ASIA NEWS NETWORK
WE KNOW ASIA BETTER
M'sian carmaker Proton to restructure
Publication Date : 01-05-2014
Malaysian carmaker Proton Holdings Bhd, which confirmed Abdul Harith Abdullah as its chief executive officer, will be undergoing a restructuring of its operations and start rationalising its export programme that will centre on its cars and markets.
Its chairman Khamil Mohd Jamil, in responding to backlash over a report that questioned why Malaysians were not supportive of Proton, commented that the company was appreciative of public support and was committed to delivering a car that Malaysians wanted.
“Those comments were taken out of context. We are appreciative of support from the public, without which Proton will not be where it is now,” he said after a ceremony to send two graduates from its International College of Automotive (ICAM) to a Volkswagen plant in Portugal for training.
“We want to give people a car that they want.”
In speaking broadly about Proton, Khamil hinted that part of the restructuring process would centre on improving the quality and safety of the cars that Proton made.
Khamil said that over the past two years since DRB-Hicom Bhd took control of Proton, much effort had been spent on lifting the quality of the cars it made by cutting down on the number of defects and improving its safety.
To that end, Khamil said there were fewer complaints about Proton cars than before.
“Because of the perception of certain aspects of Proton before, we are receptive to suggestions and views from the public,” he said.
“We will be working towards changing the perception of Proton to one where Proton is a good car and, change the minds and hearts of the public towards our cars.”
Khamil said the management team would continue to look to review the product, quality, cost, delivery and safety.
He said Proton would continue to look at the export markets but it was a competitive landscape the national carmaker would be facing.
Khamil said Proton would thus need to make the car affordable and competitive.
“It will be a holistic plan that will look at the product and markets. We will need to implement that plans and we cannot ignore China,” he said.
“Proton needs to prove it can compete with international OEMs (original equipment manufacturers).”
Khamil said the stint for graduates of ICAM would be extended to its other partners in Japan and Europe. “The idea is to send more graduates to plants overseas for training,” he added.
He said the company hoped the graduates would return with the knowledge and experience and share them with other people in DRB-Hicom’s plant in Pekan.
“It’s a good milestone for students at ICAM and they will be exposed to international standards,” he said.
ICAM is hopeful that it can fulfil criteria to obtain university status by the end of the year.