“I don’t think having two Malaysian car companies can be sustainable. Proton and Perodua have to become one company. A merger will create a strong company and help it to better compete with bigger, foreign rivals,” he told the Malaysian Business Times.
Rhys, a director of the Centre for Automotive Industry Research at the UK’s Cardiff University, is currently in Kuala Lumpur.
Rhys said Proton has a bigger responsibility to become a much bigger car player in the mass market.
He believes a period of not more than seven years would be enough time for Proton and Perodua to prepare themselves for full and open competition.
“I don’t think Proton has the luxury of a long period of protection. The world is different. It has got to prepare itself for sustainability,” he added.
“Malaysia could become one of the best locations for making vehicles in ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations).
“And it does not have to be the only one because in the European Union, for example, you can make cars in the UK, Spain, Italy and Germany,” he said.