Since DRB-HICOM’s emergence in Proton, some of VW’s top group directors have visited the Proton plant, as well as reviewed all the existing Proton models. Following the review and a meeting in Hong Kong last month between Soh Wei Ming (VW head for the Pacific) and DRB-HICOM’s chief operating officer, Datuk Lukman Ibrahim, it was decided that the Polo would be the best fit for Proton. - Volkswagen's grand vision for Proton, BT 5-3-2012
DRB's Proton to re-badge Polo, says who? The series of articles in the papers on Proton and VW would have been exciting news, ordinarily. But at a time when DRB-Hicom has just taken over the national car [DRB's bosses are due to take over the Board of Proton this March 21], the news is odd. Worrying, in fact.
Read the articles in this order:
What happens to "no more re-badging", Luqman? The Polo is a great, small car. But if we want the national car to go back to rebadging cars (or if we wanted VW to run the show), we didn't need a bloody corporate takeover to do that. The people at DRB-Hicom had been preaching against rebadging - it was a major point they were making to back their bid for Proton - but here we have news that Luqman, who's tipped to replace Syed Zainal as CEO of Proton, okaying a proposed rebadging.
If DRB and Luqman do not deny or clarify the news about rebadging the VW immediately, I am taking it that they are going back on their words!
Proton's heartache. In a related development, Syed Zainal is said to be getting his marching orders before the end of the month. You can imagine how unhappy the Proton employees and unions are about this. Many felt that since April is the launch of the new Proton model, described by Dr Mahathir as the best Proton car ever (and not rebadged), Syed Zainal should be allowed at least the honour of holding the ribbons while the Prime Minister cuts them.
DRB's headache. Morale is low at Proton, I guess I don't have to tell anyone that. In any corporate takeover, the CEO, COO and CFO or the party that is being taken over will have to go. Syed Mokhtar's DRB will be putting its own people to head the national car. But DRB has its own problems in terms of personnel as it has lost quite a few very good people in the last few months due to internal politics. Last month, DRB's most seasoned auto man walked out of the group. People in Proton are hoping DRB's internal politics will stay at DRB and not come to Proton. I hope we don't end up with a Proton that's run by VW people! What Syed Mokthtar needs is a head who knows how to rev up the morale of the Proton citizens.
Should be con'd ..