he said late Wednesday at the launch of Proton Exora, Proton's first multi-purpose vehicle.

Najib said Proton should not reject any option amid the current global economic downturn. "All options must be considered for the national good. For this, Proton must look into having a strategic alliance to produce vehicles that are fuel-efficient and eco-friendly," he said.

The Exora features a 1.6-litre engine with four-speed automatic transmission. Proton was formed 25 years ago as part of an ambitious national industrialisation plan, but its market share has slumped in recent years.

It has also suffered from a reputation for unimaginative models and poor quality that has left it struggling to compete against Japanese and European carmakers. Talks with Volkswagen and General Motors have collapsed, reportedly over demands for a stake in Proton.





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