Proton sold over 100,000 cars last year

The firm says the X70 boosted its overall sales with 4 updated models introduced last year

by RAHIMI YUNUS/ pic by TMR FILE

PROTON Holdings Bhd delivered 100,821 vehicles last year, almost a 56% jump compared to 2018 and the first since 2015 as the carmaker breached the 100,000 units mark.

The domestic carmaker 2019’s return among the top brands was largely driven by the popular X70 and Saga models. Proton, which is 49.9%-owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co Ltd, has an estimated market share of 16.7%, the highest by Proton since 2014.

The company is estimated to have secured the No 2 position in terms of total industry volume last year behind Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd.

Proton said the X70 boosted its overall sales with four updated models introduced last year — the Iriz, Persona, Saga and Exora — posted double-digit percentage increases in sales.

Proton CEO Dr Li Chunrong said the X70 and the Saga had been the two major contributors to Proton’s success in sales last year.

“We are humbled by the popularity of the Proton X70 and would like to say a big thank you to all our customers for their support, despite it being a brand new market segment for the company.

“As for the Saga, with over 41,000 bookings and counting, it remains as our core product and is a popular choice regardless of a buyer’s age, status and purchasing power, making it a car for all Malaysians,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Proton’s sales in December were the highest for the whole year, delivering 11,117 units, a 112% increase compared to the same month in 2018.

This was also the first time the company sold more than 11,000 cars in a month since July 2014.

The X70 maintained its position as a segment leader in the entire 2019 with a total of 26,331 units sold.

Sales for the facelifted Saga, the youngest model in Proton’s range, achieved 38,144 units last year, up 36% from 2018. The company’s B-segment family sedan, the Persona, grew by 29% to 21,876 units for the year.

Proton delivered 3,384 units of Persona in December, placing the Persona as the segment leader in December and is also the highest for the model since March 2012.

“While sales of the Persona were very strong following the launch of the updated model, the numbers posted in December show many are becoming increasingly aware of the outstanding features, practicality and value we offer in our family sedan. Proton is confident of maintaining these numbers in 2020, so the company has at least three sales leaders in their respective segments,” Li said.

Meanwhile, sales for Proton Iriz nearly doubled for the year and grew by 97% following the launch of the updated 2019 model in April.

The carmaker’s seven-seat MPV, the Exora, recorded a 40% sales growth in sales, ending 2019 as the best-selling C-segment MPV in Malaysia.

Li said Proton’s internal quality audit Global Customer Product Audit score was 1,190 points at the end of 2019, an improvement of over sixfold compared to 2017 when the company first started using the measurement.

“This is also a better quality score than Geely currently has, proving the success of our efforts,” Li added.

Proton now has 120 3S/4S (sales, service, spare parts and body paint shop) outlets operating nationwide, the widest network in Malaysia among all automotive brands.