The news that all bidders in the running to be Proton’s foreign strategic partner (FSP) are still present and accounted for indicates that many parties want to take the Malaysian automaker to the global market, according to geostrategist Azmi Hassan, as told to Bernama.

A range of details need to be “thrashed out” at this stage of negotiations between DRB-Hicom, the owner of Proton, and the foreign bidders, he said. “Ensuring the leap for Proton from a local player to a global market brings into play many dimensions such as technology, platforms, new models and much higher volume manufacturing,” Azmi told Bernama.

Azmi’s comments come after DRB-Hicom group managing director’s announcement that all automakers that submitted a bid are still present, denying reports that Proton is now left with just one international bidder, following news of Geely pulling out of its bid. The other automaker is Groupe PSA.

Azmi believs that the RM1.5 billion soft loan Proton received from the Malaysian government had hefty conditions attached to it, including the relocation of all manufacturing to a central hub in Tanjung Malim, according to the report. He also added that Geely was just a domestic brand in its native China, until it purchased Volvo which allowed it to double its earnings.

“On top of this, Geely’s net profit surged by 126%, its biggest profit growth in eight years, and its share price has trebled over the past 12 months. And under Geely, Volvo has had a resurgence in selling cars globally compared to previously. On top of that, the China car maker also bought the London Taxi Co and their line-up of cars in China are actually world class, as much as PSA of France is big and is a strong contender for Proton,” continued Azmi.

It is very crucial that Proton has a foreign strategic partner that has a solid business model and a vast market, as it would otherwise be very difficult for Proton to further expand into the Asian market, he said.

“It is also very important for Proton to decide on its partner without any political pressure. It should only be based on a commercially correct decision,” he added, also saying that Proton’s future partner should be decided on a win-win basis, and that all sides ought to lend support to the partnership.