Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Automotive: Proton and its 'creative' family day.

There was a recent post on Proton's Family Day in Paul Tan which sparked a heated argument between those who are for the National brand and those who are obviously not.

I understand the intention of this 'Family Day' and personally, I'm rooting for Proton's current leader, Managing Director Datuk Syed Zainal Abidin. He's been making some changes (slow, nevertheless with proven results) and it looks like it's improving the brand and most importantly, the marketing of it. But having said that, when I went through the photos posted on Proton employees' concept cars, I held my breath. And then when I went through the 197 comments supporting and bashing these amateur attempts, I almost died.

I wanted to put my two cents worth (being Malaysian, I have to live up to my Kiasu-ism you know), but before an online riot breaks out in Paul Tan's blog, I think he disabled the comment function. Smart move.

So I'm gonna put my two cents worth here. Well... it's MY blog ;)

As I mentioned above, I am rooting for the MD, and I'm rooting for this brand. We're the FIRST in this part of the world to have manufactured a car. Albeit the model took 20 years for FMC. We've had a lot of teething problems especially on R&D, product design, marketing and sales, customer service - basically the whole works. But like it or not, it's been around for over 20 years. That's an achievement. Some of the previous governance was lacklustre (sometimes bordering stupidity), but I'm optimistic about the new change (even if it takes another 20 years). This Family Day thing... well, it's a start.

BUT. I have to admit. The creative concepts while it's an applauded attempt, really looked too amateurish with almost zero practicality in usage, sad to say. I know I know, these people put a lot of effort in building the concepts, but hey, the truth hurts. While I think the attempt is applauded, it tells us one thing. We, Malaysians, really really really need to focus on functional design - aesthetic combined with practicality. It's really about time for us to jump out of our 'tempurung' and get bashed up nicely. We need to wake up, face these harsh judgement, grit our teeth and challenge ourselves to improve. We need funds. We need to send our people to the best practical education they can ever receive. We need a sound talent management strategy. We need to protect our investments so that these people do not jump ship to other countries and forget their peanut shells. We need to motivate them into being leaders so that while they are creating innovative designs here, they in turn will nurture and multiply the cause.

The ROOT of all those bashing comments in Paul Tan's blog is because of the limited eye sight and exposure given and received by the locals. When we increase our view towards the horizon, we increase the possibility of achieving more. So this is the first step, let see the second.

While the write-up was neutral, it's funny to see the post categorized under 'Laughs'. Ha ha, that's a good one Paul, almost missed that.

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