Proton Holdings Berhad has just appointed a new board member today – Mr Behara Venkata Rama Subbu, also known as BVR Subbu in short. 56 year old BVR Subbu has vast automotive industry experience, notably for his leadership in Hyundai Motors India where he last served as President. Before that, he was attached to Tata Administrative Services from 1978 to 1996 where he formulated various strategies in the areas of marketing, sales, service, spare parts and vehicle finance.

After 9 years in Hyundai Motors India, BVR Subbu left to take on advisory roles in several automotive outfits based in India. He also currently holds a directorship in Avasarala Technologies Ltd, a specialised component and module manufacturer. As you can probably guess by now, BVR Subbu’s appointment should have something to do with an effort to enter the huge Indian market that cannot be ignored for any upcoming automaker these days. He knows the ins and outs of the Indian automotive market and his experience will be valuable.

“BVR Subbu’s extensive experience in the Indian automotive market will be valuable in our plans to expand our business in India. With BVR Subbu on our Board, the Company is now more equipped in its effort to focus on PROTON’s long term export strategy, particularly in the ASEAN, China and India markets,” said Proton chairman Dato’ Nadzmi.

The appointment of BVR Subbu could be linked to the previously rumoured talks between Proton and Argentum Motors. We found out back in February 2008 through Indian media that Proton was talking to Argentum Motors about contract manufacturing or sourcing of components. Subbu is one of the entrepreneurs behind Argentum Motors.

Argentum has a plant in Surajpur, Uttar Pradesh, a state in northern India, which it acquired from GM Daewoo. Argentum’s business model is similar to that of Magna. Magna makes components but also manufactures the whole car for other companies. However, Argentum Motors has yet to seal a deal with anyone, with the latest potential customer being GM (who owned Argentum’s plant in the first place) in a deal related to the Chevrolet Tavera.