Next up, Proton and Suzuki will implement several key strategic moves, namely coming up with new variants, re-branding of twenty nine Suzuki 3S and 4S Centers to Proton Edar dealerships. All twenty nine dealerships will continue to offer after-sales services to 48,000 existing Suzuki vehicle owners in the country. Obviously, these dealerships now exhibit Proton cars as part of the collaboration between the Malaysian carmakers and the Japanese marque.
In a press statement, Dato’Abdul Harith Abdullah, CEO of Proton, remarked, “The industry is aware that Suzuki is going to end sales of its own brand variants in the Malaysian market after the Memorandum of Understanding and License Agreement were signed between the three parties – DRB-HICOM, Proton and Suzuki on 15 June 2015.”
“The rationalization of SMA operations was originally expected to be completed within a year but it has progressed earlier than planned to realize the next phases of the partnership. I am happy to announce that the collaboration is seeing the first of many exciting milestones and providing Proton with the advantage of additional dealers network, vendors, skilled manpower, platform sharing and technology know-how,” he added.
Although the Suzuki marque is officially not an independent distributor in the country any longer, the Japanese counterparts are somewhat satisfied with the collaboration with the national carmakers. “Suzuki Malaysia Automobile is proud to have worked alongside and served our amazing partners and customers here in Malaysia over the past decade. The consolidation of Suzuki’s existing showrooms with Proton further strengthen the synergy between both brands ensuring the constant delivery of automotive after-sales services that our customers are used to,” Suzuki Automobile Malaysia’s Managing Director Masashi Fukuda commented. “The existing Suzuki car owners can be rest assured as their automotive needs such as the after sales services and warranty coverage with the use of genuine Suzuki parts will continue to be managed and covered. They can continue to send their cars to these outlets which are strategically located across Malaysia.”
Under the collaboration, Suzuki, which is strong for its technology and expertise in producing smaller engines, especially in the A and B segments would complement Proton’s long range product plan. The development of this collaboration gives Proton the opportunity to tap into Suzuki’s strengths, which will result in the maximising of volume potentials, reduction in development lead time and expedite time-to-market. This can be achieved through the technology sharing and the ability to maintain cost efficiency in collaboration with Suzuki.
Suzuki has already ceased its production line in the country and as part of the collaboration, Proton has access to its talents, models, platforms, powertrain and other automotive technology. Suzuki will then provide specific technical assistance for the products while it leverages on Proton’s vast local distribution and service network for its rebranded cars.
The first roll-out of the Proton-Suzuki cars are expected to commence before the end of the year. According to Suzuki sources, there are as many as four Proton-Suzuki variants on the horizon, comprising the current or new Suzuki sub-compacts and compacts variants.