PROTON, DRB-HICOM and Suzuki inked strategic partnership collaboration

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KUALA LUMPUR, 15 June 2015 —— PROTON Holdings Berhad (“PROTON”), DRB-HICOM Berhad (“DRB- HICOM”) and Suzuki Motor Corporation, Japan (“Suzuki”) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MoU”) and License Agreement (“LA”) to form a long term strategic collaboration and partnership between the three companies.

Signing on behalf of PROTON was YBhg Dato’ Abdul Harith Abdullah, Chief Executive Officer of PROTON, on behalf of Suzuki was Osamu Suzuki, Chairman & CEO of Suzuki Motor Corporation, Japan whilst on behalf of DRB-HICOM was YBhg Dato’ Radzaif Mohamed, Chief Operating Officer, Automotive Distribution & Manufacturing. The event was graced by Yang Berhormat Dato’ Sri Mustapha Mohamed, Minister of International Trade and Industry, PROTON Chairman and former Prime Minister of Malaysia, the Honourable Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and His Excellency Makio Miyagawa, Ambassador of Japan to Malaysia. Also present were Yang Berhormat Datuk Ir. Haji Hamim Samuri, Deputy Minister of International Trade & Industri and YBhg Dato’ Syed Mohamad Syed Murtaza, Chairman of DRB-HICOM and a Board Member of PROTON.

The spirit of the collaboration encompasses four main areas which are products, technology, people and market. With this collaboration, it would allow PROTON to have access to the models, platforms, powertrain and automotive technology of Suzuki. Suzuki will then provide the specific technical assistance for the products and scope selected.

“Suzuki is strong for its technology and expertise in producing smaller engine segments, especially in the A and B segments categories that would complement PROTON Long Range Product Plan. We look forward to the collaboration as this gives us the opportunity to tap into each other’s strengths which can result in the maximising of volume potentials, reduction of development lead time and expediting the time-to-market for both companies. Suzuki is a renowned global strategic partner and has presence in 13 countries operating via 19 plants. What more to say, Suzuki has also sold approximately 3 million cars in a year globally. This is proven with its 45% market share in India for FY2014/15 through its collaboration with Maruti,” said Dato’ Harith.

“We are truly excited with this collaboration as the relationship between the DRB-HICOM Group, our parent company, and Suzuki has long been built, one that dates back to 1983. The technology advancement, in terms of powertrain engineering for the smaller engine segment vehicles would help complete the offerings of the different segment of vehicles for PROTON with the adoption of features and specification. This can help us meet regulatory and market requirements while we greatly reduce our R&D and production costs,” Dato’ Harith added.

“The collaboration is also in line with the National Automotive Policy (“NAP”) as PROTON continues to develop and produce products with features that meet international standards and requirements. The partnership is consistent with the NAP as having a strong and renowned global automotive player like Suzuki as the foreign strategic partner to PROTON will provide PROTON the opportunity to grow internationally leveraging on Suzuki’s presence worldwide,” continued Dato’ Harith.

“A collaborative like this is common in the automotive industry where car companies work together to reduce cost, optimise operations and realise market potentials. The first phase of the project is scheduled to start production in the next 16 months and the production will take place at the PROTON Tanjung Malim plant,” ended Dato’ Harith.

The collaboration will also see all three parties working together to rationalise Suzuki’s presence in Malaysia. Currently, Suzuki is operating through its co-owned subsidiary, Suzuki Malaysia Automobile Sdn Bhd (“SMA”). SMA is owned by DRB-HICOM (40%), Suzuki (40%), and Itochu Corporation (20%). The rationalisation is expected to be completed within one year after the signing.

About PROTON

PROTON, established in 1983, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of DRB-HICOM Berhad and Malaysia’s largest manufacturer of automobiles, and the only full-fledged OEM car manufacturer in South-East Asia. With operations from the UK to the Middle East, and across South-East Asia and Australasia, PROTON produces cars to suit a range of consumer demands and preferences. 

Its offerings include versatile and reliable four-door family vehicles such as the Saga and Persona, the Satria Neo three-door hatchback for the young-at-heart and stylish executive sedans such as the Prevé and Inspira. There are also the spacious and affordable multi-purpose vehicles like the Exora, sleek sporty Suprima S that is packed with performance and the bold and stylish Iriz that is packed with safety and convenient features as well as world-renowned sports cars from LOTUS. Most importantly, PROTON models are developed with LOTUS Engineering, offering customers superior ride and handling experience in every drive. 

PROTON’s inception as a key driver of national development has seen the brand accelerate its learning curve through technology transfer with strategic partnerships and technical collaborations. By listening to the needs of customers, PROTON cars are now steadily on track to achieve the mission for the future, with PROTON set to become a marque which builds quality and safe cars with passion and soul; cars that are a delight to drive – and a pleasure to own.

About Suzuki Motors Corporation

Suzuki Motor Corporation designs and manufactures passenger cars, commercial vehicles, motorcycles, All Terrain Vehicles (ATV’s), outboard motors, generators, general purpose engines and other products. The company continuously and vigorously promotes technical cooperation through numerous joint ventures overseas, and its main production facilities are currently located in 21 countries around the world. The established network enables Suzuki to operate as a global organisation serving 192 countries. Suzuki Motor Corporation was first established as Suzuki Loom Manufacturing Co. in March 1920. 

Suzuki then entered the motorcycle business with the introduction of “Power Free” motorised bicycle in 1952, and entered the automobile business in 1955 with the introduction of “Suzulight” lightweight car. 

Suzuki is committed to use our amassed technological expertise and all other available resources to help raise the quality of human life in society by promoting corporate growth through manufacture and supply of socially demanded products. 

[Source : PROTON]

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