In what can be described as the next strategic move under the Proton-Suzuki agreement, the Japanese automaker will discontinue all of its models in Malaysia effective from February 2016! Suzuki Malaysia’s 25 3S and 4 4S outlets across the country are being converted into Proton Edar outlets which will start selling the Malaysian automaker’s products.
Datuk Abdul Harith Abdullah, CEO of Proton, stated that rationalization of Suzuki Malaysia’s operations were expected to take one year from signing the MoU but realization of next phases of the partnership materialized sooner than expected.
Suzuki and Proton signed an MoU in June last year for a collaboration which many thought would result in the former providing the latter its technical expertise in small cars. Suzuki’s handing over the dealership network and withdrawing its models from the market is seen as a move to explore synergies with Proton rather than focusing on running its own Malaysian operations.
The newly converted Proton Edar outlets will continue to provide existing Suzuki customers with aftersales and warranty related services (service centres will continue to carry Suzuki branding). Both organizations assured the usage of genuine Suzuki parts for service and maintenance.
Suzuki’s exit from the Malaysian market could be a part of a restructuring activity. The full scope of the arrangement with Proton is yet to be ascertained. If the partners decide to explore synergies, we could be seeing new Proton compact cars based on Suzuki platforms in the foreseeable future.