Proton vendors must focus on new technologies and manufacturing parts for electrified cars so they can be aligned with Geely’s plan to become the number one electric car manufacturer in China.

This is according to economist Yeah Kim Leng in a report by Bernama, who also said, “if they (Geely) are able to transfer some of the technology, it would augur well for Malaysia more so if they make Malaysia the production hub to penetrate ASEAN.”

With an increasingly competitive market, Yeah believes only global players can survive and Proton’s strategic partnership with Geely will allow the national company to tap into the Chinese automaker’s financial and technological capabilities.

“Niche and small players, as well as national car players, would find it increasingly very difficult because they do not have the economies of scale. More importantly, they do not have the research and development capacity and the deep financial pockets to continuously invest in research and development and, improve car designs,” he explained.

Yeah added the current trend towards green vehicles that are either fully electric or hybrid will require vendors and carmakers to adapt accordingly. “The quicker we follow this trend, the greater will be the potential for the country to emerge as a regional manufacturing hub for global companies,” Yeah said in relation to Proton and Malaysia.

Yeah commended Proton’s efforts to improve its dealer network by upgrading them to 3S or 4S centres in order to provide an enhanced customer experience. “Proton is doing right by strengthening that kind of distribution network, elevating it to become the so-called showroom of choice for potential car buyers,” he said.

“Proton would have a very good future if it can absorb some of these production techniques and technological advantages to lower their costs and offer very cost effective incentives.”

“With all these winning attributes, we would likely see Proton regaining some of its past glory sooner than later including rising demand from the middle class and using Malaysia as a base to penetrate the ASEAN market,” Yeah added.