Proton Suzuki MOU_ 010

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Licence Agreement was signed today between Proton Holdings Bhd, Suzuki Motor Corporation and DRB-Hicom for the production of motor vehicles, and under the licence agreement, a model between Proton and Suzuki.

In attendance were Proton CEO Datuk Abdul Harith Abdullah, Suzuki chairman and CEO Osamu Suzuki, DRB-Hicom automotive distribution and manufacturing COO Datuk Radzaif Mohamed, MITI minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, Proton chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Japanese ambassador to Malaysia Makio Miyagawa.

The collaboration will allow Proton access to Suzuki’s models, platforms, powertrain and automotive technology, while the Japanese carmaker will provide specific technical assistance for the selected products and scope.

“We in Proton of course look forward to acquiring the skills and technology of Suzuki Motor and we will be able to benefit from this understanding and cooperation with Suzuki Motor,” said Mahathir.

“Proton is very keen to work with acquired tech from other manufacturers. This is one of our attempts to enhance the performance of Proton,” the former PM added.

“The technology advancement, in terms of powertrain engineering for the smaller engine segment vehicles, would help complete the offerings of the different segment of vehicles for Proton with the adoption of features and specifications.

“This can help us meet regulatory and market requirements while we greatly reduce our R&D and production costs,” Harith said, adding that the project’s first phase is set to start production in the next 16 months at the Tanjung Malim plant.

“As part of the National Automotive Policy (NAP) we have suggested that it is good for Proton to identify a strategic foreign partner. It is my wish that (Suzuki) is a partner that will be able to propel Proton to greater heights,” said Mustapa.

Suzuki, of course, is known for making compact cars – since Proton already has a B-segment competitor in the Iriz, could it be looking at an A-segment city car here to take the fight to the Perodua Axia?

UPDATE: Tun Dr Mahathir has announced that the details of the agreement have not been worked out yet, but will involve specifically compact and small cars from Suzuki up to 1.0 litre that are not currently sold in Malaysia, in a segment where Proton is currently not present in. He also confirms that the Tanjung Malim plant will be utilised in the collaboration, and the first product could surface in 2016.