And what doesn’t bode well – according to Malaysia’s Star newspaper – is the prediction from the OSK Research automotive analysis group, which suggests that Proton will face more of the same as a result of the “branding and marketing costs” brought on Group Lotus’ involvement as the title sponsor of the Renault F1 team.
Just a year after posting an RM80 million profit, Proton reported a third quarter net loss of RM60.1 million and a 9% revenue loss.
Even Dr Mahathir Mohamad, a Proton advisor and the former Malaysian Prime Minister, has acknowledged the results and their causes.
“[Proton is] actually profitable but its profit has been trimmed because of the losses incurred by Lotus,” he is quoted by the Bernama news agency.
Proton shareholders might be forgiven for wondering whether it would be better for Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar to concentrate on the miracles he will need to make his grand plans (to turn Group Lotus into a profitable entity with the same pulling power as Ferrari) come true.
One wonders how much longer the Malaysian government will want to keep bankrolling this exercise…
[Original image via Sutton Images]