Local assembly of the X70 will start in the later part of 2019, and it will be the first model jointly developed by Proton and Geely to be manufactured at the Tanjung Malim plant.
The first batch of agreements to be signed, ranging from joint ventures to technical assistance, will attract an initial investment of RM170 million to Malaysia. The amount is expected to multiply over the years in tandem with increases in Proton's manufacturing volume.
Investing for the future
The signing of agreements between Malaysian and overseas vendors is the first step in establishing a supplier base capable of meeting the technology and quality standards required to build the next generation of Proton cars to be jointly developed with Geely.
It is also a commitment by Proton to grow its sales locally and via export markets as Tanjung Malim is transformed into a research and development as well as production hub for right-hand drive models within the Geely Group.
To achieve this, Proton is investing RM1.2 billion in plant expansion initiatives to cater to the manufacture of all new models here in line with the strategic partnership agreement signed between Proton and Geely in 2017 to rejuvenate Proton and its model offerings.
The long-term goal is to re-establish the brand as a market leader domestically while growing its presence internationally, particularly in Asean right-hand-drive markets.
"Proton would like to urge its vendors to grab this opportunity to build partnerships with their overseas counterparts in order to reach a world standard for technology advancement and quality," said Proton chairman Datuk Seri Syed Faisal Albar.
"This will enable them to compete internationally and lead to the development of a Malaysian automotive industry vendor community that is able to compete on a global scale. The participation of Malaysian vendors is a key component to achieving the long-term goals of the company. We want Proton products that are built right here in Tanjung Malim, using (competitive) parts made in Malaysia for the domestic market as well as for our export models."
The eight collaborations in automotive component supplies to Proton are between Hubei Tri-ring Auto-electric Appliance Co Ltd and Delloyd Industries (M) Sdn Bhd; Jiangsu Xinquan Automotive Trim Co Ltd and Hicom Teck See Manufacturing Malaysia Sdn Bhd; Tianjin Bodun Electronics Co Ltd and MTV Digital Technology Sdn Bhd; SH SIIC Transportation Electric Co Ltd (STEC) and Multi-Code Electronics Industries (M) Bhd; Ningbo Xinpin Auto Parts and Delloyd Alpha Sdn Bhd; Avic Guiyang Wanjiang Aviation Electromechanical Co Ltd and Delloyd Electronics (M) Sdn Bhd; Ningbo Fushi Automotive Components Co Ltd and Proreka (M) Sdn Bhd; and Shenzhen Jiuzhou Zhuoneng Electric Co Ltd and Xenso Electronics Sdn Bhd.
Another automotive vendor from China, namely Ningbo Tuopu Vibro-acoustics Technology Co Ltd, has decided to make a solo investment in Malaysia in supplying insulation and acoustic-related parts to Proton.
About 450 new jobs are expected to be created initially as a result of these collaborations and investments.
X70 off to good start
Proton said customer response to the X70 has been encouraging with many placing bookings with a deposit of RM1,000 since the order book was opened on Sept 8.
Prior to its launch, it will be displayed at a series of customer previews designed to introduce Malaysians to Proton's first SUV.
"The X70 will feature new technology that will be new to Proton models as well as a level of luxury and quality that, together with our new 3S and 4S outlets, will elevate the brand. We are confident many Malaysians will rediscover their love for Proton models after they have experienced this new SUV," said Proton CEO Dr Li Chunrong.
The event at Proton's plant here was attended by Tanjung Malim MP Chang Lih Kang and Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin who is Perak state exco for investment and corridor development. They were hosted by Proton chairman Datuk Seri Syed Faisal Albar, Dr Li, Proton deputy CEO Datuk Radzaif Mohamed and other senior management staff of Proton and DRB-Hicom.