China-Malaysia automotive collaboration of strategic importance: Malaysian PM

(Xinhua) 15:29, May 08, 2023

KUALA LUMPUR, May 7 (Xinhua) -- The continued partnership and close collaboration between Malaysian national carmaker Proton and China's Geely are of strategic importance, Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said on Sunday.

The collaboration accelerates the adoption of electric vehicles (EV) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) as well as the supporting ecosystem for these new vehicles, and by extension creates thousands of skilled jobs and investment into the country, Anwar said at the official launch of Proton's newest model, the Proton X90 sports utility vehicle (SUV).

"The participation of Geely would be of immense help and impact to achieve our aim. I have assured them (Geely) that I will continue to engage not only with Chinese companies but also the Chinese government," Anwar said in his speech at the launch ceremony.

While building the full infrastructure for EV is still to be worked on as a future aspiration, the introduction of hybrid vehicles will facilitate the transition from petroleum fueled vehicles to electric ones, Anwar said, adding that Geely has been pragmatic in enabling Malaysia's transition toward sustainable new energy vehicles.

Anwar also commended Proton, which marks the 40th anniversary since its founding on Sunday, for its contribution to Malaysia's socio-economic development and for taking the bold step of partnering with Geely in the pursuit of improving its offerings and the adoption of new technology.

"In this regard, the launch of the Proton X90 is laudable being the first hybrid vehicle from Proton. After 40 years, this is certainly an achievement to be proud of," he said.

The X90 is a SUV based on the Geely Haoyue. It marks Proton's entry into the New Energy Vehicle (NEV) market and it's also the third SUV offered following the launch of the X70 in 2018 and the X50 in 2020.

Chairman of Geely Holding Group Li Shufu said that Proton and Malaysia are able to draw on the vast experience and technology developed by Geely, which has enthusiastically adopted electrification and intelligent transformation.

"China has acquired a first-mover advantage in the field of intelligent electric vehicles in terms of scale, ecosystem, and technological maturity with production and sales of new energy vehicles in China ranking first in the world for eight consecutive years," he said.

"Malaysia can draw on China's experience in developing new energy vehicles. Proton, as the local brand in Southeast Asia, is now presented with a historic opportunity to lead the electric transformation, which will certainly give renewed vitality for the brand," he added.

For his part, Proton's Chairman Syed Faisal Albar said the carmaker is keenly aware of the latest developments and market trends and will explore new segments that are aligned to the government's aspirations and changing consumer demand as buyers start transitioning to NEVs.

Proton's partnership with Geely began in 2017, when Geely acquired 49.9 percent of the company to drive the transformation of the national automaker, Proton said in a statement, adding that since then, quality improvements, investment in new products, an infusion of talent and growth in the number of outlets, have seen the company's fortunes rise.

Following the launch of the Proton X70 in 2018, sales have climbed from 64,744 units that year to 141,432 units in 2022, the best figure achieved since 2013. The upward trend is set to continue as sales for the first four months of 2023 came in at 49,702 units, the statement said.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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