It was previously reported that Proton would not downsize its workforce following its deal with Geely, and its new vice president of manufacturing, Yoshiya Inamori, has echoed this plan.

During a brief interview, the former Mitsubishi man stated there were no plans to reduce the number of staff, even if production volume is low. To meet cost-cutting measures, quality improvements, better suppliers and more efficient processes will be implemented instead.

“The volume is not the issue… If the volume goes up, we hire more people; if the volume comes down, we stop hiring people. The most important thing is the production volume is stable within a year.”

“If production volume fluctuates, some months we need to produce many cars, some are low, then we must keep the number of people for high volume,” he said. In fact, should there be redundant staff, Inamori said he would recommend to Geely to have them undergo training.

“Actually, I’m not planning to reduce the number of people because our volume has been on the low side, and also, with Geely, if I see some people are redundant… If I request, Geely might accept for (people to be trained) at Geely.”

“In Proton, we have many experienced people, 40 years, 50 years age, and young people. But the middle-aged is less, and how to train young people is another task for me. So, if I see some people can go somewhere, I will ask Geely to accept them for training,” he explained.

He added that the number of Proton employees relative to the number of cars sold is still reasonable. According to the latest internal sales data, Proton shifted 5,083 cars; the company has a workforce totalling 9,600 personnel.

Inamori also cited his experience while working in Russia, where he had to reduce the number of employees due to unexpected economic sanction resulting from the Ukranian Crisis in 2014, which reduced the plant’s output volume. He said that for Malaysia, such a move is not necessary.