With DRB-Hicom and Geely still in the midst of finalising the latter’s acquisition of Proton, the completion of a business plan to turn around the struggling national carmaker is only expected to be completed by the end of 2018 – even though DRB-Hicom has stated that formulating said plan is the priority of both parties involved.

According to The Edge, group managing director Datuk Seri Syed Faisal Albar said, “We are in talks with Geely, we’ve already started working on the business plan though we still have a lot more work to do in terms of deciding on the local content and investments needed.”

He added that it will be a while before Proton is back in fit financial shape. “The turning around of Proton would take some time. It’s a journey. But what Geely would help immediately would be to reduce costs of doing business as they have the economies of scale,” Syed Faisal said.

The creation of a new business plan for Proton is part of a definitive agreement signed on June 23, in which Geely agreed to purchase a 49.9% equity stake in Proton for RM460 million. The total consideration includes an initial RM170 million cash injection, with the rest of the RM290 million being the transfer of the Geely Boyue to Proton as the basis of the latter’s first ever SUV.

Faisal remained mum on the prospect of new models in the meantime, although he did not rule them out. “For example, the Boyue SUV, we want to bring it [in] as soon as possible, but even then it will only be by the end of next year or 2019,” he said. “So a ‘turnaround’ would take time. Some of the global automakers turn around sometimes without even introducing new models, so this is something we are looking at.”

The comments came after DRB-Hicom shareholders green lighted the disposal of its stake in Proton and Lotus to Geely during an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) last week – aside from the aforementioned 49.9% stake in Proton, Geely also purchased a 51% stake in Lotus. The other 49% goes to Etika Automotive, a company owned by Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, who happens to control DRB-Hicom.