SERI KEMBANGAN: A new manufacturing plant in Tanjung Malim will be ready in five years’ time, but the first Proton car made with Geely’s technology will roll out by the end of next year.
It will be made at its existing plant in the country.
“Within five years, Proton has to complete the setting-up of a new manufacturing plant in Tanjung Malim in Perak,” said Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan.
“The new Proton car, made using Geely’s technology, will be ready much earlier than that,” the International Trade and Industry Minister II told reporters after an engagement session at Putra Business School at Universiti Putra Malaysia here yesterday.
If not by the end of next year, it would roll out by early 2019, he added.
“They are recruiting new technicians and drawing plans for the new plant. Construction will start next year,” he said.
In June, DRB-Hicom Bhd inked a deal to sell a 49.9% stake in Proton Holdings Bhd to China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group for a total of RM460.3mil.
Ong also said Geely was optimistic that it could assist Proton in capturing 1% market share of the automotive market in China, which could translate to about 280,000 cars.
“Proton will have a bright future if it enters the China market,” he added.
At the engagement session earlier, Ong said car sales in China last year surpassed the combined volume sold in the United States and Japan, which was 17 million and 10 million respectively.
Malaysia’s car sales totalled 580,000 units.
“Besides facilitating Proton in terms of technology, Geely will assemble Boyue, a sports utility vehicle equipped with artificial intelligence, here.
“Together with Proton, Geely will explore the Asean market, which has a population of 620 million,” Ong added.
On trade matters, Ong said his ministry was negotiating free trade agreements (FTAs) with Hong Kong, which could hopefully be concluded this year.
Negotiations were also ongoing for FTAs with Iran and the European Union, as well as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, he added.
The RCEP is a mega free trade deal involving Asean and six of its dialogue partners, namely Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.