PROTON’s market share in February 2021 has been the company’s highest ever since September 2013 – that’s almost eight years ago. Its February deliveries amounted to 11,873 units (a combination of domestic and export sales) and puts the brand at an estimated market share of 27.1%. Whether export sales should be included is up for debate, but nonetheless, these are still vehicles sold by the company.
Regardless, its February achievement is still nearly double that of January 2021 (5,964 vehicles), despite it being a short month, and with a festive holiday to boot. Compared to the same month in 2020, volume has grown by 19.9%. However, total sales for the first two months of 2021 still lags slightly to last year, by 643 cars (3.5%).
From its vehicle portfolio, the Proton Saga still leads the sales charge. About 4,217 of this popular A-segment sedan was sold in February, mainly due to its practical form and pricing. The Saga is also the first Proton to be sold in Kenya, where it is assembled by PROTON’s partner, Simba Corporation.
Meanwhile, the Proton X50, which was launched in October 2020, saw 3,345 units delivered to owners last month. Response thus far from Malaysians has been overwhelming with over 30,000 bookings collected before the end of 2020. However, deliveries were delayed subsequent to launch due to the production schedule as well as the focus on build quality. So far, PROTON has delivered 8,141 X50s.
Other models such as the Persona (1,818 units), Exora (361 units) and X70 (1,475 units) continue to lead their respective segments.
“February continued to be a difficult month for Malaysia’s automotive industry but it turned out very well for PROTON. Thanks to the efforts of the government to ensure a continuation of economic activity during the MCO, we were able to produce more cars and in so doing started to clear our backlog of orders. This is important as we need to consistently deliver on the bookings made to avoid a rush before the PENJANA incentives expire at the end of June this year,” said Roslan Abdullah, Chief Executive Officer of Proton Edar.
“The automotive sector continues to be vibrant with exciting new model launches sure to spark consumer interest and create healthy competition amongst PROTON and other brands, but we will continue to be cautious even as we push forward to avoid infection rates flaring up again and disrupting operations,” he added.
Also in February, PROTON launched four Special Edition models. The Proton Persona and Exora Black Edition as well as the Proton Saga and Iriz R3 Limited Edition were unveiled online and are available in limited numbers. As of 26 February 2021, about 1,169 bookings have been placed from a total production run of 3,500 units.
For 2021, PROTON will focus on improving its aftersales value chain in order to deliver a more premium brand experience to owners. PROTON’s 10-year strategy for success requires the company to completely overhaul several operational areas. One of its most immediate tasks was to improve product quality. PROTON thus far have been able to bring its quality scores to the point of almost matching that of its partner, Geely.
Concurrently, it also had to work on its distribution network. The company now has the most 3S / 4S facilities in the industry and has moved its focus to a wholesale rather than consumer driven business. These measures have been effective with PROTON posting some of the highest sales growth numbers for the industry over the last two years.
“PROTON admits that some aspects of our business have not been able to keep up with our recent successes. While we have dramatically moved forwards in product quality, brand image and the technology offered in our cars, our after sales service has not made the same leap. This situation was exacerbated in 2020 by firstly COVID-19 and then our decision to invest in a completely new back-end ordering and delivery system.
“As a result, we have experienced integration issues and customers requiring accident repairs as well as regular servicing have faced delays. We are working on these issues around the clock to overcome them in the shortest time possible but for now I urge all Proton owners facing delays to please contact our customer care hotline at 1-800-88-8398,” added Roslan Abdullah.