Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Proton at No 2 Spot Despite Frost & Sullivan Awards

It's so funny. Despite having won Frost & Sullivan Awards, Proton manages to screw-up by coming in as No 2 in a domestic car market that's protected mostly for Proton's sake!
Compact car maker Perodua retained its leadership with a market share of 31.5 percent, followed by Proton with a distant 26.6 percent share. Japanese car maker Toyota Motor Corp secured 14.8 percent of the market, followed by Honda Motor Co with 7.4 percent and Nissan Motor Co. with 5.8 percent.
It's hard to feel sorry for Proton. With so much bad publicity on poor quality control and over pricing, it's hard for Proton to get back its No 1 spot. And really, Proton is largely to blame for its own fate.
After 25 years of being in the business of making cars for Malaysians, it ought to be able to compete confidently in the free market already, thus allowing Malaysians at large to benefit from competitive pricing and higher quality services. Yet, Proton continues to hold the rakyat back, forcing us to pay more for cars in general.
What Malaysians ought to be asking is whether this is the best way for a government linked corporation such as Proton to return shareholder value? If MAS can compete with Air Asia and other international airlines, and still provide good returns to the government, why can't Proton, which has been around long enough, do the same? If PETRONAS can compete in the open downstream market without protection from international competitors, why can't Proton do the same?
This is not about national pride. This is about economics and commerce, and the future income for the government of Malaysia as well as the well-being of the rakyat moving forward.
Addendum: On the upside, Proton is pretty smart in producing the red Exora with nice looking trimmings. While I'm against Proton in many ways, someone like me who is partial to red cars can't help but notice....

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