KUALA LUMPUR: Proton and smart Automobile Co Ltd (smart) has formalised a deal following the signing of a General Distributorship Agreement (GDA) today, which will see the national car maker launching the first model by the fourth quarter of 2023.
Under the GDA, Proton will sell and service the smart electric vehicles (EVs) brand in Malaysia and Thailand, Proton said in a statement.
"Today marks a big step for entry into the new energy vehicle market.
‘’The first phase of business with smart is focused on retailing but it provides us with valuable knowledge and experience not only on how to service and charge EVs but also how to transform the way we interact with our customers," said Proton chief executive officer Dr Li Chunrong.
Li added that the move into this market segment will also help to drive Proton’s move towards being more environmentally friendly in all facets of its operations as the car maker works to help Malaysia achieve its carbon neutrality target by 2050.
Proton also announced its intention to model retail operations for smart on what the company does in other markets.
Therefore, Proton said there will be a heavy emphasis on an integrated digital lifestyle and other elements that will marry customer preferences with a connected digital solution encompassing journey planning, charging availability and even purchase considerations.
The company is exploring to use its entry into the market segment to attract young talents
With the rapid shift in job preference for new workers, Proton will use its long-term plans for sustainability and energy efficiency as well as increasing its environmental, social and governance scores to appeal to the next generation of automotive industry workers.
smart Automobile is a joint-venture between Mercedes-Benz and Geely Group, with both parties leveraging synergies in research and development, manufacturing and supply chain to develop smart into a world-leading, premium EV technology brand. - Bernama