After a 10-year absence, PROTON has returned to South Africa with the launch of the Proton X50 and X70 SUV models. The reintroduction of Proton was officially hosted by Combined Motor Holdings (CMH), the official distributor in South Africa.
Both models are currently available as fully imported models, which PROTON had shipped out in June 2022. The duo will be joined by the Saga (the last model sold there) either by the end of 2022 or in early 2023.
“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 SUV within an affordable price bracket. There are many luxury brands selling SUVs in South Africa, but most are simply unaffordable to the average car buyer here,” said Jebb McIntosh, Chief Executive Officer of CMH. CMH started in 1976 following a merger of several dealerships, and subsequently listed in the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. The group represents multiple automotive brands in South Africa and is involved in distribution, retail and financial services.
“Our plan is to have 25 dealers within six months, the first 17 of which have already undergone sales and technical training. A full range of replacement parts are also already in stock in our distribution centre so our customers can buy the vehicles with confidence,” he added.
PROTON will continue to place priority in export sales as it remains a vital part of its business plan. While the company continues to reclaim market share in Malaysia’s automotive market, it also needs to exploit the potential in international markets to make its push towards becoming a leading automotive brand in the region.
For the first 8 months of 2022, it recorded export sales of 4,040 vehicles. This is an increase of 33.9% over the total export sales for 2021. With the addition of South Africa, the company is expecting to end 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. There is a lot of potential for growth in our international markets, not just for the Proton brand but for the local automotive industry too so we want to establish a firm foothold while these markets are still accessible. Our aim is to achieve 6,000 export sales this year and while we remain confident of achieving our goal, there is a lot of work ahead of us to identify suitable partners to gain entry to more countries to achieve bigger goals in the future,” said Roslan Abdullah, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, PROTON.