Tetsuya Oda, the Chief Executive Officer of MMM (Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia) has come out to ‘clear the air’ concerning the technical collaboration between their parent company MMC (Mitsubishi Motors Corporation) Japan with national car maker Proton Holdings Berhad.
He said that the result of the technical collaboration between the 2 car makers was the development of the recently launched Proton Inspira which was modeled after their widely popular Mitsubishi Lancer. This model was previously sold in Malaysia by MMM and apart from that, there are no other models from Mitsubishi which is being distributed by MMM currently is being considered. This include the latest models in MMM’s product line like the compact crossover Mitsubishi ASX and the Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback. This means that Proton will not be launching any new models in the future which would be modeled after the 2 models.
He also said that while many assumed that the Inspira is 95% the Lancer, it is in fact very different in many ways and that both models in comparison have their own traits. Therefore, it allows the companies to position their cars in different manners in the market. Furthermore, Oda said that Proton and Mitsubishi’s brands are catered to different segments of customers who have differing patterns and behaviours.
In Malaysia, the Lancer is distributed and sold as a CBU (Completely Built-Up) unit where the standards used in assembly and parts used have all met the global quality standards of the Japanese car giant known to be very stringent. Apart from that, it has also been manufactured accordingly to the highest standards of high-speed driving performance and handling in Europe, the highest American standards requirements and the built quality standards of the Japanese. Meanwhile, the Proton Inspira is rolled out through Proton’s Shah Alam plant in within a year of the launch will be made using 40% local parts.
Since the launch of the Inspira, many are predicting the it would dent Mitsubishi’s sales but Oda said that the company is upbeat about their position as they are now the top 4 non-national car brands in Malaysia. He also said that they are looking to expand their sales and service network of 54 service centres and 41 sales outlets where they are looking to expand to 45 in 2011.