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back to index backASIAtalk June,  2017


Chinese automakers launch a global offensive via emerging Asia

Success at home counts for little when it comes to challenging established players abroad

To get an idea of just how dramatically Asia's auto industry is changing, one need only look at Southeast Asia and India, where Chinese newcomers are looking to make inroads even as traditional heavyweights bow out.

Take the recent surprise out of Malaysia.

On May 24, DRB-Hicom announced that it will sell a 49.9% stake in Proton Holdings, the maker of Malaysia's "national car," to Zhejiang Geely Holding Group of China. The Malaysian automotive conglomerate had spent nearly a year searching for a foreign partner to help turn the long-struggling Proton around before settling on Geely, which also owns Volvo Cars of Sweden.

Syed Faisal Albar, DRB-Hicom's group managing director, and Geely Holding Group chief financial officer Li Donghui attended a signing ceremony in Putrajaya, Malaysia. "We understand that Proton is very much loved by Malaysians," Li said, promising to retain the Proton badge. He then revealed an ambitious plan for the company: to nearly quadruple annual production capacity to 3 million vehicles by 2020, of which 500,000 will be made in Malaysia.

Not everyone was happy with the news. Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said he shed tears over the sale of the carmaker he founded in 1983. "I am sad," he wrote in a blog on May 25. "Proton can no longer be national ... my child is lost."

OUT OF THE SHADOW The auto markets of Southeast Asia and India have long been overshadowed by China's, the world's biggest, but their rapid expansion is now making them the center of global attention.

To read entire article, please click here.

Source: Nikkei Asian Review - GAI






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