PROTON Holdings Bhd's new controlling owner will be known as early as next week. And it is...
Please hold your thought. It's just the writer's wishful thinking.
With persistent rumours and excitement over the takeover of Proton having sent its share price to a new high in recent years, one can be forgiven if one gets carried away.
Indeed, many love to see positive changes in Proton's ownership and direction after some 25 years under the gambit of several government-linked entities, including Petronas.
The automotive sector has vastly evolved from 10 to 15 years ago. The number of real car manufacturers has also dwindled.
Rising costs and a tougher market landscape have prompted some car makers to seek merger and acquisition, and strategic alliance.
In terms of technology, there are now more semiconductor contents, making cars smarter yet more complex and expensive to maintain. Fuel-friendly electric and hybrid vehicles are becoming more pronounced.
Credit to our national car project because Proton is still able to hold its ground since its inception in the mid-1980s, although it is no longer the country's number one in sales terms.
But do we want Proton to be just as it is now, seling the bulk of its cars domestically with very little export exposure? Or do we wish for Proton to export its output as much as its local market volume?
In other words, do we not want Proton to be a true global player, in line with its largest shareholder Khazanah Nasional Bhd's aspiration to create world-class entities among its group of companies (read CIMB, Axiata and Parkway, among others)?
There's nothing wrong with being a "jaguh kampung" (local champion), but surely one should challenge oneself to be world class.
The past and present owners and management of Proton have worked hard to build and develop the company. But maybe, it is time for a new team to work its magic.
If you have read this far, I would like to rectify my earlier statement. We may hear an announcement on Proton's ownership change from one of its suitors some time next week.
But will it be UMW Holdings Bhd, Naza Group, Sime Darby Bhd or DRB-HICOM Bhd?