2016 Proton Perdana 1

According to a Nikkei Asian Review report, Proton is in discussion with several foreign partners who may be interested to purchase a stake in the national carmaker, as part of its turnaround plan. Previously, Mitsubishi Motors had a stake in Proton, which was then sold off in March 2004, marking an end of its 22-year investment in Proton.

“We want a partner with an equity share in Proton,” said Madani Sahari, CEO of the Malaysia Automotive Institute. He added that several global original equipment manufacturers (OEM) have submitted their proposals, and Proton is currently reviewing them.

The national carmaker recently received a soft loan of RM1.5 billion from the government, which came with several conditions that need to be met, including the need to identify a foreign partner. Additionally, a strategic plan to increase its share of the domestic market, as well as to penetrate into international markets, is also required.

A task force, led by Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) CEO Datuk Seri Idris Jala, was set up to oversee the company’s turnaround plans, which also includes the closing of its Shah Alam plant, consolidating all its production to Tanjung Malim. Both plants are now running at about one-third of their 350,000-unit annual capacity, according to the report.

The newly-launched Perdana is just one of the models that is part of Proton’s plans to reclaim its lost market share, which currently hovers at just 13%. In the coming months of 2016, the carmaker will look to bolster its product range with the introduction of the new Persona (August), Saga (September) and Ertiga-based MPV in October.