by NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK / pic by TMR FILE
PROTON Holdings Bhd’s export sales achieved a 98-month high since March 2013, selling 669 units in May 2021.
Proton international sales director Steven Xu said at the beginning of the year, the group’s plan for 2021 was to aggressively grow Proton’s export sales volume.
“Despite international restrictions and the rising cost of shipping caused by the coronavirus, we were confident of being able to meet our goals due to the sales plans of our importers and the appeal of our products.
“After five months, however, we are close to doubling the volume target set, which hopefully is a sign for more success in 2021,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Following the commencement of local assembly for the Proton Saga in Kenya, the next market to assemble Proton cars locally is Pakistan.
Xu said its partner in Pakistan, Al-Haj Automotive Pte Ltd, will begin assembly operations with the Proton Saga by the end of July or early August at its new plant in Karachi.
“The Proton X70 will be added to their production line later, and we have high hopes this development will spur sales growth in the South Asian region.”
The growth in export sales was noted to be powered by growing demand in several key markets such as Pakistan, which is a new market but the best performer for the first five months in 2021.
Brunei was also the third-biggest export market by volume this year and in May, in which its importers had the best sales month in the company’s history.
The importer and distributor in Egypt had also received 350 units this year, making it the second-largest export market for the national automotive company.
Up to the end of May, the total year-to-date volume was at 174% of the target set and only 6% behind what was achieved for the entirety of 2020.
The company noted that the growing sales in export markets is a reassuring sign of wider acceptance of the brand and products which is the key to achieving its long-term goals in the region.
Currently, Proton’s presence in Asean is limited to Brunei, but the company has plans to return to the two biggest markets in the region, Thailand and Indonesia, in the near future.
Xu said for Proton to be the third best-selling brand in Asean, the company needs to have a major presence in Thailand and Indonesia.
“As the biggest automotive markets in the region, they offer enormous volume potential, but the level of competition is also very high.
“For both countries, we have been busy recruiting partners to build a network that ensures a viable business model and in the short term, our target is to return to Thailand in 2022.”