Subsequent to appointing South Africa’s CMH Group as the country’s distributor in April, PROTON has flagged off its first shipment of vehicles to South Africa. The cargo of CBU Protons left Westport, Klang on 27 May and is expected to arrive in Durban in July, in time for CMH’s plan to sell them in September. The first shipment consisted of the Proton X50, Proton X70 and Proton Saga, and are the first batch of Proton cars to be sent to South Africa since 2012.
“This shipment marks another significant milestone achieved by PROTON this year. South Africa is a matured and competitive market, but we are confident the Proton X50, Proton X70 and Saga have the right combination of features and value to compete with other brands there,” said Steven Xu, Director of International Sales, PROTON.
“CMH Group, are working diligently to prepare their distribution network and the current plan is to launch our models by the end of the third quarter this year. Ahead of this, several members of the CMH Group visited Malaysia last week to have discussions with our team and visit dealers as well as the Tanjung Malim plant,” he added.
PROTON’s export growth this year is largely contributed by the X50 and X70, with both showing an increase in demand of 77% and 31% respectively. For the first quarter of 2022, total export sales have grown by 175% over 2021. This is expected to increase as the company wants to continue growing export sales by more than 300% by the end of the year.
Vital to achieving this target is the growth in assembly operations overseas. Currently, such local assembly operations are running in Pakistan, Kenya and Bangladesh, with Sri Lanka set to join in the second half of 2022. In the past 3 years, and despite the difficult market conditions, PROTON had contributed a significant increase in its percentage of Malaysia’s overall vehicle exports i.e. from 12.8% of total exports in 2019, to 30.2% in 2020, and 61.0% in 2021.
“Growth in export sales is vital to PROTON being able to achieve its long-term goals. The company will need to explore more new markets to push its volume growth rate and we are making the necessary investments both here at Tanjung Malim and in our overseas operations to ensure we are ready to move quickly to exploit any new opportunities,” said Roslan Abdullah, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, PROTON.