Published on December 23rd, 2017 | by Amirul Mukminin


Why Are Dealers Investing Millions in Proton?

Proton dealers are investing millions of ringgit in the comapny despite the challenging sentiments of the brand in the market.

Dato’ Shamshudin Nor, a veteran car dealer which runs Pantai Bharu Group of Companies, spoke after a Proton dealers’ trip to Shanghai, China recently. Pantai Bharu currently holds dealerships from Perodua, Kia and also Proton.

“We actually have started building a stand-alone car showroom. It’s a RM4 million investment and to be frank, we have not determined which brand will be using the new facility,” Dato’ Shamshudin explained.

Dato’ Shamshudin shared that his recent experience to China where he was flown in by Proton to visit Geely’s showroom in China gave him a new perspective to the Proton-Geely venture.

“In my past 40 years of experience in auto dealership, there’s not been one car that I really like, other than a German car which I own. I’ve been with Proton from the start during the EON days where we did very well, and after the hurdles, I am curious to know how far we would stand in the market. I test drove the Geely Boyue there, I had a good look at the car, saw its build quality and felt its comfort level, and I believe I have found a winning factor that can bring back Proton to its glory days,” he smiled.

Dato’ Shamshudin said he was really impressed with Geely’s build quality which in his own words, “better than the strong brands he is used to, here in Malaysia”.

According to Rabita Dato’ Shamshudin, his daughter which oversees the operation of the group, Proton has its own advantages over the other brands.

“We know, we sell other makes too and we always point out the best out of each model. Apparently, customers appreciate that more rather than sales talk that bash other makes. You cannot make comparisons as all cars are different and have their unique propositions. And for Proton cars, we highlight what they have that others don’t,” she explained.

After the trip to Shanghai, Pantai Bharu has decided that the new RM4 million showroom facilities will be the new home for its Proton’s dealership.

Susan Leong from Hoi Keen Service also shared her views about Proton and Geely; and agreed with Dato’ Shamshudin that the trip to China definitely brought the confidence she has to the brand. Hoi Keen is not a new name for Kuantan folks and the company has been in the body and paint industries for years.

“I saw the Geely EV car and I was very impressed with its technology. The fact that it is being used by ride-hailing company CaoCao, shows how reliable Geely EV and its technology is,” Leong spoke.

Currently, Hoi Keen runs a Proton service centre and a paint and body shop but has been given the licence to operate a Proton 4S centre two years ago.

Hoi Keen is now building what might be the largest Proton 4S centre in Pahang. Located in Indera Mahkota 3, the total cost of investment (including the land plot) will be in the area of RM16 million.

A big investment as such is unusual among car dealerships this side of Malaysia but it only shows just how confident Hoi Keen is in the national brand.

“When I was in Shanghai, visiting the 4S dealership of Geely, I saw what could be done to improve customer service. It’s the only way to move forward, by expanding the business to at least a 3S centre, if not 4S because services to customers shouldn’t stop after a sale is made. The added value to customers is definitely after a car is purchased and I understand why the management of Prton is urging its dealers to expand their outlets to 3S or 4S centres. An excellent ownership experience should be the positive way moving forward in order to revive the Proton brand,” ended Leong.

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