Locally assembled Proton X50 rolls off production line

by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN / pic by BERNAMA

PROTON Holdings Bhd’s second SUV X50 has rolled off the production line at Tanjung Malim, Perak, on Tuesday, about 20 months after the launch of its successful C-segment SUV X70.

The X50 is the second all-new product to result from the partnership between Proton and China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co Ltd, as the local carmaker seeks to expand its range of SUV offerings.

The pricing for its range was not disclosed in Proton’s release on Tuesday.

Built on the group’s B-segment modular architecture platform that also underpins products from Geely and Volvo, the X50 will feature turbocharged engines, a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission gearbox and the next generation of advanced driver assist systems.

Proton chairman Datuk Seri Syed Faisal Albar Syed Ali Rethza Albar said the locally assembled X50 will benefit Malaysia’s automotive vendor community, with the purchase intent expected to amount to at least RM1.8 billion annually.

He said with another RM1 billion in parts purchases for the Proton X70, the combined annual contribution to automotive vendors by the two SUVs will be in the region of RM2.8 billion.

“With the addition of this new model, Proton expects to continue its trajectory of growth. As of August 2020, the company is the only automotive brand ahead of its sales volume from the previous year as the industry comes to grips with lower sales caused by the Covid-19 pandemic,” Syed Faisal said in a statement.

Proton recorded its second-best monthly sales for the year in August 2020 with 11,378 units sold, up 24.7% year-on-year on the sales tax exemption and pent-up consumer demand.

Its year-to-date (YTD) sales of 61,672 units for the first eight months have surpassed 2019 levels by 46 units despite taking a hit from the Movement Control Order.

The Persona and Exora models continued to lead their segments, while the Proton X70 remained the best-selling SUV in Malaysia, extending its lead in August. Proton estimates its market share has risen to 21.6% for August and 21.7% YTD.

Customers can place their bookings, for a booking fee of RM500, at showrooms beginning yesterday, coinciding with Malaysia Day.

Customer preview sessions will be held at four separate locations beginning Saturday, though these will be closed-door events.

Last month, DRB-Hicom Bhd, Proton’s parent company, said it recorded RM4.74 billion in revenue for the first half ended June 30, 2020 (1H20), boosted by strong car sales due to the tax holiday.

The group’s automotive revenue came in at RM2.87 billion in 1H20. Its automotive brands represent about 33% of the total industry volume in Malaysia.

Revenue was mainly derived from sales of vehicles and components by Proton, automotive distribution companies, and also from manufacturing and engineering, and aerospace companies.

DRB-Hicom shares closed four sen higher at RM2.09 on Tuesday, valuing the company at RM4.04 billion.