Offering options in Damascus

  • Business
  • Saturday, 31 Jan 2009

THE Persona, which was launched in Damascus on Thursday night, will drive Proton sales in Syria.

Proton Holdings Bhd managing director Datuk Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir says Proton has high expectations of its Middle East market.

“We have been selling our cars in Syria since 2001 and after GEN.2, we are optimistic on how the Syrian market will accept Persona, which has won many customers for being cost-effective and having better fuel economy,” he says.

He was speaking at the Persona’s launching at a hotel in Damascus. The event was attended by more than 600 guests including Proton business associates in Syria.

Syed Zainal says although the global economy has weakened significantly, Proton is optimistic that it could offer customers a more viable option through the Persona and GEN.2.

“We have always been guided by a philosophy of building the right car at the right time and the right price. We believe that Proton’s current offerings – Persona and GEN.2 – fit the criteria,” he says.

The first batch of Persona for the Syrian market was delivered late last year and has sold well with bookings already being made for the coming shipment.

Since 2001, Proton has sold more than 6,000 cars in Syria. Last year alone, Proton sold more than 1,600 cars, the highest annual sale since its entry into Syria.

Proton cars are distributed in Syria by Modern Technology Trading Co (MTT), a subsidiary of Habbal Group of Syria. The company also holds distribution rights for Proton cars in Iraq and Lebanon.

Habbal Group chairman and chief executive officer Ghyath Al Habbal expressed optimism the Persona would sell well in Syria.

He told Malaysian journalists that MTT targeted to achieve annual sales of 5,000 Proton cars in Syria within three to five years from the present 1,500-1,600 units.

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