PROTON’s engine assembly line at its Tanjung Malim plant has hit a milestone as it celebrated the production of its 10,000th 1.5L TGDI engine (turbo gasoline direct injection). The 10,000th engine came off the line on 1 December, just about 7 months since the first one rolled off the line in April.
The 1.5L TGDI engine produced by PROTON is part of the company’s commitment to invest RM1.8 billion to upgrade its facilities in Tanjung Malim and the culmination of a journey which started in 2019 and was fraught with challenges. Subsequent to the decision to build the new assembly line in Tanjung Malim, construction and the delivery of parts was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. Nonetheless, the company made the decision to move forward with the project as the country was put in a movement control order.
This operational expansion plan is in line with the first strategic thrust of the DRB-HICOM Automotive High Technology Valley (AHTV) programme which aims to maximise manufacturing activities in the region. This was made possible by a team of PROTON engineers who stationed themselves at Tanjung Malim to begin assembly work. Working together via virtual meetings with teams from equipment suppliers and Geely in China, they painstakingly unboxed the components, mapped out the production line and began initial assembly works.
“PROTON’s new engine line is testimony to the grit and determination of our workers to overcoming obstacles and achieving our goals. It is one of the most advanced engine assembly lines in Malaysia with a high level of automation, a climate-controlled environment and multiple testing gateways to ensure the high quality of its output. In 2023 we are targeting an output of 60,000 engines, which will be used across several Proton models,” said Dr Li Chunrong, Chief Executive Officer, PROTON.
The engines produced here go into 2 of the brand’s bestselling SUV models i.e. X50 and X70. In the month of November, PROTON delivered 3,724 and 1,210 units respectively. These contributed to an overall total of 11,316 vehicles in November, its best sales achievement since 2014. The November sales figure puts PROTON’s year-to-date sales total at 126,682 vehicles, which is its best since 2013.
Compared to October however, November sales was down 13.1% as the company had to contend with some supply issues. The company estimates its November market share to be 17.7% which keeps its at 2nd place overall. PROTON is also expecting 2022’s Total Industry Volume (TIV) to close in on the 700,000 mark as the overall market had been recording vehicles sales of more than 60,000 units for 4 consecutive months.
“November was an eventful sales month for PROTON as we experienced some temporary supply issues that prevented us from achieving our full potential. We are confident of being able to rectify them in December and remain positive about closing out the year strongly,” said Roslan Abdullah, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, PROTON.
Thus far in 2022, 5 Proton models have already exceeded their total volume from 2021 (up 10.4% to 126,682 vehicles) mainly due to the economic disruptions last year. The Proton X50 and Proton Exora have been leading their respective segments the whole year. Furthermore, export sales have also increased by over 2,000 units from the previous year. Its export YTD sales now stand at 5,028 units compared to 3,018 for the whole of the previous year.
“PROTON will end 2022 with a 4th consecutive year of sales growth. Aside from benefitting the company, the increase in sales has also increased the volume of parts purchased from local vendors, increased our number of dealers, and created jobs for the automotive ecosystem. With new model introductions in the pipeline for 2023, we hope to be able to increase our contribution to the Malaysia economy by making more local investments, selling more vehicles, and further growing our export markets,” added Roslan.