Proton re-enters South African market after 10 years

KUALA LUMPUR: National car maker, Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional Sdn Bhd (Proton) is now officially back in South Africa after exiting the market 10 years ago, said deputy chief executive officer Roslan Abdullah.

He said that growth in export volume is vital to Proton’s expansion plans, and export sales remain a vital part of Proton’s business plan.

“While the company continues to reclaim market share in Malaysia’s automotive market, it needs to exploit the latent potential in international markets towards becoming a leading automotive brand in the region,” he said in a joint statement yesterday, Bernama reported.

Roslan also said that as at end-August, export sales rose 33.9% over the total number of sales for 2021.

“With the addition of South Africa to the list of export markets, the company is hopeful of ending the year with an even bigger percentage in growth.

“Proton is aggressively pursuing export sales as we believe it is one of the pillars to growing our overall volumes, and our aim is to achieve 6,000 export sales this year,” he added.

The relaunch of the brand, which also saw the Proton X70 and Proton X50 making their debut in South Africa, was hosted by Combined Motor Holdings Ltd (CMH), Proton’s official distributor in the country.

“Both models are now available as completely built-up models to customers in the Rainbow Nation and will be joined by the Proton Saga later in the year or the beginning of 2023,” Roslan said.

Meanwhile, CMH chief executive officer Jebb McIntosh said the company had jumped at the chance to bring the Proton brand back to South Africa.

“When the Proton brand became available, CMH jumped at the opportunity for several reasons, but mostly because we saw a gap in the market for a quality sports utility vehicle (SUV) within an affordable price bracket.”

“There are many luxury brands selling SUVs in South Africa, but most are simply unaffordable for the average car buyer here,” he said.

He said that the company plans to have 25 dealers within six months, adding that the first 17 of which have already undergone sales and technical training.

McIntosh added that a full range of replacement parts are also already in stock in CMH’s distribution centre so customers can buy the vehicles with confidence.

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