Malaysia’s Proton Eyes Chinese Partner for ASEAN Car

International Trade and Industry Minister Ong Ka Chuan says a partnership would allow Malaysia to leverage China’s R&D capabilities and help the automaker come up with a competitive model for the ASEAN market.

Alan Harman, Correspondent

October 7, 2015

2 Min Read
Saga topselling model for No2 automaker Proton
Saga top-selling model for No.2 automaker Proton.

The Malaysian government says national automaker Proton may partner with one or more Chinese car companies for its ASEAN car project and likely will roll out its first product in 20 months.

International Trade and Industry Minister Ong Ka Chuan tells a news conference Proton is in negotiations with automakers in China, including Geely.

“Things are moving positively,” Ong says in a report published by the government’s Bernama news agency. “They say they need 20 months from now to build a plant and roll out the first car.”

Ong says the partnerships will allow Malaysia to leverage China’s R&D capabilities, thus improving Proton cars and helping the company come up with a competitive model for the ASEAN market.

The regional automotive sector offers significant potential, given the large population, expanding middle class and strong purchasing power, he says.

ASEAN consists of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

“We must act fast to capture the market,” Ong says. “If we can produce cars to cater to this market, it will be highly beneficial, given the various regional free-trade agreements.”

Meantime, the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Assn. is looking to ASEAN countries to create export opportunities for Australian automotive-component and aftermarket-parts manufacturers.

With the Economist Intelligence Unit predicting ASEAN sales will rise from 3.6 million now to 5.3 million in the next five years, the Australians are looking to the region to keep them in business.

With Australian vehicle manufacturing coming to a conclusion in a little more than two years, the association recently led a 5-day mission with nine parts makers to Indonesia and Thailand focused on collecting market data, researching local supply chains and building links with key decision makers.

“Local businesses now supplying Australian car makers – which will close by the end of 2017 – must urgently diversify and engage with the international market, association Executive Director Stuart Charity says in a statement.

“Thailand and Indonesia are important markets for original equipment and aftermarket parts, with a rising number of 4WD vehicles and a high demand for quality parts that Australia can supply.”

About the Author(s)

Alan Harman

Correspondent, WardsAuto

Subscribe to a WardsAuto newsletter today!
Get the latest automotive news delivered daily or weekly. With 5 newsletters to choose from, each curated by our Editors, you can decide what matters to you most.

You May Also Like