In a move to get access to the models, platforms, power train and automotive technology, Proton Holdings Berhad together with its parent company DRB-HICOM Berhad had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and License Agreement (LA) to form a long term strategic collaboration and partnership with Suzuki Motor Corporation.
The auspicious ceremony saw Proton Chief Executive Officer Dato’ Abdul Harith Abdullah, DRB-HICOM Automotive Distribution and Manufacturing Chief Operating Officer Dato’ Radzaif Mohamed and Suzuki Motor Corporation Chairman ad Chief Executive Officer Osamu Suzuki, endorsing the documents witnessed by the Minister of International Trade and Industry Dato’ Sri MustaphaMohamed, Proton Chairman and former Prime Minister of Malaysia Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Ambassador of Japan to Malaysia H.E. Make Miyazawa, Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry Datul Ir Haji Hamim Samuri and DRB-HICOM Chairman and Proton Board Member Dato’ Syed Mohamad Syed Murtaza.
“Suzuki is strong for its technology and expertise in producing smaller engine segments, especially in the A and B segments categories that would compliment Proton Long Range Product Plan. We look forward to the collaborations that gives us the opportunity to tap into each other’s strengths which can result in the maximizing of volume potentials, reduction of development lead-time and expediting the time-to-market for both companies. Suzuki is a renowned global strategic partner and has presence in 13 countries operating via 19 plants. What more to say, Suzuki has also sold approximately 3 million crashers in a year globally. This is proven with its 45% market share in India for FY2014/15 through its collaboration with Maruti.” said Dato’ Harith.
He went on to say that the relationship between DRB-HICOM dates back to 1983 and that the collaboration is in line with the National Automotive Policy (NAP) as having a global automotive brand like Suzuki as a foreign strategic partner.
No other details were disclosed as the MoU signing only marks the beginning of the collaboration. However, Dato’ Harith did say that concrete plans will be made by next year on the possibilities of taking a Suzuki model to be rebadged, followed by the possibilities on a joint development of a totally new vehicle.
PROTON, DRB-HICOM AND SUZUKI INKED STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP COLLABORATION
KUALA LUMPUR, 15 June 2015 – PROTON Holdings Berhad (“PROTON”), DRB-HICOM Berhad (“DRB- HICOM”) and Suzuki Motor Corporation, Japan (“Suzuki”) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MoU”) and License Agreement (“LA”) to form a long term strategic collaboration and partnership between the three companies.
Signing on behalf of PROTON was YBhg Dato’ Abdul Harith Abdullah, Chief Executive Officer of PROTON, on behalf of Suzuki was Mr Osamu Suzuki, Chairman & CEO of Suzuki Motor Corporation, Japan whilst on behalf of DRB-HICOM was YBhg Dato’ Radzaif Mohamed, Chief Operating Officer, Automotive Distribution & Manufacturing. The event was graced by Yang Berhormat Dato’ Sri Mustapha Mohamed, Minister of International Trade and Industry, PROTON Chairman and former Prime Minister of Malaysia, the Honourable Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and His Excellency Makio Miyagawa, Ambassador of Japan to Malaysia. Also present were Yang Berhormat Datuk Ir. Haji Hamim Samuri, Deputy Minister of International Trade & Industri and YBhg Dato’ Syed Mohamad Syed Murtaza, Chairman of DRB-HICOM and a Board Member of PROTON.
The spirit of the collaboration encompasses four main areas which are products, technology, people and market. With this collaboration, it would allow PROTON to have access to the models, platforms, powertrain and automotive technology of Suzuki. Suzuki will then provide the specific technical assistance for the products and scope selected.
“Suzuki is strong for its technology and expertise in producing smaller engine segments, especially in the A and B segments categories that would complement PROTON Long Range Product Plan. We look forward to the collaboration as this gives us the opportunity to tap into each other’s strengths which can result in the maximising of volume potentials, reduction of development lead time and expediting the time-to-market for both companies. Suzuki is a renowned global strategic partner and has presence in 13 countries operating via 19 plants. What more to say, Suzuki has also sold approximately 3 million cars in a year globally. This is proven with its 45% market share in India for FY2014/15 through its collaboration with Maruti.” said Dato’ Harith.
“We are truly excited with this collaboration as the relationship between the DRB-HICOM Group, our parent company, and Suzuki has long been built, one that dates back to 1983. The technology advancement, in terms of powertrain engineering for the smaller engine segment vehicles would help complete the offerings of the different segment of vehicles for PROTON with the adoption of features and specification. This can help us meet regulatory and market requirements while we greatly reduce our R&D and production costs,” Dato’ Harith added.
“The collaboration is also in line with the National Automotive Policy (“NAP”) as PROTON continues to develop and produce products with features that meet international standards and requirements. The partnership is consistent with the NAP as having a strong and renowned global automotive player like Suzuki as the foreign strategic partner to PROTON will provide PROTON the opportunity to grow internationally leveraging on Suzuki’s presence worldwide,” continued Dato’ Harith.
“A collaborative like this is common in the automotive industry where car companies work together to reduce cost, optimise operations and realise market potentials. The first phase of the project is scheduled to start production in the next 16 months and the production will take place at the PROTON Tanjung Malim plant,” ended Dato’ Harith.
The collaboration will also see all three parties working together to rationalise Suzuki’s presence in Malaysia. Currently, Suzuki is operating through its co-owned subsidiary, Suzuki Malaysia Automobile Sdn Bhd (“SMA”). SMA is owned by DRB-HICOM (40%), Suzuki (40%), and Itochu Corporation (20%). The rationalisation is expected to be completed within one year after the signing.