Proton Holdings Bhd is once again trying to finalise an Indian partner. But this time, Proton would try for completely knocked down (CKD) operations rather than manufacturing cars from the scratch.
Proton is a Malaysian car maker in which Malaysian government is also a shareholder. Proton has been in talks with several Indian companies for a partnership for the last few years.
Earlier, Proton tried to finalise a deal with Hero Group and Mahindra & Mahindra, among others. But nothing worked out for Proton.
Then the company began talks with Argentum, promoted by B V R Subbu and Ajay Singh, for manufacturing cars at their plant Surajpur (Uttar Pradesh). But even this failed. However, Subbu became one of the board members at Proton.
Proton managing director Datuk Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir said that his company is looking for a partner in India for CKD and assembly operations “as soon as possible. We cannot do a completely built-up operation in every core market. It is not economical in the long term. So, in this market, it will be completely knocked down.”
He did not reveal the name of the partner, though. Syed Zainal had earlier said that Proton was planning to finalise its India strategy with the Hero Group.
Hero officials have not yet commented on the dealings with Proton. Mahindra & Mahindra has also denied being in talks with the Malaysian car manufacturer.
Proton was established in 1983 and since then it has produced 3.306 million cars. It currently exports its cars to about 27 countries. “Currently, the export component is 25‰ of production. We aim to produce 70% for export and 30‰ for the domestic market,” Tahir added.