Proton considers CKD operations in Egypt

by LYDIA NATHAN / TMR file pix

Proton Holdings Bhd and its partner in Egypt, Alpha Group Ezz Elarab, are mulling over the possibility of starting complete knock-down (CKD) operations in the country.

The move is being deliberated to overcome challenges arising from the gradual reductions in import tax for European cars, which will lead to lower prices and consumers shifting their purchase preferences.

“Establishing CKD operations, however, means Proton will be able to take advantage of local assembly incentives and Egypt could be used as a regional hub for producing cars to be sold in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region,” Proton said in a statement last Friday.

The carmaker noted that the strategy requires significant steps to be taken, including feasibility studies, to ensure it makes economic sense for all parties involved.

“The models we have launched in Egypt will kick off Proton’s rebranding in this market. Sustenance activities will then have to follow in order to keep the sales momentum going — and after that, we are hopeful that the

CKD operations will start,” said Proton director of international sales Steven Xu Yuan in the same statement.

“CKD in Egypt wouldn’t be limited to just the local market as we would be looking at meeting demand all throughout the MENA countries,” he added.

The remarks were made following the unveiling of Proton’s new additions to the Egyptian market at its distributor’s newly refurbished 4S (sales, services, spare parts and spray painting) outlet in Smart Village, Abbou Rawash, Giza.

The launch was officiated by Xu, together with Alpha Group owner Hisham Ezz Elarab, and witnessed by Ambassador of Malaysia to Egypt Mohd Haniff Abd Rahman.

Proton said a total of 246 cars consisting of mainly left-hand drive Proton Saga and Proton Exora models arrived in Egypt last month and will be sent to seven branches and distributors in the market.

“Distribution will be handled by the sole importer for Proton cars in Egypt, Alpha Group, which is also the first company to carry Proton’s latest corporate identity in a showroom outside of Malaysia.”

Proton targets to sell 1,400 units for 2019, and is confident that the goal is achievable.

Hisham said he is happy with the arrivals of the newer models and now plans to re-establish the Proton brand following the changes taking place in Malaysia.

“Proton and our Egyptian importer have to work closely to ensure their market needs are met when addressing the product and pricing fit to buyers here. If we get that right and deliver cars in a timely manner, then we can be successful,” Xu further said.