Proton shows early signs of recovery in May

The performance in May is said to be attributed to 4 models being the bestsellers, ie the X70, Saga, Persona and Exora

by RAHIMI YUNUS/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

PROTON Holdings Bhd has seen an early sign of recovery after resuming operations in May by delivering 5,676 vehicles that captured an estimated 23.3% of market share.

The volume registered last month marked an improvement of 73.2% compared to March 2020 when the Movement Control Order (MCO) started, forcing non-essential businesses including Proton to close temporarily.

During the same month in 2019, the national carmaker sold 10,611 units or 46.5% higher than this year’s May.

Proton’s year-to-date (YTD) volume, however, outperformed the industry amid the unprecedented challenging time when it fell 23.3% compared to a 48.7% estimated reduction for the total industry volume over the first five months this year.

“The MCO and Conditional MCO were an unprecedented event in Malaysia’s history and affected every aspect of the national economy. The automotive industry is now moving towards recovery, but as expected, the first month has been a period of adjustment as we adapt to the ‘new normal’ regarding all aspects of our operations.”

“Proton is thankful our sales have not contracted as much as expected and we also need to say thank you to our vendors who worked tirelessly to ensure we could regain our footing as quickly as possible,” CEO Dr Li Chunrong said in a statement yesterday.

Li said it will take a few more months to accurately gauge the market conditions, but the company is confident that it will see steady growth for the rest of the year.

Proton remains the country’s second most popular car brand with a YTD market share of 21.1%, in line with targets set for the year.

The performance in May was said to be attributed to four models being the bestsellers in their respective market segments.

The carmaker’s flagship SUV, Proton X70, retained its position as the bestselling C-segment SUV in the country and also the bestselling SUV overall cumulatively for 2020.

Last month, the five-seater was upgraded with an N95 cabin filter called the Proton-Intelligent Air Purifier System.

The new feature is also offered to current X70 owners as a replacement to their dust and pollen filter.

Besides the X70’s success, Proton Saga was recognised as the bestselling car in Malaysia in May, which also meant it was the most popular A-segment last month.

Persona was also the bestseller in the B-segment sedan category, while Exora remained at the top of the C-segment MPV market.

This month, Proton said it will continue to offer better value to entice car buyers.

Proton X70 buyers will be eligible for zero-rate financing for the first year, subject to a set of terms and conditions.

Beginning June 10, the company will also be introducing a reward programme for frontliners, specifically nurses, doctors, police, and staff of the Health Ministry and Home Affairs Ministry.

The programme called the Credit Shield Protection Programme offers eligible buyers of any Proton models free personal insurance coverage of up to RM50,000 for five years covering death, accidental death and permanent disability.

“The sacrifices of Malaysia’s Covid-19 frontliners can never be adequately compensated, but we hope our gesture will help demonstrate our gratitude for the work they did.”

“As for the financing package for the X70, it will help make Malaysia’s only premium SUV more affordable and is now an even better ownership proposition thanks to the introduction of the N95 cabin filter,” Li said.