During the 2023 Global Investors & Vendors Convention in Malaysia, Azmil Abu Bakar, the senior director of group technical procurement for Proton, shared that the automaker has made the decision to discontinue one of its models this year. This announcement came in the context of the convention’s focus on the Automotive Hi-Tech Valley (AHTV) and provided insights into Proton’s strategic direction under the influence of Geely, a Chinese auto giant.
In recent years, Proton has embarked on a rebadging strategy for its new lineup, utilizing Geely models such as the X70, X50, X90, and S50. Despite this shift, Proton has retained its original distinct models, namely the Exora, Saga, Iriz, and Persona. Azmil clarified that while three of these models will continue to be produced for an extended period, one model has been announced to suppliers as reaching the end of production by the year’s end.
These distinct Proton models have been present in the market for several years, with the Saga and Persona introduced in 2016, the Iriz in 2014, and the Exora dating back to 2009. Although Azmil did not explicitly disclose the name of the discontinued model, it is speculated to be the Exora due to its age and relatively lower sales performance compared to other models in Proton’s lineup.
Looking towards the future, Azmil revealed that the new Geely-based X series Proton models are expected to remain in production for approximately 10 years. He stressed the importance of local suppliers maintaining competitiveness for the existing models. Furthermore, he encouraged suppliers to explore potential collaborations with other suppliers possessing advanced technologies, particularly in the realm of supplying components for electric vehicles (EVs).
A query during the convention prompted Azmil to elaborate on the specific parts and technologies Proton is seeking for upcoming models. He emphasized the company’s heightened focus on EVs and autonomous vehicles within the AHTV framework. Proton is actively considering crucial products for these industries, including EV-specific tires, battery packs, battery management systems, electric motors, and EV platforms.
Proton’s decision to discontinue a model reflects the company’s ongoing efforts to streamline its product portfolio and align it with Geely’s strategic vision. By leveraging Geely’s expertise and engineering capabilities through rebadging, Proton aims to offer advanced and competitive vehicles to the market. Concurrently, the company is fostering collaborations with suppliers possessing advanced technologies, enabling a smooth transition towards EVs and autonomous driving.
In response to the evolving automotive industry, Proton is positioning itself as a key player in the electric and autonomous vehicle segments. By forging partnerships and investing in research and development, Proton aims to deliver innovative and technologically advanced vehicles that meet the changing needs and preferences of consumers. The AHTV initiative serves as a collaborative platform for Proton to work with local suppliers, fostering technological advancements within the Malaysian automotive industry.