They are some company that had started from a humble beginning. In 1986, they are a company in China that had started as a refrigerator maker to selling the inexpensive product to the Chinese market. This company had become a talk of the automotive industries when they had taken over the Volvo Cars in 2010 and had revived the Volvo car and had changed completely the interior and exterior of Volvo Cars to a more futuristic design replacing the old box like shape design. Under this company, for the first time ever Volvo had produced a plug-in hybrid in the form XC 90. The company that mentioned is the Geely Auto that had risen from a humble beginning to an automotive powerhouse. Now this company had a share in the Proton and they now they had 49% share in Proton that was under DRB Hicom.
They are some negative and positive when Malaysian had heard this news but in term of business they a more positivity in this than negative. Proton that had started producing Malaysian car starting in 1983 and become the pride of Malaysian automotive when they had launched Proton Saga the first ever Malaysian made a car with the collaboration with Mitsubishi Motors. From then on Proton had created many iconic cars such Wira, Iswara, Perdana, Satria, Persona, and much more. But since the resignation of Dato Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohd Tahir who have worked as CEO in Proton from 2006 – 2012 things had really had gone to a downward spiral for Proton who had running on Malaysian tax payer money to survive on their financial loss.
With Geely 49.9 percent share, they are more positivity now. Geely with the successful turnover of the Volvo Cars, they can contribute their expertise and know-how skill on turning Proton back to profit again. The design on Volvo is far better now if compared to the previous and something can be expected in Proton too. A newly released photo of Proton SUV the first ever SUV in their production is a positive thing in term of the design for the car.
Since the takeover, Proton are no more a fully national car as they are a foreign ownership now hence the protection to Proton can be removed and it can be more competitive now in the automobile market in Malaysia. Another reason for the survival of Proton is the protection given to Proton by increasing the tax on the foreign car to nearly 200% making our car price the second most expensive in South East Asia after Singapore. Maybe the protection can be removed little by little each year hence it will be a good thing for the Malaysian automotive and our people as now they can choose their favorites car in a far better price than now if this happen.
One thing about Geely is they did not destroy the tradition and philosophy of the car that is under them. Even though they had owned Volvo but they did not destroy the philosophy of Volvo where the safety is a priority. Something can be expected on Proton as the Malaysian design of the car will not be removed but will be added with some new technologies that can be the first time for the Proton Car hence Proton car can be better in term of the design and technologies but at some time does not eliminate the Malaysian design of the car.
But for all the positivity they are some negativity too as they may be a loss of job for some of the workers in the name retrimming. When a new company had taken over and had some major share they will like to trim the workforce and in this situation, some of the workers can be expected to lose their job. And at some time as the pioneer of the Proton our own Dr. Mahathir bin Mohammad had mentioned that Proton can be better in term of design but it will not something to be proud because it is not a fully national car anymore with the Geely ownership.
Another thing that since DRB Hicom had the major share, the cronyism, nepotism, and dead woods can’t be replaced completely since they had the major share. This is one the reason for the downward spiral of the Proton sales and maybe Geely will only lend their expertise to the car production but not on the management side of the car. Maybe we can see how thing will turn out in the future for the Proton with this.
The foreign ownership of the local car is something that can’t be prevented if the company had been in a downward spiral and need something to revival. Japanese is one the country that is very staunch in the culture and they expect that the most of CEO are Japanese especially in their automotive industries but Nissan Motors broke the mold when they had appointed a non-Japanese Carlos Ghosn in 2001 to help their company from bankrupt. The results Nissan had been revived and become one of the best Japanese cars in the world.
Similarly, Rolls Royce, Bentley, and Jaguar the British made car also had been struggling but things changed when Rolls-Royce bought by BMW, Bentley by Volkswagen and Jaguar by Tata Motors. This company had revived the car without breaking their tradition and now this car had become iconic and household name again. They are many more example Lamborghini had been revived under Volkswagen Group, Volvo revived under Geely and much more.
Although they talk of patriotism and nationalism may become the voice of dissent in this takeover but the truth and the cruel truth Proton is still a business and in every business profit is the most important thing and if the company unable to make any profits and had been in downward spiral for a long year then a capable group or owners can take over to revive the company again. And in the automotive industry, the talk of nationalism and patriotism will not work if the company is making a loss for a long year as the industries are cruel enough to punish anyone who makes a loss and not profits.