Proton Is Going Global With Ambitious Export Plans

Six major Proton related international developments are to happen in the coming weeks. 

Despite the turbulent economy in this current year, Proton has had a reasonably good year when it comes to sales. Within its home market here, it has been raking in the sales records month after month. 

Perhaps what is more interesting however is the fact that Proton’s commercial success this year also extends to its overseas ventures. Thus far, the Malaysian automaker has reported a healthy 10.6% growth in export sales and has thus far doubled the number of cars exported as compared to the year before. Especially considering what a year it has been for the entire automotive industry, these figures are not something to be lightly. 

Saying that, the global ambitions of Proton from here on out looks to be much bigger than it already is currently. That is because, flush with cash from Chinese automotive conglomerate Geely, the Malaysian automaker has announced recently that it plans to significantly grow its export potential, with 6 major Proton related international developments to happen in just the coming few weeks alone. 

Among the 6 big export ventures Proton is seeing to in the next few weeks, the most headline grabbing is probably the news of the Proton X50 debuting in Brunei. The first export market debut for this recently launched compact crossover, the launch of the X50 in the tiny, oil-rich nation comes just a few months after the launch of the larger X70 over there. 

Proton X70 drive event 2020

Another two equally big export announcements that Proton will be making in the next couple of weeks pertains to the commencement of sales, and more impressively, CKD assembly of the Proton cars in Kenya and Pakistan. While no official word has been given thus far on which models will receive the local assembly treatment in these aforementioned countries, the word on the street is that both countries will be pumping out Saga models, with only the X70 to be rolling out of the Pakistani assembly line. 

Speaking of the Saga, rounding up the 6 Proton related export developments to come in the next few weeks is the virtual product launch of this particular facelifted Proton model in Bangladesh, Egypt and Nepal. It is worth noting here that while the Malaysian automaker already has a market presence in both the former two countries mentioned prior, the introduction of the Saga represents Proton’s debut into the Nepalese market. 

Since the export of Protons began with the original Saga back in 1989, over 405,000 units have made its way overseas. While this number is laughably small compared to the other big names in the industry, this might soon (hopefully) change under this ambitious export plan that the Malaysian automaker is currently implementing. 

PRESS RELEASE: While PROTON has continued to buck the local industry trend with steady growth in 2020, its export activities have also been able to sustain some momentum. PROTON’s export business has grown 10.6% so far this year despite global restrictions put in place to curb the coronavirus pandemic. As the company strives to meet strong local demand for its products in December, traditionally the best month for automotive sales, PROTON will also be growing its presence internationally thanks to an unprecedented launch schedule. 

As many as five market introductions will take place in the coming weeks with one marking the export market debut of the Proton X50, and another two signifying the kick-off for local assembly and sales of Proton vehicles in other markets. 

“While local market leadership is one of our targets, it is equally vital for the Proton brand to build up its presence internationally, representing both the company and Malaysia. This was part of the 10-year plan that was devised at the beginning of our strategic partnership with Geely,” said Dato’ Sri Syed Faisal Albar, Chairman of PROTON Holdings Berhad. 

“However, parts of the export plans were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as each country had different responses and restrictions. Still, thanks to our diligent work and the strong support of various government agencies, we are finally getting back on track. Therefore, in just a few short weeks, we will be announcing the commencement of CKD and sales operations in Kenya and Pakistan as well as the international market debut of the Proton X50 in Brunei,” he added. 

Aside from the aforementioned countries, Bangladesh and Egypt will also be hosting virtual product launches for the current Proton Saga this month. This will be followed by a similar launch to occur in Nepal just as the year draws to a close. 

Exports of PROTON cars began with the Proton Saga in 1989 and since then, 405,267 units have been sold in various markets globally. At the end of November 2020, the number of PROTON vehicles exported to other countries had already exceeded the total from the year before.

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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