The first Proton car following the national car maker’s tie-up with Geely will enter the market by end-2018 or early 2019, reported Bernama.
Second International Trade and Industry Malaysia Minister, Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan said currently, Proton and Geely are concentrating on the establishment of a plant in Tanjung Malim, Perak, which is set to be the principal and pioneer automotive factory in the country to implement the new manufacturing technology under the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0).
Geely will facilitate Proton in terms of technology and at the same time assemble its four-wheel drive model, intelligent artificial car and develop their right hand drive (RHD) technology in Malaysia.
Ong said the introduction of the new model could take less than five years, the time frame for the completion of the plant in Tanjung Malim.
Under the agreement between Proton Holdings Bhd’s parent, DRB-Hicom Bhd and Chinese carmaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, Proton is granted the licence to manufacture, sell, market and distribute identified Geely platform vehicles under the ‘Proton’ brand name in Malaysia for a period of five years.
This will also open the doors for Geely to enter the Southeast Asia market (SEA).
The agreement is said to be a win-win situation for both companies as Proton gains the right to manufacture and distribute Geely’s Boyue sport utility vehicle (SUV), which would drive Proton’s sales volume particularly in the SUV segment in which it does not have a presence.
Through this partnership, the government has targeted the production of about 280,000 units of cars for the China and Southeast Asian markets.
Ong said the automotive market in Malaysia is small, where last year’s sales of various brands recorded 580,000 units compared to China at 28 million units, and China will assist the country in securing one percent of that amount.
“Geely can provide the support from the aspect of outstanding research as we need a big change; at present, all the automotive companies are racing to produce fully self-driven cars.
“So, Geely with Proton needs to build a plant here in the next five years, and when ready, cars will enter the China and Southeast Asian markets with the latter being an important destination with a population of 600 million,” he said.
He added that the manufacturing of Proton cars would still be at Tanjung Malim, with a bigger production maintained at Shah Alam, Selangor, and Tanjung Malim will also witness a major change when new jobs are expected to be created in the near future, resulting from the economic spillover in the district.
“We are taking the opportunity to plan for the construction of an electronics plant in Tanjung Malim as cars use a lot of electronics.
“What is important is that it will open up more job opportunities for the youths, so that they need not migrate to the big cities,’ said Ong.