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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   25 April  2012

Proton targets Asean as key market

April 25, 2012

DRB-HICOM'S takeover of Proton Holdings promised improvements in several key factors, including transforming the national car manufacturer into a more "customer-centric" company through its new business model.

International Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Datuk Jacob Dungau Sagan told the House yesterday Proton would emerge as a competitive force in the automotive industry with high-quality products and improvements in delivery costs, in line with customers' demands.

"The Asean market is one of the best platforms for Proton to increase its overseas distribution since it has a population of 600 million people with relatively low car-ownership.

"DRB-Hicom realises Proton's potential to succeed as a leading automotive and will use Proton's 26 years of experience in vehicle design, engine development and vehicle manufacturing to create more car models."

Jacob was responding to Datuk Chi Tiang Hai's query on Proton's path after the takeover by DRB-Hicom. He said DRB-Hicom had detailed a transformation plan for Proton, which included all the business aspects.

"There are various avenues to realise the synergy between Proton and DRB-Hicom and to increase productivity of the nation's automotive industry.

"Proton will undergo a transformation plan that includes developments of vendor components, spare parts, logistics and distributors.

"Proton will be more competitive globally with greater access to international standards and market.

"We are also looking at gradually reducing its reliance on the government as a national car company," Jacob said, adding that the automotive industry played a crucial part in accelerating the country's growth into a developed nation by 2020.

Responding to a question by Chiew Lian Keng on Proton's performance, Jacob said Proton posted a loss of RM84 million in the third quarter of the 2011/2012 financial year because of a significant decrease in sales at the end of last year.

"The sales was lower compared to the previous quarters as most customers chose not to buy a new car at the end of the year."

Jacob added that customer demand on different Proton models were found to be different than the initial marketing and some changes were needed.

A statement released by the Malaysia Automotive Association revealed that car sales from October to December last year decreased to 0.9 per cent compared with the previous financial year quarterly results.

"There were only 149, 839 cars sold during the third quarter compared with 153, 041 cars sold in the previous quarter."

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   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.

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