Thursday, January 22, 2009

Proton In The Eyes of Malaysians

Proton in the eyes of Malaysians:

1. Vinnan's opinion
2. Jared's opinion
3. River's opinion

The opinions by Vinnan, Jared and River are indeed special. I hope everyone learns from there and clear all misunderstandings about race relations and Proton.

I would like to sincerely reply to a specific comment made by my friend Vijendran on Facebook about Proton.

Of course the Ford cars are cheap in US. Many cars are retailing at USD10,000 which is what we pay for our Proton Saga.

However, we do not have the money to buy patented technology or invest billions of USD in Proton's R&D.

Ford invested USD 8 billion in 2007. Daimler invested USD 7.3 billion. I wonder how much Proton invested. Ford faced losses of billions of dollars especially in 2006.

No problem! Americans say we support you!

Imagine if Proton invests USD1 billion and make losses of USD10 million. Malaysians will say, SHUT DOWN! BUY FORD!

Do you really think Proton leaders do not want to sell their cars to 80% of the globe? Of course they do. But money is a big problem. Proton does not have a safety net like Ssangyong, GM, Ford, Daimler etc.

Whenever Proton faces problems, people tell them to shut down. Sales are bad even since 1980s. Yet we persevere and manage to accumulate RM2 billion in cash reserves (I think it has disappeared), own a production plant in Tanjung Malim, bought and sold the controversial MV Augusta, and still own the luxury sportscar Lotus Group.

Proton's birth is not a bad idea. It is the birthplace of Proton that is bad. Malaysians are not like Japanese, Australians or Americans who are so patriotic and constantly support their products.

Malaysians hate their own people and their own identity projects like Proton, Sepang F1, KLCC and the KLIA.

Please do not get me wrong. I am not saying Proton is such a beautiful company. I am actually sick and tired of Malaysians who tend to criticise and generalise something tainted as bad.

A bad durian still has good flesh to offer. Not everything is bad. All we need to do is to chop off the bad part and keep the good part.

I beg all Malaysians to give Proton Persona a try. My dad has just received a new piece of this machine from his company.

The interior bears similarities with the Toyota Camry Sportivo range, although not as grand and as beautiful. Similarities do exist.

The quality of Proton Waja and Persona can really be accepted. Having said these, I have to agree that export versions of Proton are of better quality.

My dad used to drive an export edition of the Proton Wira. I agree that is better. I am not sure why Proton has two sides to the production and sales policy.

Does that warrant a closure of Proton's plants and operations? No, my dear Malaysians.

Ford lost USD12 billion in 2006, and another USD 2-3 billion in 2007 if I am not mistaken. Yet, Ford is supported by Americans and the US Government.

When Proton loses RM50 million, Malaysians tell Proton to shut down. Actually if we compare level of investment and sales, Proton deserves more support.

Honestly, if we sit down and think about our daily lives, Malaysians like to shut down Malaysian made goods and purchase Chinese, American, Japanese and British goods. That is actually bad because we need to pay other people from other countries for the goods.

If one day, people from my generation manage to turn Proton into a world class carmaker, I wonder how many of those who have criticised Proton will turn up at the Proton car dealers' steps to catch a glimpse of the new machines with intentions to purchase one.

Let us learn like the Japanese. Do not praise the West and say their systems are so good. Those are just the Macro views. If we look closer, the people's sense of patriotism and attitude actually contributes to the successes of their nations.

Malaysians keep on praising the systems of the Japanese, the West and even Singapore. But Malaysians do not have mirrors to look at themselves. Are they willing to be like them?

We will never achieve anything, unless we change our attitudes. How can a building stand tall and mighty if its pillars and foundations are not strong?

That, we have to ask Malaysians. More to come about Proton from the Engineering perspective, provided by a reader.

Please read: Big Three auto CEOs flew private jets to ask for taxpayer money

(Credits to Proton and Skyscrapercity for the photos.)


Ahmad Amzar said...

Heh,I never thought that it will turn out this way.

Anyway,one thing I noticed about Malaysians in general is that,we are good in finding other people's fault and straight away condemn them without giving much thought. Have we ever thought what those who dared to take the first steps endured?At least,at least my fellow readers,they were willing to take those steps and made a beginning. Ask ourselves,would we do the same thing?

Come this march,I'll enter my fourth year in Japan. From what I can see,the Japanese are proud of what they've done,no matter how small it is. My lecturers always mention from time to time "We are the first to produce white LEDs,"We are the first to make this","We are the first to make that",although to me,some of those they've invented are not on par with inventions like Bell's telephone,Benz's car or so.

I'm sure if there's a Malaysian who can make,let say,a flying car or so,there will be some Malaysians who'll say,"ala,there are many others who've invented that car big deal one".

Back to Proton,of course,there're many things which Proton needs to improve. But,to put all the blame on them is simply foolish. In order to improve their quality,they need to make a lot of R&D which requires a lot of money. And where will those money come? Car buyers. Who are their main car buyers? Malaysians. Can you get the equation?

There's no way we can compare Proton straight away with other big car makers. Those who did that are either ignorant or should I say,haven't really made a research on this issue. Those car makers have been making cars since both World Wars. As we know,war does bring out the best in technology. So,no wonder that they are standing where they are right now.

Btw,I like this phrase
"Malaysians keep on praising the systems of the Japanese, the West and even Singapore. But Malaysians do not have mirrors to look at themselves. Are they willing to be like them?"

Well said.

I'm sure those who simply criticized don't have the guts to do so,not many la.

Tin kosong lagi banyak bising dari tin berisi apabila diketuk

p.s.Such a shame to the current Perak government. Despite the fact that there's a new Proton plant in Tanjung Malim,they still prefer Camry than Perdana.

If the reason they gave is due to high-maintenance cost,there are still many other alternatives I believe to reduce it while still keeping the Perdana fleet.

There's one time when the Perdana that my dad is using(company'cars) was required to undergo a major repairwork. I forgot the amount,but it was a lot. He didn't do that,instead,he just bought a good second-hand engine and put it on the car. The engine only costs a small portion of what he needs to pay if he opted the first option.

The car is still running good,has travelled more than 300k km,perhaps 400k km. And he uses it to go to construction sites almost everyday.

Perhaps Nizar can produce the details of the purchases to the public? Lebih ketelusan maa

river said...

I'd like to take this opportunity to wish the owner of this blog, a happy Chinese New Year. May you and your family have a good year ahead.


Jimmy Tham said...

arloe my friend and a happy chinese new year~

long time didn't come by n drop some BS in your comment d. lol. heard of butterfly theory? 1 chain of event will affect another in one way or other.

people attributes proton as mahathir's legacy and when perception in general is that when i'm being treated as a 2nd class citizen, is there any need for me to have any sense of patriotism or attachment to proton?

let's put things in correct perspective here, ford made losses because of unnecessary claims by its union and in fact the big 3 blue collar workers earn a reported 68 USD an hour (inclusive of healthcare and retirement benefitson average when toyota only pays its workers 38 dollars an hour) more than the average joe and jane out there. proton reportedly made losses due to unnecessary "leakage" in their procurement policy with the well connected suppliers. see the difference?

ironically, it is well known that mahathir 2 sons are avid collectors of sport cars namely porsche and ferrari. hush~ did your daddy not asked you to support buatan malaysia

i would say privatise proton and free it from khazanah control, forget national pride. when holden skoda and mazda benefits from transfer of tech and resources by being under the shareholding of a global carmaker, what makes proton so different

Jimmy Tham said...

nizar and his team probably has their own reasons but they need to disclose it to clear the goodname of perak state gov.

ever heard of cost vs benefit analysis? i can't point it out correctly but i'm pretty sure it was either GM or chevy was sued in the 80s for infringing consumer safety. apparently after launching a model of the car, found a defect in brake/airbag/abs system in the car (i couldn't recall it), well they did a cost vs benefit analysis, it will cost them more than $500 millions to get the car recalled and replace the faulty part where as they expect it will only yield a 1% probability of death and 5% of accident without death if they do not recall the car and as a direct consequences suffer some losses in litigation procedure and compensation amounting to less than $200 million dollars. lol. I bet you know what they did next.

as ironic as it sounds, they would rather let its customers die than recalling the car. probably nizar has his own set of calculation to explain the purchase

Jimmy Tham said...

another sidenote, in its latest annual report by proton, it has a reported NTA (net total asset) of rm 2.80 where as its shares are currently trading less than that amount. many people are eyeing the rm 2billion cash that proton has and you wouldnt be surprised if someday our fine cabinet come out with a brillian idea to privatise proton (a major u-turn) konon to unlock proton's full potential. killing 2 birds with 1 stone, appeasing the general public and getting their slimy hands in the pot of honey cum cash. remember how they sell proton's asset for 1euro when abdullah naik takhta to reward his supporters? wonder what najib will do next when he gets on the throne.

in an efficient financial market, opportunist will take proton private and dismantle the company and sell its assets and pocket the difference between market price and NTA as a handsome profit