Proton to return to South African market in September 2022


Up till 2001, Proton had entered many markets around the world, with over 210,000 cars exported to 51 countries. However, after that, the number fell and although recognizing that exports were vital as its protection in the home market diminished and competition increased, Proton did not have a strong export business. The number of exported vehicles dwindled to only 248 units in 2017 but over the past few years, the Malaysian carmaker has been slowly rebuilding its presence overseas and even having models assembled in some countries. Volumes are seeing a gradual upturn and last year, 3,018 Proton vehicles were exported, more than double the number in 2020. For 2022, the International Sales Department is targeting to grow export sales exponentially to 10,000 units. As it has a bigger focus on righthand-drive models, it has obviously given more attention to countries where motorists drive on the left side, like us. The latest new market is South Africa, although it is not unfamiliar to Proton as the brand had a presence there up till 2012. It will return with the X50 and X70 this September, followed by the latest Saga. It will be represented by the CMH (Combined Motor Holdings) Group, an investment holding company which has been active in the motor business since 1987. Proton joins a long list of global brands that CMH represents, some of which are Ford, Chery, Honda, Toyota, Suzuki, Mahindra, Peugeot and Citroen. SUVs to grow export sales Proton’s growth will be achieved not only by entering more new markets but also increasing local assembly (CKD) operations overseas. Currently, the carmaker has CKD operations in Pakistan, Kenya and Bangladesh with Sri Lanka set to begin in the second half of 2022. The company currently exports cars to 13 overseas markets, with South Africa becoming the fourteenth one. As a percentage of Malaysia’s overall vehicle exports, Proton’s numbers are becoming increasingly prominent. From 12.8% of total exports in 2019, the number grew to 30.2% in 2020 and hit 60.9% in 2021. That put the brand at the No.1 position, an achievement in spite of the global pandemic. Proton SUVs help brand image Proton’s improved model range has helped in export sales, especially as it has the two SUVs jointly developed with Geely. The SUV segment is the most active globally and the sales success enjoyed in Malaysia by the X50 and X70 has been largely replicated in other markets. This helps to establish the brand, paving the way for more models to be exported. “Our new model range offers advanced features that are on par with many competitors from other brands. In many of our markets, the Proton X50 and Proton X70 sit near the top of their class in terms of specifications yet are sold at prices equivalent to or less than their direct rivals. This helps to draw in the upper echelon of local car-buyers and helps build brand equity in these markets, making it easier for our other products to then be accepted in the future,” said Steven Xu, Director of International Sales. “PROTON’s long-term goals require exports to play a major role to grow the company’s overall sales as the annual Total Industry Volume in Malaysia is expected to remain flat. So, we are exploiting the strength of our new products, our brand and even the links Malaysia has with other countries to establish a foothold in many new markets. This is then bolstered by establishing CKD operations where possible, which also helps to grow local economies,” he added. Assembly of Proton Saga in Pakistan has started, to be followed by X70 The post Proton to return to South African market in September 2022 appeared first on News and reviews on Malaysian cars, motorcycles and automotive lifestyle.  » Read More