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Discussion Starter #21
Proton Plays China Card - from thetycho.com

Many motor industry observers were puzzled when Proton announced a deal to export its Gen2 to China. The question uppermost in most people's mind was "Why would a Chinese car company want to buy Proton cars for resale in its domestic China market?"

It's no secret that the car would be re-branded but the depths of the re-branding exercise were not plumbed.

To get the perspective, it must be remembered that there are about 200 car brands in China, domestic as well as imports and joint ventures. The total industry volume is seven million passenger car sales a year, 8.9 million if commercial vehicles are included.

The picture becomes clearer when you understand that Proton's importer is China's biggest maker of luxury buses and high-end trucks.

Yes, this company, the Jinhua City, Zhejiang Province-based Young- man Auto Company (Youngman), has a joint venture with Stuttgart- based Neoplan Bus, widely regarded as a premium coach designer and manufacturer with an output of 2,000 buses a year, occupying 70 per cent of the luxury bus market in China.

Youngman also has a joint venture to make MAN trucks and this is not surprising since this is the parent company of Neoplan, buses of which are popular with major airport authorities.

What's important is that Youngman's boss, the self-made Pang Qing Nian who didn't finish schooling, never mind not speaking or understanding English, believes in the power of branding.

"There are many good manufacturers out there, but to be a great manufacturer we need to do something that can change the world," the Youngman chairman was reported to have said at the signing of a joint venture with Santa Rosa, US-based Zero Air Pollution (ZAP) electric vehicle company, last February.

"I have built Youngman group based upon three key principles: quality product, technology and brand."

To answer the puzzle, it's all about branding. The Proton Gen2's design and engineering has major inputs from Lotus Engineering.

So the Proton Gen2 has a completely new brand in China, and this brand is EuropeStar. The Gen2 was supposed to have been called Racer, but this name was taken, and instead substituted with RCR.

On the boot end is the most important badge of all - Lotus Engineered.

Lotus therefore is the 200-something brand in China, one of the most brand-conscious nations in the world. And it's a very powerful brand too because people still remember the awesome history of Lotus founder Colin Chapman, his seven Formula One victories, and the current Lotus products like the new Europa, the Exige and the venerable Elise.

And it's very logical too because Youngman pays US$50 (RM156) a badge royalty for the Lotus Engineered badge. This is all money in the bag for Proton, the owner of Lotus.

The game doesn't end here though. Lotus engineers are retained to consult the Chinese carmaker and the mission now is to improve the interior fittings - the quality of the plastics.

"We sell about 30 RCRs a month and the customers like the ride and handling. What they don't like is the interior. Our buyers compare with Toyota and other Japanese imports," said Wang Ping, sales deputy general manager of the Hengzhou Kang permanent auto sale service limited company.

"Our solution then was to provide leather upholstery. We're working on improving the interior." The RCR is priced between US$17,800 and US$20,500.

Youngman has initially appointed 40 dealers to support the launch in terms of managing its sales, service and spare parts operations for the EuropeStar brand in China.

The logic of working with Youngman and the developing of the China market had earlier been expounded by an industry sage.

At that time, the talks with Volkswagen had just been declared over, and this wise one said that one good way for Proton would be to develop the China market, and to do a reverse take-over, i.e. sell suitable Proton models to China, localise the content and then import the high quality, low-cost components for the Malaysian market.

Towards this end, the first step was for Youngman to source high quality interior components from manufacturers in China. Once this supply chain was established, Proton would import these high quality, low-cost parts.

In areas where Malaysia still had advantages in volume and quality, for example engine heads, Youngman would continue to import.

The next Proton model for the China market is the Persona and this will also be rebranded EuropeStar. The specific model name is to be announced.

Lotus will provide Youngman with consultants to help with design work for several new models that will be launched under a new brand over the next five years. Lotus has already worked on projects with Youngman spanning the last two and a half years, and now the firm will help with the establishment of an all new brand.

Youngman is not the only Chinese manufacturer calling on the talents of Lotus Engineering. The company is already working with several clients in both China and India including Nanjing Auto, which will be re-launching the MG brand.

Last September, Youngman signed a joint venture agreement with ZAP to manufacture, market and distribute electric and hybrid vehicles for the passenger car, truck and bus markets. The new joint venture company will also focus on the development and manufacturing of electric charging.

The strategic partnership with ZAP will allow the joint venture company to bring highway capable electric and hybrid vehicles to the market like the ZAP-X crossover SUV.

"This is the most significant relationship that ZAP has ever entered into," said ZAP chief executive officer Steve Schneider.

"This joint venture will provide a platform for both ZAP and Youngman to focus each other's strengths to develop solutions that have the potential to transform the industry. Our energy will not stop at the vehicle engineering level. Using renewable energy to provide a cost effective recharging infrastructure to customers, we can change the world, one vehicle at a time," said Schneider.

The Youngman Automotive Group Co. Ltd

* Based in Jinhua City, Zhejiang, China

* Controls 70 per cent of the luxury motor coach market

* 1 million square foot manufacturing facility in Jinhua

* 4,000 employees, 700 R&D staff

* 7 new vehicle factories under development

* With new production facilities, capacity to produce 200,000 vehicles per year

* July 2007 - Youngman signed contract with Malaysia's Proton
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Europa RCR to be made in China as of August.

The current Europecostar RCR (thats racer) is a CKD import from Malaysia’s Proton, these kits are then assembled in China and sold to Chinese consumers. Europestar sales are currently very low, around 30 cars a month, according to a previous article we posted, but Youngman appear to be aiming for sales of 30,000 vehicles in the first year. Youngman appear to be working hard to establish a brand using limited funds and ability. Hopefuly the Europestar brand will be able to increase their dealer networks, and product line ups over the coming months.

The Europestar RCR will be domestically made in China from August onwards, which will also see the Europestar brand increased to several models rather than the rather loneley looking RCR. Future models include MPVs and SUVs ranging from 1.6l to 3.0l displament.
Youngman will start to locally build Lotus RCR in August this year, Chairman of China's Youngman Automobile Group said on Monday.

This is the first time ever the Lotus brand car has been built in China, said Pang Qingnian, adding that the first batch of imported RCR race cars have already been sold now.

Pang said the automaker is in no rush to develop an own brand car as long as it owns the right to use it.

Lotus RCR was jointly launched by Chinese automaker Youngman and United Kingdom automaker Lotus in China in January. It is powered by a 1.6 Liter Campro engine. Its maximum output is 112 hp/6000 rpm and its maximum torque is 149 Nm/4000.

The automaker said it plans to sell 30,000 units of RCRs this year. In the next few years the automaker will launch 8 Lotus models with an engine size of between 1.6 litres and 3.0 litres, including the sport car, sedan, SVU and MPV.
sources: China Car Times and Gasgoo.com
 

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Discussion Starter #24
Youngman-Lotus RCR to be China made in year end.

June 5, 2008 - China's Youngman Automobile Group, formerly a commercial vehicle OEM only, will delay its local production of the Proton Gen.2-based Europestar Lotus RCR hatchback from August to December this year. The delay caused by some policy requirements has also put the race car’s current China sales at a disadvantage.

Chinese automaker Youngman Auto and UK automaker Lotus jointly launched the first race car RCR in China in January this year. The model, which is based on the platform of Gen.2 produced by Lotus, is priced at 129,800 yuan ($18,700) to 139,800 (20,537). The Chinese automaker said it had spent over 2 billion yuan developing this model. The vehicle is also referred to by the company as the 'Youngman-Lotus RCR', which has been well received in the Chinese market.

The car was originally scheduled for local production in China in August. But now the car has not been permitted yet by China's environmental protection authorities, and the VINs (Vehicle Identification Numbers) of all cars imported to China have to be modified. As a result, buyers cannot get a license for the Youngman-Lotus RCR (like other new imported cars) until later this month. This has also affected the sales of the race car and delayed its local production to December. However, Youngman Auto said the car will be assembled in China in July.

The race car is powered by a 1.6 Liter Campro engine. Its maximum output is 112 hp/6000 rpm and its maximum torque is 149 Nm/4000. The car can accelerate to 100km/h in 10.5 second and its maximum speed can reach 190km/h. Europestar first offered the 1.6 model in China with either an automatic or manual gearbox to choose from.

At the 2006 Beijing auto show, China's Youngman Group signed a strategic cooperation agreement with British automaker Lotus.
From:Gasgoo.com
 

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Discussion Starter #27
Youngman to debut Persona at Guangzhou show.

November 12, 2008 - Malaysian carmaker Proton has recently launched its another sedan model Persona, and its Chinese partner Youngman Lotus will expand its product lineup by building the Chinese version of the Proton Persona, which is to debut at the upcoming 2008 Guangzhou auto show next week.

Zhejiang Jinhua-based Youngman Lotus is a joint venture between Youngman Auto and British Lotus Engineering, an affiliate of Proton. The Proton Persona model will have its Chinese edition named "Jingyue," to be specially built by Youngman Lotus for the Chinese market. The Jingyue sedan model will be launched on November 18 at the Guangzhou auto show.

The first batch of the Persona / Jingyue model, now available for ordering, will be delivered to the market at the end of this month. The price of the car is not disclosed yet, but customers can order it by paying a deposit of 2,000 yuan ($293) at Youngman Lotus 4S stores. Customers who are interested in the Proton brand can go to the Guangzhou show for an early look at Jingyue model.

The Proton Person is powered by the Lotus 1.6-liter gasoline engine, mated with the five-speed manual transmission or four-speed automatic transmission. Its Chinese edition shares many features and configurations with the Europestar Lotus RCR ("Jingsu" in Chinese) hatchback introduced by Youngman Lotus earlier this year.

Youngman Auto, formerly a commercial vehicle OEM only, has decided to enter the passenger vehicle market by introducing and producing its partners' models first. Its production of the Proton Gen.2-based Europestar Lotus RCR hatchback has been delayed from August to December this year due to policy requirements.
source: Gasgoo.com
 

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Discussion Starter #30
December 8, 2008 - Chinese carmaker Youngman Auto saw the Lotus RCR model rolls off line on December 6 at its Guizhou facility, said xinhuanet.com today. This marks the Chinese carmaker's capability to assemble and produce this Lotus model.

The Guizhou base, former Yunque Auto, was invested by Zhejiang Jinhua-based Youngman Automobile together with China National Guizhou Aviation Industry (Group) Co in 2004 and has started making some Lotus cars before Youngman's Jinan base is completed in 2009 as scheduled. Its production of the Europestar Lotus RCR ("Jingsu" in Chinese) was delayed from August to December due to policy requirements.

The Europestar RCR model for Chinese production has been developed jointly by Youngman Auto, Guizhou Aviation and British Lotus Engineering under the aegis of Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional Bhd, with total investment of 2 billion yuan ($293 million). Youngman Auto began to market the Lotus RCR, a smart roadster coupe based on the 2nd-generation Persona sedan model of Lotus Proton.

Youngman Lotus is a joint venture between Youngman Auto and British Lotus Engineering, an affiliate of Proton. Another Lotus car, the Proton Persona sedan model ("Jingyue" in Chinese), will also be specially built by Youngman Lotus for the Chinese market. The Jingyue sedan model was launched on November 18 at the Guangzhou auto show.

Youngman Auto, formerly a commercial vehicle OEM, is entering the passenger vehicle market by making its British partner's models at first. The company will design eight models jointly with Lotus Engineering over the next four years and produce them at the Guizhou base. The models will include the family sedan, Coupe, SUV, MPV and others.

source: gasgoo.com
 

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Re: Youngman to sell Proton badged as Europestar in China

Good to see Guizhou Aviation's auto plant up and running again. Looking at the website one would think that the Subaru-based WOW (Skylark) is still being produced there.
And better still for Guizhou, this looks like it's just the beginning, with another eight models to come. It's good to see Youngman finally getting the ball rolling in a province that can use a boost to its employment rolls. But the timing may be a problem what with this downturn of the economy and all. I hope it defies the odds and does well.

There was a time when Youngman planned production of the Iranian Samand sedan at this location.
 

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Discussion Starter #32
China-made Lotus RCR to go on sale in March 2009.

Chinese carmaker Youngman Auto had its self-developed Lotus RCR ("Jingsu" in Chinese) model rolling off line earlier this month at its Guizhou plant. This first Lotus-brand model made in China is set to go on sale in March 2009, at a price possibly below 100,000 yuan ($14,700), reported Jiangnan Times today citing a Youngman insider.

The Europestar RCR model for Chinese production was developed jointly by Youngman Auto and British Lotus Engineering, with total investment of 2 billion yuan ($293 million). At the 2008 Guangzhou auto show last month, Youngman Auto displayed the RCR as a Lotus model, a smart roadster coupe based on the 2nd-generation Persona sedan model of Lotus Proton.

Youngman Lotus is a joint venture between Youngman Auto and British Lotus Engineering which is an affiliate of Proton. Another Lotus car, the Proton Persona sedan model ("Jingyue"), will also be specially built by Youngman Lotus for the Chinese market. The Jingyue sedan model was unveiled on November 18 at the Guangzhou show.

While it imported the first RCR sedan in January this year for trial sales in the Chinese market, Youngman started to build its manufacturing bases in Guizhou, Tai'an (of Shandong), Ji'nan and Hangzhou. Construction of the Ji'nan and Hangzhou bases will be completed early next year to bring Youngman Auto's annual production capacity to 450,000 units.

Youngman Auto, formerly a commercial vehicle OEM, is entering the passenger vehicle market by making its British partner's models at first. The company will design eight models jointly with Lotus Engineering over the next four years and produce them at the four bases. The models will include the family sedan, Coupe, SUV, MPV and others.

With the Lotus RCR off line and in market first, other self-developed Youngman Lotus models are expected to be made and launched in succession starting 2009. The Proton Persona "Jingyue" sedan will go to market immediately after the RCR "Jingsu" model.
Europestar is essentially China’s newest autobrand, but many people havent heard of it, nor will they be able to buy one. Europestar was created between Youngman, a Shandong based bus maker, and Proton, the Malaysian car maker. Proton was set to supply the cars, and Youngman was to create the brand ‘Europestar’. The brand hasnt faired too well as of yet, probably due to the very small dealer network which seems to focus on interior Chinese cities, rather than the boom towns of eastern China. Sales of the Europestar RCR (Nee Proton Gen2 Racer) are not so high, in fact, that they are suprisingly low at around 30 cars per month.

Poor sales could be attributed to its small network, and also to the high price that they are asking for the RCR. The RCR is sent from Malaysia in CKD (Complete Knock Down) form, its basically a big box of car bits that are then assembled in Youngman’s factories in China. The price of the Europestar RCR is currently around 130,000rmb depending on model, which is essentially on par with the popular Ford Focus, or the Honda Civic hatch, even the engineering by Lotus badges on the back of the RCR (For which Lotus receives $50USD for each car!) have failed to win the car many buyers.

However, from next year the RCR is to be built in China, which may see the price drop to sub 100,000rmb which would surely bring a great deal of visitors into the few Eurostar dealers. The RCR maycurrently be the only model under the Europestar name, but it is soon to be joined by the Proton Persona, which will also see Chinese production. The joint venture between Proton/Lotus and Youngman was kick started with 2 billion RMB in investment, Youngman is currently working on two more factories for the Europestar brand, and soon hopes to have a production facility to produce up to 450,000 cars per year. This shows that Europestar, despite being China’s newest car company, has some grand plans for the Chinese marketplace, and possibly even the export market.

Youngman and Lotus have plans for eight new models, including MPV’s, and SUV’s.
gasgoo.com and China Car Times
 

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Re: Youngman to sell Proton badged as Europestar in China

Europestar to sell Proton Exora MPV. The van has been seen testing it in northern China, maybe around Jinan where Youngman is based, according to China Car Times. It is expected to hit the Chinese market later this year.




And some trivia. Proton originated in the 1980's and is, I'm pretty sure a state owned enterprise. all of the early models were based on Mitsubishi models of the period, such as the Lancer. More were introduced and some were even sold, are are still being sold in Australian and for a time, New Zealand markets. Proton has definately come a long way since then.
 

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Discussion Starter #36 (Edited)
Europestar domestically produced RCR seen in China.

Europestar, China’s latest brand to hit the streets have had their domestically made Proton Gen2 RCR spotted out in China. The Chinese made RCR looks identical to the Malaysian made model, except for its updated nose.

The Chinese built model is expected to see a drop in price over the coming months. Previously the RCR was produced in Malaysia, and shipped to China in CKD form which Youngman would then assemble in their auto factory in Guizhou.

Youngman plan to expand their dealerships aggresively over the coming months to include tier one and tier two cities.





source: China Car Times
 

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Re: Youngman to sell Proton badged as Europestar in China

Kiwi Guy, the registration of the Youngman MPV is Malaysian. Impossible to drive with it in China. These photos (paultan.org, a Malaysian site) are taken in Malaysia, not in China.
 

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Re: Youngman to sell Proton badged as Europestar in China

OMG! So sorry about that mistake. Thanks for pointing that out erik. I'll find some pics of it IN China. But Malaysian plates and Chinese plates look very similar.
 
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