KUALA LUMPUR: Despite some resistance initially, 170 Proton dealers have applied to participate in Proton Holdings Bhd’s new dealership programme.
This requires every dealer to provide sales, service and spare parts as well as sell only Proton cars.
Proton has convinced the dealers to spend millions in upgrading showrooms and service centres as part of its regeneration plan under Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co Ltd’s management, The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) reported today.
According to Proton Edar Dealers Association Malaysia president Liew Vee Lee, confidence in the new management of Proton has grown to the extent of attracting non-Proton dealers to apply for the dealerships.
Liew said 30% of those who applied to become Proton dealers were new to the brand.
Proton overcame the early resistance by undertaking several measures, including taking some dealers to Geely’s headquarters in China to observe how things work.
Another important measure was the introduction of a lower entry point, with lower capital outlay, for dealers to get on board.
TMR quoted Liew as saying more dealers were interested in joining Proton as the company had introduced a new category of 3S — sales, service and spare parts — dealership.
Called Tier E, the requirement allows for a smaller 3S dealership that is cheaper to set up than the three tiers offered earlier.
Liew told TMR that previously, the minimum 3S requirement was 1,700 sq m of built-up area, including a 600 sq m showroom for six display cars and a minimum of 10 hoists at the service bay.
“Now, with a smaller version of 3S outlets, we are able to accommodate our principal needs.
“The smallest tier, known as Tier E, only requires us to invest in 300 sq m of showroom space with four display cars and 400 sq m of service bays area with five hoists at a time,” he said.
Also, the outlets now can be operated under a single roof on a 0.28ha piece of land, which is smaller compared with the previous minimum requirement of 0.61ha.
However, TMR said, many of the smaller dealers were still not convinced about spending millions on upgrading their centres and were adopting a wait-and-see attitude.
It quoted one unnamed dealer as saying losses previously suffered and confusing policies had created scepticism.
“The dealers have limited finances due to years of losses, especially when they were pushed to sell more cars and bear the holding stock interests, which became a threat to their return on investment,” the dealer was quoted as saying.
Proton is expected to introduce a model based on the hugely successful Geely Boyue SUV later this year.