Proton Will Export to China

Brendan Moore


China’s Jinha Youngman Automobile Manufacturing Co.announced yesterday that it would receive 30,000 cars from Proton Holdings in Malaysia, which it intends to start selling as new 2008 models before the end of 2007 calendar year. Sales will continue in 2008.

Jinhua Youngman is a large bus maker in China that entered the rough and tumble passenger car market in 2004 when it acquired a small carmaker in the southwest region of China. The Chinese government official count showed a little over 100 registered car manufacturing companies in 2006, but there are many unregistered companies in China producing cars that are categorized as other types of manufacturers.

Jinhua Youngman also garnered some attention last year when it signed an agreement with Proton subsidiary Lotus Engineering for development work and subsequently hinted that it might make use of the Lotus APX small car prototype platform. Regardless of what happens with the APX, Lotus is working hard on a full line of cars for

Over the next 60 months, Jinhua Youngman will roll out seven new models, including sedans and coupes, multipurpose vehicles and sport utility vehicles, the company said.

Lotus APX Prototype
The car that Jinhua Youngman plans to sell in China will be based on Proton’s Gen-2 model and will be a 1.6 liter sporty car. They expect to retail the car for approximately 100,000 to 150,000 yuan (($13,310-19.970 USD). The current plan calls for Proton to export cars to China to meet demand with a gradual shift to Chinese production over the next 36 months. Jinhua Youngman has production capacity of over 150,000 cars at the present time.

Proton, Malaysia’s government-owned car company, had had a very rocky time of it as of late, recently posting it’s fifth consecutive money-losing quarter. Proton has been laboring mightily to engineer a partnership involving an ownership component with either GM or VW, but the price has not been satisfactory to either of the two Western automakers so far. Proton, and the Malaysian government, as usual, retains a sunny outlook on their combined future, no matter how bad the sales figures sag. In fact, just last month, Proton’s managing director, Datuk Syed Zainal Abidin, indicated to a reporter at The London Times that having a foreign partner was not important to Proton’s survival. Quoting from the Times article: “Proton, said Syed Zainal, had full order books for its new Persona saloon, launched last week in Malaysia, and that this new model, together with the Chinese order, a new venture in Indonesia, and a larger profit contribution from Lotus, would see Proton return to profit in the financial year ending next 31 March 2008”. Most auto industry observers believe this statement to be unrealistically optimistic.

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Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at

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  1. I drove a a new Proton last year for a month and it was not a bad car. I wouldn’t call it a good car, but it doesn’t make you want to take the gas pipe or such. It’s a bit of a nondescript piece of kit.

  2. The managers at Proton must be daft if they really believe what their senior executive said to the Times. The only way all of those moves get them back to solvency is if every single thing goes exactly right, consumers in all of those places love the cars and no one puts a foot down wrong ANYWHERE. How often does this happen?

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