Proton looks to drive on to Indian auto track

Proton looks to drive on to Indian auto track
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First Published: Sun, Jul 26 2009. 12 39 PM IST
Updated: Sun, Jul 26 2009. 12 39 PM IST
New Delhi: Malaysian car maker Proton is keenly looking to enter the growing Indian automobile market to expand its overseas operations amid global demand slump.
Proton has been trying to enter the lucrative Indian auto market for some years and the company was reportedly in talks with home-grown auto major Mahindra & Mahindra as well as contract manufacturer Argentum Motors.
Apart from its annual report of last fiscal, where the company had marked India as one of the major target markets, Proton’s recent review states that it is studying the 12-lakh units strong Indian passenger car market.
Proton Holdings Berhad managing director H S Z A B Syed Mohamed Tahir said the company would intensify its export programme to diversify into various market segments and reduce dependence on the domestic market.
“On this note, we will be launching new programmes regionally, specifically in ASEAN, China, India and the Middle East... Proton will leave no stone unturned in our vision to strengthen our brand equity within the local and regional arena,” Tahir said in the latest review of the company’s performance.
He, however, did not specify as to when the company will enter India.
Meanwhile, repeated e-mail queries to a Proton spokesperson remained unanswered.
The company’s observations came amid the fact that motorisation has been saturating in the relatively small Malaysian market.
On the other hand, the Indian passenger car market, which grew by 1.31% to sell over 12 lakh units in 2008-09 even as major overseas markets shrunk, is projected to grow by up to 5% in the current financial year.
Of late, several auto companies have stepped on gas to enter India. Europe’s second largest carmaker Peugeot Citroen is carrying out a feasibility study to launch its products in here.
Also, while Canadian contract manufacturer Magna International is showing interest in India for setting up a facility, BMW is keeping a close watch to enter the motorcycle segment here.
Earlier, Proton’s annual report said: “Proton is now carefully studying its options with respect to the India, Russia and Vietnam markets, which have the potential of being strong export markets.”
However, it added that given the complexities of the new emerging markets, Proton would adopt a cautious approach before committing significant resources to these markets.
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First Published: Sun, Jul 26 2009. 12 39 PM IST
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