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Free Website Counters SPY the Man: March 2007

Friday, March 30, 2007

29-03-2007: Meaningful talks on Proton should proceed, say analysts

The government should not rush into an agreement with a foreign strategic partner for Proton Holdings Bhd although the national carmaker urgently needs one to turn around its flagging fortunes, industry observers and analysts said.

They said in any event, such a partner would not be able to work miracles and turn Proton around overnight and meaningful negotiations should be allowed to take place over a reasonable period of time.

In a research note dated March 19, TA Securities Research said there was no major short term risk if talks were to drag on for another few months.

News that the government might miss its self-imposed end-March deadline to announce a strategic partner for Proton came as no surprise to analysts given the complexity of the politically-sensitive matter.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said on Wednesday that the government may miss the March deadline to come to an agreement with a foreign player.

Sources said the talks with the foreign parties could have been bogged down by some contentious issues such as matters of control and the fate of the vendor development programme.

“It could be that the government is not willing to relinquish too much control to these foreign partners because what is at stake is Proton’s national identity, and not just a business,” said the source.

An analyst said the entry of a strategic partner could spell the end of less competent and competitive vendors, which would not be what the government wanted to see.

TA Research expressed scepticism over the March deadline due to the fact that one of the bidders, General Motors, had just submitted its plans to the government in January.

“Two months’ time frame could be too soon for both parties to reach a multi-million ringgit agreement. Furthermore, to come up with a readily available plan to turnaround Proton may take longer than that,” it said.

It said Peugeot PSA, which had withdrawn its bid for Proton, took seven months for its evaluation and research before concluding that cooperation with Proton was not feasible.

TA Research said the entry of a foreign partner would primarily result in a change in consumers’ perception over the quality of Proton’s cars and that this would be priceless.

“We believe the consumers’ confidence will improve, which will translate into higher sales volume,” it said.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

28-03-2007: Najib: Proton may miss March deadline

The government may miss its own end-March deadline to strike a deal with a foreign carmaker for a partnership in Proton Holdings Bhd, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

“I cannot say for sure if a partnership can be announced by month’s end,” he told reporters at the Global Islamic Finance Forum 2007 in Kuala Lumpur on March 28.

Asked if this meant that the government would miss the March deadline it had announced earlier, Najib said: “Might miss it. Doesn’t matter.”

However, he did not say if talks with the respective bidders had stalled or if the negotiations would continue notwithstanding the self-imposed deadline.

The government is in talks with Volkswagen AG and General Motors Corporation towards striking a strategic partnership, including possible equity participation in Proton.

It is also in negotiations with local players such as DRB-Hicom Bhd and Naza group of companies on how they could play a role in reversing the fortunes of the loss-making national carmaker.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg, quoting an adviser to the government, Graeme Maxton, reported that Proton’s search for a partner to return it to profitability would not end any time soon because of strategic disagreements between the company and the government.

“It’s going to be a long time until we actually see this coming to an end,” said Maxton, Asia managing director at consulting firm Autopolis.

There is “a lot of conflict” between the government and Proton over the company’s future, he said.

On another question that DRB-Hicom was said to be confident of being appointed as Proton’s local partner, Najib said it was up to the Finance Ministry and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti) to look into the bid.

“I don’t know. We have not made any decisions yet. Treasury and Miti are supposed to do the evaluation and supposed to present it (to the Cabinet Committee which Najib chairs).

When reminded that there were only three days left to the end of the month, he said: “There will be time. Don’t worry.”

On a separate matter, Najib said the next round of talks with the United States on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) would be held very soon.

“We discussed the FTA today (yesterday) and made some decisions relating to the FTA. It is now up to the respective ministries to take up our position with the Americans. Talks continue.

“We are not bound by any deadline nor will we give up some of the fundamental positions that we consider very important to Malaysia. There will be no time frame,” he said.

On the status of the proposed bullet train project to Singapore, Najib said it was still being studied.

“I have been given to understand that this is a private sector initiative. So it is up to them to study its viability, and for the government to consider it. I do not know to what extent they will need the government’s assistance,” he said.

When asked what support the government would extend to the project initiators, Najib said: “At the outset, the project must be viable and bankable, and can be financed by private companies.”

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

23-03-2007: Vehicle sales fell 14.1% to 31,284 in February

Total vehicle sales fell 14.1% to 31,284 units in February, 2007 from 36,439 a year ago, due to the shorter working month and also rumours of duties on cars would be reduced, according to the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA).

It said on March 23 that of the 31,284 units, passenger vehicles accounted for 28,439 and commercial vehicles stood at 2,854.

Year-to-date, total vehicle sales fell 14.6% to 66,331 units from 77,646 units in the previous corresponding period. Of the 66,331, it said that 60,417 were passenger vehicles and the remaining 5,914 commercial vehicles.

However, MAA is optimistic that sales should pick up in March as it was a full working month. The slight easing of hire purchase financing, the launch of new models for Perodua MyVi and also attractive Proton Iswara pricing should help too.

Production recorded a 46.1% decline in February to only 25,686 units compared with the 47,647 a year ago. Of the 25,686 units, MAA said that 23,336 were cars and 2,350 were commercial vehicles.

The MAA said since January 2007, passenger-carrying vehicles included cars, four-wheel drive, sports utility vehicles, window vans and multi-purpose vehicles.

Commercial vehicles were also reclassified and they included trucks, prime movers, pick-up trucks, panel vans, buses and others.

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23-03-2007: Proton gets 10,000 Saga bookings from promo

Proton Holdings Bhd has received overwhelming response for its 50th Merdeka Offer, which saw over 10,000 Saga units booked in less than a month.

Under the Merdeka promotion, Proton offered its Saga model for RM26,999.

In a statement on March 23, Proton said the strong demand had resulted in a waiting period of almost three months for the 1.3 litre Proton Saga.

Its managing director Datuk Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir said Proton would step up production to meet with the unexpected demand.

“We are ramping our production to meet the market demand and that is our commitment to our valuable customers,” he said.

Syed Zainal added the special offer would not be extended to other models produced by Proton.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

VW-Proton talks at fairly advanced stage

KUALA LUMPUR: Volkswagen AG said talks on a partnership with Proton Holdings Bhd are at a “fairly advanced'' stage, as Europe's largest carmaker seeks a platform to expand in South-East Asia.

“Both parties clearly know what they would want from such an agreement,” Kevin Rose, Volkswagen head of international sales, said in an interview. He said the company would “work within” the Malaysian government's March 31 deadline.

“There are a lot of things Proton needs to learn in order to be competitive,” said Ang Kok Heng from Phillip Capital Management. “Having a partner will help it catch up with the bigger boys.”

The automaker has sought an alliance since Mitsubishi Motors Corp ended their partnership in 2004. PSA Peugeot Citroen ended talks with Proton last week, while General Motors Corp said discussions were still ongoing.

Wolfsburg, Germany-based Volkswagen, said having control of local production was key to its strategy in emerging markets such as India and Malaysia.

“For us as a brand, it's important that we can always say made by VW, or built by VW,” Rose said in Singapore late yesterday. – Bloomberg

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Proton Sees Good Fortune In Indonesia's Taxi Market

JAKARTA, March 14 (Bernama) -- PT Proton Tracoma Motors has made a commendable entrance to Indonesia's taxi market with its plant in Cikarang ready to assemble 40,000 CKD (completely knocked-down) units of Proton Wira as taxis by September this year.

The current activities in Cikarang plant, located in east Jakarta, include repainting CBU (completely built-up) Wira units to meet the requirements by taxi operators as well as the pre-delivery inspection of Gen-2 and Savvy.

PT Proton Tracoma which started to supply Wira taxi in the republic in August 2006, aims to sell 3,000 units of the vehicles within a one-year period.

"It should not be a problem for us to meet the target," Ahmad Tifli Mohd Taha, Proton Holdings Bhd's general manager, International Sales & Services said during a media briefing here Wednesday on PT Proton Tracoma's operations.

He said besides the taxi market, PT Proton Tracoma was also aiming to capture other fleet retail market and was not discounting the car rental market in the future.

Proton Sdn Bhd and Tracoma Holdings Bhd are the shareholders of PT Proton Tracoma which has a paid-up capital of US$22 million.

PT Proton Tracoma was incorporated on June 23, 2004.

So far, Ahmad Tifli said PT Proton Tracoma had delivered about 600 units of Wira taxi in Pekan Baru besides its current order book of 1,500 units.

"We have also received some 2,000 to 3,000 enquiries from other taxi operators here," he said.

PT Proton Tracoma currently has four major taxi clients namely Puskopau Taxi, Putra Taxi, Intan Pusaka Taxi and Mersindo Taxi, "and some others have shown interest," he said but declined to elaborate.

PT Proton Tracoma is in the third position in supplying taxi in Indonesia and is in a good position to tap other Asean markets, having fulfilled the AFTA requirement to have two assembly plants in two Asean countries.

The Wira taxi can be converted into a passenger car after seven years (requirement in Indonesia for any taxi), showing its hardiness and reliability, Ahmad Tifli said.

He noted that there was no plan to convert Gen-2 and Savvy as taxis here although Proton was well known in the republic as a taxi manufacturer, he added.

Meanwhile, PT Proton Tracoma's director, Mohamad Azeman Redzuan said the Cikarang plant was ready for expansion although the installed capacity will reach 40,000 by September.

The plant has 8,000 installed capacities for CKD car and is presently running at 300 units a month for CBU car repainting.

He said the number of industry vehicles in the republic was expected to increase next year given the strong expectations of economic recovery.

PT Proton Tracoma can benefit from this, he added.


Once PROTON Brand is sold or started to sell as TAXI, People will not buy PROTON as Luxury brand car anymore. People mind set will change, as PROTON name has became a LOW class model at Indonesia. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS of it? YAU MOU GAU...CHOR!!!


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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

13-03-2007: German envoy hopeful of VW-Proton breakthrough

German envoy to Malaysia, Herbert Jess, is hopeful of a breakthrough in talks between Volkswagen AG and Proton Holdings Bhd after two years of negotiations between the two carmakers, despite earlier setbacks.

"I cannot comment on what the Malaysian government is doing or willing to do. There is still preparedness of Volkswagen to come in (as a strategic partner) if the terms are right," he told reporters on March 13.

On chances of Volkswagen becoming the strategic partner following the pull-out of Peugeot PSA, he said: "If the negotiations proceed satisfactorily, it will come to a deal. If not, the deal will not be reached."

Speaking in Kuala Lumpur on March 13 after attending the launching ceremony of new initiatives between the German-Malaysia Institute and its industry partners, Jess said he was hopeful that bilateral trade relations between the two countries would continue to improve.

He said Germany was Malaysia's biggest trade partner in Europe with two-way trade volume between both countries valued at about RM30 billion last year. Germany was also Malaysia's ninth largest trade partner.

"Last year, Germany's trade with Malaysia was double of its trade with Thailand and Indonesia," he added.

On Germany's investment in Malaysia, he said Germany's electronics company, Infineon and petrochemical giant BASF had invested 1.2 billion euros in Malaysia.

Among the factors that attracted German investors to Malaysia was Malaysia's political and economic stability and the development in Malaysia, Jess said.

On the German-Malaysia Institute's (GMI) new initiatives, GMI managing director Yusoff Md Sahir said they were part of efforts to upgrade its training programme with new technology and techniques.

Under the initiatives, GMI has signed up with 16 industry partners consisting of companies such as Asea Brown Boveri Malaysia Sdn Bhd.

Among others, these companies will provide expertise and equipments at an attractive rate for training purposes.

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

In comes the Myvi SE

Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd (Perodua) has launched its Myvi Special Edition, which features a brand new body kit that should get the plastic brigade absolutely drooling and goggle-eyed.

Yessiree, this is one pimped-up ride, at least where the externals are concerned - to say that the SE version comes with plenty of sporty-looking accoutrements would be understating it. Lessee, there’s a new front and rear bumper, side skirts, rear spoiler, chrome muffler tip, newly-designed fog lamps and fresh alloy wheels.

The rest of the car is essentially unchanged, save for some revisions to the interior, the most notable of which are the leather seats and new blue coloured lighting for the meter graphics. Elsewhere, you get new silver paint for the centre and meter cluster as well as the armrest panel.

It’s obvious that Perodua is targeting a younger crowd of buyers with the Myvi SE, and the colours reflect that - three prominent tones are available, these being Ebony black, Mistik red and Ivory white.

Two variants of the type are being issued, the 1.3L GHS manual and 1.3L ZHS automatic. Pricing (on-the-road, with insurance) for the 1.3L GHS is RM48,932 (solid) and RM49,455 (metallic), while the 1.3L ZHS goes for RM51,812 (solid) and RM52,346 (metallic).

The company is targeting a monthly sales figure of 1,200 units for the Myvi SE. At the SE’s launch, Perodua said that it is targeting a total sales volume of 161,000 units in 2007, of which it anticipates 74,000 units to be Myvis.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

05-03-2007: Peugeot ends partnership talks with Proton

PSA Peugeot-Citroen has decided not to proceed with a proposed partnership with Proton Holdings Bhd after evaluating the feasibility studies that were concluded in January, the French carmaker announced on March 5.

“An in-depth study of the automobile market and the economic conditions for co-producing vehicles with Proton concluded that the conditions for the project’s success were not present,” it said.

In a statement released via its website, Peugeot said it had “informed Proton of its decision not to follow up on the study”.

It said talks with Proton had centered on the development of Peugeot and Citroen in Malaysia and the use of the country as a production base for its sales operations in the Asean region.

Meanwhile, in an interview with a French daily published on March 5, Peugeot chief executive officer Christian Streiff said it had abandoned talks with Proton as the tie-up did not “guarantee the conditions of production at low cost”.

In the report by Le Figaro, Streiff also said the French carmaker would have to downsize its workforce as part of a restructuring plan that it was undertaking.

An industry analyst said Peugeot’s decision not to proceed with the proposed partnership was not a “massive blow for Proton”.

“Peugeot was only talking about joint development whereas GM (General Motors Corp) and VW (Volkswagen AG) are looking at taking some control of Proton’s operations,” he said.

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Monday, March 05, 2007

Proton Saga RM26,999 sempena 50 tahun merdeka

KUALA LUMPUR 4 Mac – Proton Holdings Bhd. (Proton), pengeluar kereta nasional pertama, hari ini melancarkan promosi Proton Saga dengan harga menarik RM26,999 sempena sambutan 50 tahun kemerdekaan negara.

Pengarah Urusan Proton, Datuk Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir berkata, pelancaran itu adalah simbolik bagi menghargai kesetiaan rakyat kepada jenama kereta nasional tersebut.

“Promosi ini sebagai tanda terima kasih Proton di atas sokongan masyarakat yang selama ini memberi kepercayaan kepada keluaran kereta kami.

“Justeru, pembeli diberi dua pilihan pembayaran istimewa yang pasti tidak membebankan,’’ katanya dalam satu kenyataan yang dikeluarkan di sini hari ini.

Menurut Syed Zainal Abidin, pembeli pasti terpegun dengan tawaran paling istimewa Proton kali ini selepas pelancaran model pertamanya 22 tahun lalu.

Model Iswara Aeroback 1,300 cc itu sama dengan model Proton Saga yang berada di pasaran dan bezanya adalah harga yang jauh lebih rendah daripada harga sekarang iaitu kira-kira RM35,000.

Semasa Proton melancarkan model pertamanya pada 1985, harga model pertamanya ialah RM18,500.

Beliau berkata, promosi sempena kemerdekaan negara yang ke-50 itu akan diteruskan sehingga stok Proton Saga habis.

Jelas Syed Zainal Abidin, pilihan pembayaran pertama yang ditawarkan pembeli Proton Saga ialah ansuran sebanyak RM248 sebulan selama sembilan tahun.

“Tawaran ini menjanjikan jaminan pinjaman dan potongan gaji terutama untuk pekerja sektor kerajaan dengan terma-terma yang berkaitan.

“Pilihan pertama ini tidak terhad kepada penduduk Semenanjung tetapi turut melibatkan pembeli dari Sabah dan Sarawak,’’ ujarnya.

Pilihan kedua pula, kata Syed Zainal Abidin, adalah pinjaman institusi kewangan dengan faedah serendah 3.88 peratus termasuk pakej jaminan dipanjangkan yang jauh lebih menguntungkan daripada skim sedia ada.

“Promosi hebat ini lebih menarik daripada skim sekarang iaitu 4.3 peratus faedah dengan pakej tawaran jaminan dipanjangkan.

‘‘Tawaran ini adalah bukti Proton sentiasa komited untuk terus mempertingkatkan dan menjamin kemudahan para pelanggan kami agar mereka sentiasa dihargai,’’ katanya.


What is the main factor for you to buy a Proton Car?
Low price and no other choice due to budget
Good resale value
Low maintenance cost
Ride & Handling is good
Reliable parts, chasis and engine
Good Styling exterior & Interior
Patriotism (I support Made in Malaysia Products)
Follow others (Follow Majorities should be the best choice)