Continuing its journey to reach its long-term goal of being the preeminent automotive brand in Malaysia, national carmaker PROTON is collaborating with AAPICO Hitech Public Company Limited (Aapico) via its subsidiary, Advance Vehicle Engineering Global Sdn Bhd (AVEE Global), to produce dies, jigs, hot stamping parts, body assembled parts and chassis components. The collaboration will see Aapico acquiring 60 per cent of AVEE Global from PROTON with the latter retaining a 40 per cent share in the company that will be renamed as Aapico Avee Sdn. Bhd.
The partnership, which was formalised on 26 June 2023, will see Aapico, one of Thailand’s largest auto parts companies, making an initial investment of RM40 million into AVEE Global’s 20-acre facility with plans for further expansion to cater to the growing demand for PROTON vehicles and the overall automotive sector. Another RM100 million in investment is planned for 2024, for plant extensions and the acquisition of new machinery.
The operational manufacturing facility will soon be ramping up its production volume with new products in the pipeline. Bringing its vast experience and expertise, Aapico will be managing operations and introducing new technology applications to produce better quality parts, improve production and cost efficiency. The future expansion will also see the development of human capital with more jobs being created and attracting highly skilled talents to the country.
Yeap Swee Chuan, President & CEO of Aapico Hitech Public Company Limited said, “Aapico is taking the opportunity to enter the auto parts manufacturing sector in Malaysia at this right time, with promising growth expected in the automotive industry led by strong demand for PROTON vehicles and further supported by strong economic growth. We aim to bring our expertise and manufacturing technology into the partnership and deliver world class auto parts to PROTON and support their expansion plans in both the domestic and export market.”
For PROTON, the JV further strengthens the company’s ambitions to become a major player in the ASEAN automotive market. By leveraging on Aapico’s economies of scale and investment initiatives and combining it with PROTON’s own existing technologies in areas such as hot press forming of body parts, the company hopes to be able to make a quantum leap to power it to the forefront of one of the fastest growing automotive regions in the world.
Gracing the event was guest of honour YB Senator Tengku Datuk Seri Utama Zafrul bin Tengku Abdul Aziz, Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry to witness the joint venture announcement by Tan Sri Syed Faisal Albar, Chairman of PROTON, and Yeap Swee Chuan, President & CEO of Aapico Hitech Public Company Limited. Also present at the event was Dr Li Chunrong, CEO of PROTON, and Roslan Abdullah, Deputy CEO of PROTON.
The investment is in line with the Ministry’s efforts to generate sustainable economic growth, increase competitiveness and create innovative and high skilled employment opportunities in the workforce, particularly in the manufacturing sector where the automotive industry and related sectors play a significant role in contributing towards employment and to Malaysia’s GDP.
The Aapico-PROTON strategic partnership is Aapico’s second venture in Malaysia’s auto parts sector. Earlier this year, the Thai company signed a joint venture agreement with Purem, one of the largest exhaust systems suppliers globally. With a RM30 million initial investment, Aapico holds 49 per cent ownership while Purem holds 51 per cent of Purem Aapico Sdn Bhd, which will produce exhaust systems and will begin supply to PROTON in Q3 this year.
Yeap added, “We hope that these initial two investments will be the start of our long-term partnership with the national carmaker as we play a small part to support PROTON’s role as a catalyst for developing the country’s automotive ecosystem.”
Prior to this, Aapico’s presence in Malaysia was through the company’s car dealership business where it owns and operates six car dealers in Malaysia including four PROTON dealers.