Proton urged to set up factory
Published on: Sunday, August 25, 2019
By: Neil Chan
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KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd  Shafie Apdal urged Proton – which pioneered the local car making industry in Malaysia and recently teamed up with China’s Geely – to set up a plant in the State in view of its geographical advantage in the region. 

 “Shah Alam is far from Japan, China, Hongkong and the (new) capital of Indonesia in Kalimantan (East Kalimantan). The (new) Indonesian capital will have massive investment in the region where hundreds of billions will be invested.

“Sabah too is set to have an international harbour in Kudat and it will indirectly make Sabah the most suitable state to put up a factory for turning out Proton cars.

“So I encourage the Chief Executive Officer of Proton Dr Li Chunrong to set up your car assembly in Sabah. This is the right spot. If we are able to capitalise (on this) then we will have a good number of people here who would be employed in Sabah. 

“They have the skill and the desire to work hard. We are also going to build technical schools in Sabah.  We are moving forward and are going to set up a few institutions including technical colleges to ensure we have enough skilled youths for industry in the State,” he said, adding that with the increasing sales, he was confident Proton could also capture a large segment of the Malaysian market.

 Shafie was speaking at the launching of Fook Loi Corporation (Sabah) Sdn Bhd’s first Proton flagship 4S Centre in Malaysia at Metro town, Saturday. 

 Present were Li, the directors of Fook Loi and senior management members of Proton. 

 Shafie said the Sabah was more suited for four wheel drive vehicles. “Not Kuala Lumpur or Singapore. You can see out of 10 vehicles (on the road) many are 4-Wheel Drive vehicles and MPVs.”     

 Thus, he was confident that Fook Loi can exceed their allocated target sales of 300 cars per month.

“This because in Sabah some own even up to five cars in the home for their family.”

“If you can produce a niche market which caters to the needs of the people, I’m quite sure you can sell more Proton cars. What is most important is the quality of the car where it needs to be durable, long lasting, affordable and have consumer-friendly features.”

Shafie noted that many car manufacturers are struggling with sales in international markets. 

 Thus, it was important also for car brands to listen to customer feedback and continue to offer value to them in order to succeed in the long run. He hoped the Proton brand can also one day be comparable to other well established international car brands.

Since the Proton-Geely partnership was signed in October 2017, improvements can be seen in a number of areas.  Starting with the launch of the Proton X70 on Dec. 12, 2018, Proton revamped its entire model range resulting in a steady increase in market share. 

 The Company’s overall market share now stands at 15pc for 2019 on the back of 52,269 units sold, a jump of 47pc over the corresponding period in 2018. 

 Li said Proton has also increased the number of its 3S and 4S outlets. “Early in its rebranding efforts Proton realised that in order to capture and expand its consumer base it needed to have sufficient outlets to cater to their needs. 

“Ideally, outlets would be spacious, comfortable, pleasing to the eye and have facilities to keep customers happy like free WiFi, a kids’ corner, ample parking space and a coffee area. Equally important, the outlet would have well trained sales and service staff who can provide a high quality customer experience. 

“These may seem like simple requirements, but they are critical ones. When customers walk into our showroom or service centre, they would like to be greeted by smiling faces and a beautifully lit area. This will then set the tone for more meaningful conversations and customers will feel welcomed and appreciated. 

“Since outlets are our first point of contact, numerous steps have been taken to ensure that a wholesome experience starts here. These efforts have paid off. Our sales have been on an increasing trend and with our new products, we are confident that we are on track for the company’s return to profitability,” he said.

For Thomas Chiu Kui Yin, Group Executive Director of Fook Loi, the decision to become a Proton dealer was an easy one. 

“Deciding to become a Proton dealer was not difficult because we see the potential for Proton in Sabah. The current range of Proton models is highly competitive and technologically advanced with features that appeal to the new generation of buyers,” he said. 


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