Export sales for PROTON has been showing positive growth for the company. Building a presence in the international marketplace has always been one of the key pillars of PROTON’s long-term goals. In 2022, it saw export volume gain exponentially by 79% over 2021. Though volume is comparatively modest at 5,406 units, it is a good starting point for the national carmaker eager to see success in the export market to add to its overall sales figures.
However, 2023 has been challenging as external factors affecting global economies have dampened the company’s sales potential in several major export markets. Despite the challenges, PROTON has remained steadfast in its determination to expand its reach beyond Malaysia’s borders. Different countries are constantly being evaluated for their potential while the roll out of products to existing markets gathers pace.
The month of August was an example of this as PROTON’s latest offering, the flagship Proton X90, was launched in 3 export markets. Mauritius was the first export market to receive the X90 with the premium family SUV unveiled on 4 August at the Le Salon de L’ Automobile, SVICC, Pailles.
Next up was South Africa where Proton South Africa showcased the Proton X90 at the Festival of Motoring at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit (25 – 27 August). The event had strong support from Malaysia’s Foreign Affairs ministry, with the Honourable Mr. Yap Wei Sein, Acting High Commissioner for Malaysia in South Africa attending.
On the same day, Proton Brunei unveiled the Proton X90 at a grand launch event attended by the High Commissioner of Malaysia to Brunei Darussalam, Dato’ Raja Reza bin Raja Zaib Shah and Mr Tan Kah Boon, the Chairman of Proton importers and dealers, Pad and Econ Motors.
“2023 has been challenging for PROTON’s export business as many of our export markets are experiencing economic challenges resulting in capital market controls. However, our efforts to explore opportunities in other markets are continuing with groundwork underway in Fiji, Ghana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Iraq, among others,” said Steven Xu, Director of International Sales, PROTON.
“Simultaneously, we remain focused in growing our presence in our current export markets. The debut of the Proton X90, the company’s first New Energy Vehicle (NEV), in three export markets took place just three months after its Malaysian launch on 7 May, helping to uplift PROTON’s brand image in those markets. We view this as an investment in our future as we position ourselves to take advantage of improved market conditions in the future,” he added.
The Brunei market had its best ever sales month in August. In recent months, the popularity of Proton models has been surging, with the market achieving historical highs. The first batch of Proton X90 units has been selling rapidly and other models are also finding favour with buyers in a market that has an estimated Total Industry Volume (TIV) of 13,000 units annually. For August, Proton vehicle sales hit the 3-figure mark for the first time as 100 units were registered.
“The strong sales performance of Proton cars in Brunei this year is a result of the strength of our model line up as well as the efforts of our importers. Culturally, there are many similarities between car buyers in Brunei and Malaysia, and the brand has a long history in the country, so we are very pleased to see we can still experience sales growth in a matured market,” said Steven Xu.