by NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK / pic by TMR FILE
PROTON Holdings Bhd’s car sales volume was up by 8.8% or 109,716 units in 2020, which elevated its market share to 21.1% despite losing over two months of car production and sales to comply with the Movement Control Order (MCO).
The main drivers of volume growth were the Persona, Iriz, Exora and Saga (PIES), while the X50 surpassed expectations despite its later than planned arrival, said Proton in a statement yesterday.
“All four PIES models were extensively updated in 2019 and the investment has paid off with each model posting higher sales numbers last year despite the pandemic.
“This performance combined with a 49.8% increase in export volume allowed Proton to buck the trend of the Malaysian automotive industry which is expected to contract by an estimated 13%,” said Proton.
The Saga remains as the company’s bestseller for 2020, while the launch of the X50 and strong sales for the X70 combined to make Proton the preferred SUV brand in the country.
“We are grateful to have achieved this level of performance against the backdrop of 2020. To describe it as challenging would be an understatement, but we persevered.
“Our results were backed by many factors, trust from our customers, support from the government, commitment from vendors, resilience of our dealers and also the diligence of our staff,” said Proton CEO Dr Li Chunrong (picture).
He added that 2020 was a challenging year for the company due to Covid-19 which disrupted Proton’s supply chain.
“A combination of good strategy and hard work has left us not only with an increase in sales against a decreasing market, but a renewed belief in our product strategy, quality and commitment to our customers,” he said.
The pandemic has brought the company’s economic activity to a complete halt, however, the company’s last few years of cost-control method and improved efficiencies allowed the company to react to the crisis quickly.
“This meant that despite the shutdown, there were no lay-offs or salary cuts.
“More importantly, constant monitoring and agility allowed the company to ramp up production very quickly after the lockdown,” its statement said.
It added that a key component in Proton’s performance for 2020 was the results of its investments in manufacturing and quality, both in the areas of hardware and software.
“Aside from technology, new processes and systems were introduced to drive an increase in capacity and precision.
“This was exemplified not only with the increased volume but with the smooth introduction of Proton X50 at the company’s new production line at Tanjung Malim, Perak, which is also the home of Persona, Iris and X70,” added Proton.
The Shah Alam plant in Selangor continued to better its performance, churning out record numbers of the Saga and Exora.
Despite the restrictions placed on the global movement of goods, Proton also posted stronger export with a bumper month in December.
It saw the first locally assembled Proton Saga roll off the assembly line in Kenya and then make its debut alongside the X70 in Pakistan.
“The Saga also burst on to the scene in Egypt and Bangladesh, but it wasn’t the only model to make a big splash overseas last month.
“The X50 entered its first export market when it made its international debut in Brunei on Dec 19, making it the fourth Proton model to be launched in the kingdom in 2020 after the Persona, Iriz and Saga arrived in January,” said Proton.
Proton increased its footprint with another 20 3S/4S (sales, service and spare parts/sales, service, spare parts and body and paint services) outlets, bringing its network to 140 as at the end-2020.
“In striving to deliver a premium brand experience, it paid special focus to revamping the back-end of the business, especially in the areas of after-sales and parts,” it added.
On Saturday, the second national carmaker Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd (Perodua) sold 220,154 vehicles in the whole of 2020, 10,154 more than its 210,000-unit sales target for the year, on the back of strong demand for its vehicles and the government’s sales tax exemption.
Perodua manufactured 220,968 vehicles last year despite temporarily halting production between March and May due to the MCO.
It also hit the one million energy-efficient vehicle (EEV) milestone in November 2020 — exactly two years after achieving the half-million — further solidifying its position as Malaysia’s largest EEV manufacturer.