Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Proton Part II

Yesterday, I popped up unannounced at the Sime Darby Healthcare Toastmasters meeting, and still, I was given the role of evaluator for Shirley Bak who was doing her Advanced speech. Stephen Fernando who was also present (he was the General Evaluator) gave a 20-minute info-talk on how to craft a humorous speech, and which I found to be very useful – more so, when the Humorous Speech contest is just around the corner. Other senior Toastmasters who came to lend support included Yeoh Cheng Lim (Taman Indrahana) and Emil Anthony (MAS Mawar).

Today’s The Sun carried the Proton story in page 13. Proton chairperson Mohd Nadzmi Mohd Salleh was quoted to have said that Proton cars are now exported to 25 countries in key markets from the UK to the Middle East, and across Southeast Asia and Australasia. But it is interesting to read the Wikipedia postings. In 2009, Proton only sold 960 cars with a reduced 0.05% market share in the UK, and even if we try to stretch our imagination, it cannot be considered a key market at all. The company has also exited from Ireland, New Zealand, Trinidad & Tobago, and Philippines – although I am aware that information may be suspect – it is Wikipedia after all.

From a marketing point of view, I identify ‘key markets’ as the following: USA – indisputably, the largest single market in the world, representing roughly 25% of the total world market for all products and services; Japan, being the second largest in the world; and Germany, being the largest single country market in Europe (Keegan & Green, 2005, p 13). Granted that this info may be dated – we cannot after all, ignore other huge markets like China and India – nevertheless they represent huge market potential for Proton, if only the company has the courage to venture into these challenging markets. Still, it is noteworthy to mention that even in a competitive market like Australia – with more than 46 brands selling more than 250 models – Proton is ostensibly doing well because of the popularity of the Proton S16, Australia's lowest priced car (launched in November 2009) – the only new four door sedan available in Australia for less than $16,000 and outpoints many low cost hatches and three door models by offering a 1.6 liter engine and great equipment levels (Webpage http://www.pressportal.com.au/news/157/ARTICLE/5344/2010-02-16.html, posted February 16, 2010). As I am fond of saying to my students, using price as a strategy is rarely able to provide a sustainable competitive advantage to the organization. There will always be somebody, somewhere trying to screw you on price. It happened in the UK to Proton, it will happen again in Australia, you can bet on it!

And just in case, I am accused of Proton-bashing, let me inform readers that I do know what I am talking about and I have the right to say my piece because I am a taxpayer. Plus the fact that I am currently driving a Proton Satria Neo!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

[做人難,人難做,難做人] 人.事的艱困與磨難,是一種考驗!要以樂觀歡喜之心,很珍惜地過每一天!^^............................................................