KUALA LUMPUR: In a bid to establish Proton Holdings Bhd as the number one car maker in terms of sales this year, DRB-Hicom Bhd has raised the local sales target for the national car maker to 200,000 units for the current financial year ending March 31, 2013.
DRB-Hicom managing director, Mohd Khamil Jamil, said the conglomerate, which acquired Proton from Khazanah Holdings Bhd in January this year, believed that Proton has the ability to overtake the current leader, Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd (Perodua).
Mohd Khamil said prior to the takeover, Proton had an initial target of 167,000 units for the current fiscal year.
“To-date, we have done about 100,000 cars. I am pretty sure about the target. Proton has a lot of unlocked potential.
“The main challenge to meet the target will be the revised lending guidelines by Bank Negara Malaysia. But we believe in the current models that we have,” he told reporters after the company’s annual general meeting, here today.
Mohd Khamil said DRB-Hicom aspires to establish Proton not only as an affordable car, but an international car.
“Nobody should buy Proton because it’s cheap. The DNA of Proton must be changed. That is why we are raising the standards of the car. Proton aspires to increase quality while keeping cost down,” he added.
He also said DRB-Hicom has in place several plans for the national car maker to, among others, strengthen its domestic operations, rationalise its downstream and upstream businesses, build greater brand awareness, as well as unlock its true value.
On Proton’s loss-making sports car unit, Lotus, Mohd Khamil said DRB-Hicom has completed the operational review of the British sports car maker, and the conglomerate has laid out an immediate plans for Lotus.
“It will be far different from the plans that Lotus had before. The new plan will ensure Lotus will sustain for the next three years.
“We have to now present the plans to the bankers. We are hoping to finalise negotations with the bankers by the end of this year,” he added.