Now that DRB-Hicom is in control of Proton, what’s in store for the national carmaker? A report by Business Times details the changes that will happen in terms of cost cutting and efficiency, trimming “excess fat” currently carried by Proton. The reporter quoted unnamed “sources close to the deal”.
For starters, no large scale staff retrenchment is expected, although some changes in the top management are predicted to happen. DRB-HICOM wants to turn Proton into a serious regional player within three years, before becoming a global player two years from that point. The conglomerate will also strengthen Proton’s vendor and dealer network, while improving staff skills by leveraging on its International College of Automotive (ICAM) in Pahang.
“There will be zero lay-off as the immediate focus is on the low-hanging fruits at Proton. The group will trim any excess fat in product planning, consultancy contracts and third-party service providers, among others,” their sources said.
An example is the storage of Proton cars at a third-party site in Sijangkang, Selangor. “The group does not think it is necessary to farm out this logistic service as Proton cars can be distributed to dealers and branches efficiently by using a good IT infrastructure. A lot of money can be saved from this,” they added.
When it comes to costs, Lotus is sure to crop up. Now that DRB-Hicom is in control, what is in store for Proton’s sports car subsidiary? The British brand is currently in a cost consuming revamp from niche specialist sports car maker to a Porsche challenging brand, led by CEO Dany Bahar, who is fresh from signing a four-year contract last month.
“If Lotus continues to ride on Proton, it will be cancerous, it will be like a parasite. Hence, it requires a review so that it can stand alone and be successful, perhaps like what Audi is to its parent Volkswagen AG,” BT’s sources said, adding that the review will focus on Lotus’ involvement in motorsports sponsorships, especially in F1.
If this report is accurate, there is sure to be plenty of boardroom battles in Proton, in the near future.