The Mirror Image Of Myself

Yet Another Proton Saga

Posted in Automobiles, News by zenmaster on January 18, 2007

Nevermind the pun. It’s purely coincidence.

GM “interested” in Proton

General Motors Corp (GM) is interested in Proton Holdings Bhd, GM’s chief financial officer said in Detroit on Jan 16.

“We are interested but there are many other players interested,” CFO Fritz Henderson said, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Automotive News World Congress in Dearborn, Michigan, though he provided no further details.

The Malaysian government said this week GM was interested in Proton, but GM had declined comment so far.

GM joins a growing list of global carmakers seeking an equity stake or technical partnership in the Southeast Asian automaker.

Malaysia’s second finance minister, Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, said France’s PSA Peugeot Citroen and Germany’s Volkswagen were also interested in Proton.

But Henderson said it was too early in the bidding process to provide any details. GM’s interest in Proton comes at a time when it is looking for additional capacity in emerging markets, with a focus on rapid growth in Asia.

Even as the world’s largest automaker is expected to be challenged for the top spot in global sales by Japanese rival Toyota Motor Corp this year, chief executive Rick Wagoner has said he expects the company to continue to grow sales outside the United States.

Overseas sales accounted for 55% of GM’s total revenue in 2006 — a trend Wagoner has said will continue in the next few years.

GM, which lost US$10.6 billion (RM37.1 billion) in 2005 and has lost US$4.8 billion in the first three quarters of 2006, is in the middle of a restructuring as it cuts billions of dollars in costs.

The government controls Proton through Khazanah Nasional Bhd. It also controls an undetermined additional amount of Proton through direct and indirect holdings held by other state firms and agencies.

Proton lost US$69.05 million (or RM250.3 million) in the three months ended Sept 30, its fourth quarterly loss in less than two years, as a slump in its car sales worsened. — Reuters

Whether it’s Peugeot, Volkswagen or General Motors, Proton’s stake acquisition and joint venture is important to save an ailing Proton. Proton no longer can depend on government’s silverspoon if it wants to stand the test of globalisation time. Rakyat have had enough with inferior-build Protons in Malaysia and excessive protection by imposing excessive tariffs on imported cars. Just keep our fingers crossed for the next 3 months.

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