OPR hike not expected to affect proton sales

SHAH ALAM: The 25 basis point hike in the Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) to 2.00 per cent announced by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) on Wednesday will not have a significant impact on Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional Bhd (Proton) car sales.

Proton deputy chief executive officer Roslan Abdullah said although the increase would affect the hire purchase process for buyers, but looking at the current situation and the growing economic capabilities, buying cars, especially affordable ones, was a necessity for consumers.

"When the owner thinks of this as a necessity, the cost is seen as part of the cost necessary to buy a car.

"Maybe for a start, consumers will feel some of the effects of this increase (interest rates), but in the next few months, I am confident the market will return to stability," he said in a press conference in conjunction with the launch of the new Proton Saga 2022 here today.

Meanwhile, on the sales and service tax (SST) exemption which will end on June 30, 2022, Proton, which is a member of the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA), hopes the government will consider extending the exemption for a longer period to ensure the progress of the automotive industry and revitalise the domestic economy.

"We hope it can be extended given the high outstanding booking and the production of original items (OEM) which we still cannot deliver before June 30.

"This is due to the fact that there are still vendors affected by the flood incident last December apart from problems such as the lack of other components such as electronic chips for automotive use,” he explained.

As a result of these problems, the waiting period for buyers to get the cars that had been booked took three to six months, said Roslan.

At the event launch of the Proton Saga 2022, Proton’s chief executive officer Dr Li Chunrong in his speech said that despite a pandemic that lasted over two years, Proton has continued to push forward and developed progressively, achieving a smooth transition and increasing production to turn a loss of RM1.6 billion four years ago into a profit today.

In addition, sales have grown from 64,744 units in 2018 to 114,708 units in 2021 and its market share grew from 10.8 per cent to 22.5 per cent by the end of last year.

Over the last four years, Li also noted that Proton has invested RM1.8 billion in its Tanjung Malim plant, making it a world-class facility equipped with the most advanced technology to accommodate new energy vehicle production in the future.

As of 2021, Proton has facilitated strategic partnerships between overseas vendors and local companies worth up to RM300 million, including the introduction of 10 new technologies from 34 vendor partnerships. - Bernama

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