Malaysian auto major Proton looking for Indian partners

February 25th, 2008 - 7:13 pm ICT by admin  

Kuala Lumpur, Feb 25 (IANS) Malaysian auto major Proton Holdings Bhd is looking for partners for manufacture and distribution of its cars in India. Proton is focusing its sights on India, which is seen as another high growth market for its products, having successfully made inroads into Iran, China, Indonesia and recently, Thailand.

The firm was planning to finalise its strategy for exports to India in the first half of this year, said Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir, managing director of Proton.

He said the strategy would be similar to the one in China where Proton worked with local partners to set up manufacturing and distribution facilities for Proton cars.

“We are looking for partners with experience in the manufacture and distribution of vehicles, besides having car design capabilities and localisation,” he told the Star newspaper.

Syed Zainal added that Proton was looking for parties in the auto industry in India to complement it.

“The parties involved would get our products to use, sell and fill up capacity,” he said, adding that the Indian market was expanding due to a big boost in demand for cars.

Syed Zainal targets the B and C class ranges of Proton cars such as the Saga and Persona for the Indian market.

He added that its network in the Thai market was expanding and Proton had delivered more than 300 cars, mainly the Savvy model, to customers.

“The Thai market likes Savvy’s performance and fuel efficiency,” he said.

Proton is also expanding its market in Iran where it plans to set up assembly plants for completely knocked-down units of Wira and Gen2.

“We are also delivering the second shipment of Waja taxis to this market,” he said.

In China, Proton cars are being registered and in the midst of delivery.

“Gen2 models are doing very well as the Chinese market likes the styling of the car. We are sending another shipment of 600 cars of this model there,” he said.

In Indonesia, Proton was focusing on dealer network expansion, said Syed Zainal.

Proton recently reported a strong domestic order book, driven by the new Saga and Persona.

Its recent turnabout performance on the domestic front, coupled with the impact of its export plans to China, Iran and ASEAN countries, as well as its cost reduction initiatives, has helped improve the carmaker’s financial performance in recent times.

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