Yesterday was a “Proton day” in terms of local news coverage and today is Perodua’s turn to flaunt the figures and reveal future plans over a Chinese New Year lunch with the media.

While Proton’s recent rise is not at all affecting the long-time market leader – which achieved yet another record year of sales in 2019 – Proton’s avowed aim is to initially lead some segments and eventually be the overall market leader in Malaysia. Of course, to do that it will have to get past Perodua, and surely there’s no bigger task.

When asked about Proton’s rise, and more specifically P1’s 2020 sales target of 132,000 units (which would be a massive 32% jump from 2019), Perodua president and CEO Datuk Zainal Abidin Ahmad welcomed the competition.

“For us in Perodua, we welcome competition. We welcome in the sense that competition will make us even better. We will start to study and find out, find the possible countermeasures to allow us to compete – of course, healthy competition – and make sure that we stay ahead,” he said.

Zainal also pointed us to the potential benefits to the local automotive industry a stronger Proton can bring. “As for Proton, I understand that they announced around 30% increase in volume (for this year). Based on their announcement, and based on our forecasted volume for this year – which is a TIV of 610,000 – this is good for the industry.

“Imagine if we purchase from the local industry about RM6 billion a year, and they increase their volume to 130,000 units, and they purchase say, 50% of what we purchase – we would have purchased around RM9-10 billion from the industry,” he said. Perodua’s target is to purchase RM6 billion from local vendors this year, which will be 11.1% more than 2019’s total outlay.

“We have about 185 vendors, maybe they have more or less than us. The industry will benefit, the vendors will benefit, and of course – we can continue to provide employment and economic benefit for the country,” the P2 chief stressed.

As pointed out before, P2 isn’t one to be complacent, and the Sg Choh carmaker has something big up its sleeves for this year. It has not been explicitly named, but the D55L compact SUV based on the Daihatsu Rocky is set to debut later this year. The crossover will have an all-new DNGA platform, a downsized 1.0L turbo engine and Level 2 autonomous driving, all of which are new to the brand. We’re expecting Perodua’s Rocky, which is smaller in size and engine, to also undercut the “Proton X50” in price.

“Yes I understand that they (Proton) are coming up very well; however we are having our own strategy to make sure that we can provide the best to our customers,” a confident Zainal Abidin stated.

Let us add something that the Perodua boss did not mention: ultimately, competition is great for the consumer, so guys, give us the best you’ve got!

GALLERY: Daihatsu Rocky Sporty Style at TAS 2020

GALLERY: Daihatsu Rocky official images