KUALA LUMPUR: Proton Holdings Bhd sold 7,011 cars in April, underpinned by the sales of the Proton Saga and Proton X70, as it took second spot in month sales for the first time since February 2016.
The sales figure was an increase of 14.1% over March and a 75% improvement over April 2018, it said in a statement on Friday.
“This was achieved despite a downturn in TIV that contracted by 6.2% month-on-month making Proton the only automotive brand ranked in the top five to record positive growth. This fact is also reflected in overall sales growing by 50.2% so far this year,” it said.
Proton is 50.1% owned by DRB-Hicom Bhd and 49.9% by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. Ltd.
It said that strong sales performances by the Proton Saga and Proton X70 are the main drivers for the achievement but sales also received a boost following the official launch of the 2019 Proton Iriz and Persona on April 23.
Proton said both cars were launched simultaneously following a two month prelaunch publicity blitz that included media and customer previews as well as appearances at roadshows and the Malaysia Autoshow 2019 in April.
These efforts paid off as over 4,000 bookings were collected prior to the launch as Malaysian car buyers were attracted to their intelligent features and overall design.
Proton CEO Dr Li Chunrong said Proton was proud to finish second in overall sales in April 2019, returning to the position for the first time in over three years.
“Our aim is to try and end the year in second place to create a solid base for our long-term goal of leading the Malaysian car market again.
“With the launch of the Iriz and Persona and improved versions of the Proton Exora and Saga set to be introduced later this year, the Company is quietly confident it can achieve its goal,” he said.
Elaborating on the sales of the Proton cars, it said the sale of 7,011 units in April bucked the overall market trend of slower sales following a strong performance in March.
Despite recording a 9.2% increment year-on-year due to the registration of new models recently launched, most brands recorded significantly lower numbers compared to the previous month.
However, Proton sales however grew by 14.1%, equivalent to a 13.6% share of the overall market, thanks to strong performances by the Proton X70 and the Proton Saga.
“The Saga in fact displaced the Proton X70 as the best-selling Proton model with 3,047 units sold, the first time it has breached the 3,000 unit barrier since August 2018 during the zero-GST three month grace period,” it said.
The increase in sales is a reflection of the quality improvements that continue to be made to the car and the increase in customer and sales service quality being delivered at 79 3S/4S outlets, the most of any OEM in Malaysia, in Proton’s sales network.
“Proton’s sales achievement in April is testament to how the company is moving in the right direction thanks to Malaysian car buyers regaining confidence in the brand and its products. It also showcases the value of the Proton X70 at driving traffic to our showrooms, resulting in other models getting more attention as customers are reminded of the value, quality and safety of all Proton vehicles,” Li added.
He also said with 11,133 Proton X70 units delivered so far in 2019, it is champion in premium SUV category (C-segment) and the champion in executive SUV category (price above RM100,000).
“The Proton X70 remains the best-selling SUV in Malaysia this year, with a 24% share of the overall segment.
“Nearly five months since it was launched, the Proton X70 continues to show its staying power by heading its market segment despite the launch of new models by rival brands. Proton is now an established player in the SUV market and our experience with our first SUV will serve us well in the near future as we launch more models that are jointly developed by Proton and Geely,” Li said.