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Geely in Malaysia: Chinese automaker rebuilding Proton's brand image

CGTN| Updated: October 16, 2020 L M S

Three years ago, Malaysia's national automaker Proton was in dire straits in terms of sales, bottom line and image – the days when it sold two out of three cars on Malaysian roads, a distant memory. But China's Geely Group bought just under a 50 percent stake and effectively took control of Proton's production. Since then, Proton's fortunes have significantly improved. And analysts say the release of its second jointly developed model could be the start of a serious push into other right-hand drive markets in the region. Rian Maelzer reports from Kuala Lumpur.

It's been called the most anticipated vehicle launch in Malaysia's history, the second Proton model created under Geely's stewardship, the X50 SUV.

It follows the success of the larger X70, which helped revive Proton's sales and its image as well.

Geely has also worked closely with local parts makers to up their game.

Analysts expect the more mass market X50 to drive up sales and make it more economical to look at exporting to right-hand drive Southeast Asian markets.

Proton will have to compete with the big Japanese and Korean players despite having next to no brand recognition outside Malaysia. But analysts think the X50 can help Proton start to make the kind of export push it could only dream of before teaming up with Geely. Rian Maelzer, CGTN, Kuala Lumpur.

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