No more rebadging, says Proton

15 Jan 2014 / 05:41 H.

KOTA KINABALU (Jan 15, 2014): Proton Holdings Bhd will stop rebadging vehicles in the immediate future as the practice does not feature in its business of developing car models, its chairman Tan Sri Mohd Khamil Jamil said.
"I said it before, Proton will not rebadge," Khamil, who is managing director of DRB-Hicom Bhd, the parent of the national car maker, told a press conference here on Monday during the DRB-Hicom media trip to Sabah 2014.
He insisted that the new Perdana model presented to the Government recently was not rebadging per se.
"What the management of Proton have done, was something that has gone beyond rebadging. Rebadging is where you take a car and you rebadge it, that's it. Then when a new model comes in, you take another car and bring it to rebadge again," he said.
Proton, via its strategic collaboration with Honda, will start production of the Perdana replacement model for supply to the government, with about 3,000 units to be produced initially.
However, he said Proton had to start from "somewhere", including rebadging, in order to move into the next innovative phase, where it has the ability to develop its own new car.
Platform sharing, he said, is a common practice as all original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) do it.
"Rebadging is something required by the automotive industry for room for improvement further. We can have exchange of models, adding on to the models, but it is not entirely and purely rebadging," Khamil reiterated.
On another note, Khamil admitted that Proton is off target to reclaim the domestic leading position from Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd (Perodua) in the near future, adding that the company need another two to three years to achieve the target.
"To be honest, we are still way off. I had put a target, but the management was unable to reach the target. We are working very hard. This is not about the lack of trying, but difficult to work against the market perception on Proton," he said.
Nevertheless, Khamil said, the management team of Proton will go for more branding activities to make sure that its market share will improve.
"In the next two to three years, with the new models coming in, there is a chance," he said.
Proton is slated to introduce its global small car in April this year, as well as a series of new launches for the export markets, Khamil added.
Under a five-year business plan, which is in its first year of implementation, Proton is targeting to sell 500,000 cars every year by 2017/2018, with profit before tax potentially at about RM1 billion.
On the upcoming National Automotive Policy (NAP), Khamil said DRB-Hicom has submitted its wish list to the government but he refused to make any comment at this juncture before the revised policy is announced.
"I do not want to comment on the NAP because the government will announce it very soon. There will be some differentiation between the current policy and the new policy. We have submitted our wish list to the government and we hope that it will be incorporated in the NAP," he said.

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