Proton Holdings Berhad, DRB-HICOM Berhad and Suzuki Motor Corporation has signed a Memorandum of Understanding and License Agreement to work on a long term collaboration and partnership.
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 and CEO of Suzuki Motor Corporation, Japan whilst YBhg Dato’ Radzaif Mohamed signed on behalf of DRB-HICOM. The event was also attended by Yang Berhormat Dato’ Seri Mustapha Mohamed, Minister of International Trade and Industry, Proton Chairman and Former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Mahathir Mohamed and his Excellency Makio Miyagawa, Ambassador of Japan to Malaysia. Deputy Minister of International Trade & Industry Yang Berhormat Datuk Ir. Haji Hamim Samuri and YBhd Dato’ Syed Mohamed Syed Murtaza, Chairman of DRB-HICOM was also present at the MoU event.
The collaboration between Proton, Suzuki and DRB-HICOM will focus on products, technology, people and market. Through this collaboration, Proton will have access to models, platforms, powertrains and automotive technology of Suzuki. Suzuki will also be providing technical assistance for the products and scope selected.
YBhg Dato’ Abdul Harith Abdullah said, “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 collaborations this gives us the opportunity to tap into each other’s strengths which can result in the maximizing of volume potentials, reduction of development leadtime 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.”
“We are truly excited with this collaboration as the relationship between 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 specifications. This can help us meet regulatory and market requirements while we greatly reduce our R&D and production costs,” he added.
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 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. Dato Harith also mentions that “collaborations like this is common in the automotive industry where companies work together to reduce cost, optimize operations and realize market potentials”.
All three parties will work together to rationalize Suzuki’s presence in Malaysia. At the moment, Suzuki is operating through its co-owned subsidiary, Suzuki Malaysia Automobile Sdn Bhd (SMA). SMA is owned by DRB-Hicon (40%), Suzuki (40%) and Itochu Corporation (20%). Rationalisation is expected to be finalized within a year after the signing.