Proton is continuing to invite its dealers to visit the Geely Research Institute (GRI) in Hangzhou Bay in China, in order to get a feel for how the national carmaker’s new foreign strategic partner was researching and developing new technologies. Three more dealership owners made the trip in early March and, needless to say, they were just as impressed as those before them.

“From what I gather after the visit to the GRI, we could see that Geely takes into account every single detail,” said Munauwir Mohd Khir from Edaran Saga. “From planning to execution, careful thought is being put in place to ensure a smooth process. Everything is done in a controlled manner and the processes are in order. I also observed that they follow stringent rules, and regulations that are adhered to, so this is very good.”

He added that he was impressed with Geely’s technological prowess as well. “It takes a good car manufacturer to have a big vision for the company – not only developing cars with advanced technologies but, more importantly, cars which are environmentally friendly as well, like electric and hybrid cars.”

Mohd Nazrin Mohamad Fozi of Rahman Brothers Automotive said that his visit more than lived up to his expectations. “[GRI] showcased Geely’s technological capabilities and the future of automobiles. I can imagine if these technologies, like advanced safety and other state of the art features are incorporated into Proton cars, we will definitely be at the leading edge of automobiles in Malaysia, and beyond.”

The Geely Boyue will form the base for Proton’s first ever SUV, coming at the end of the year

Meanwhile, Hazree Hisham of Vitalic said, “When I walk through the areas in GRI, I could feel a sense of calm all around. Line workers do their work diligently, and they look serious about the work at hand. We can see there is a sense of pride in the effort they put in to. It is a no-nonsense environment. They are so focused on their work to ensure quality delivery of output.

“On top of that, the floors were so polished I could not even see a single speck of dust or dirt. This is an example of a world-class facility at its best,” he added, noting that he could clearly see how Proton could stand to benefit from its collaboration with Geely.

“After this visit, I believe I see more clearly now the developments that are ongoing in Geely and how Proton could eventually benefit in the long term. From the working culture to the plant, there is a proper system and flow to doing things. Production is in control and everything looks orderly.”

The visits are part of Proton’s plan to convince its dealers to upgrade to 3S and 4S outlets, in order a cultivate a more premium image for its upcoming Geely-based models, starting with its first ever SUV at the end of the year. It signed up nine dealers for its dealer improvement programme in December and January, and just last week it announced that it had signed ten more.