Fresh off a remarkably positive sales performance in a year riddled with unprecedented challenges, Proton is looking to up the ante in 2021 by doubling its export sales. This comes after the Malaysian carmaker charted a 49.8 percent growth in export volume in the very same year that saw the Proton X70 make its way to Brunei and Pakistan while CKD operations commenced in Kenya.
Boosting export sales is part of an ambitious plan meant to launch Proton to becoming the third best-selling automotive brand in Asean by 2027. To achieve that target, the company realises it has to adapt its products to their intended markets. This was demonstrated when the Proton Saga was launched in Pakistan with a slightly smaller engine (1,299cc versus the local spec’s 1,332cc), and then in Nepal with a heater function to cope with local requirements on both occasions.
Proton Edar CEO Roslan Abdullah acknowledged that Proton products have yet to penetrate many parts of the globe despite the frequent export exercises and international motorsports initiatives in the past. However, he remains optimistic that recent products like the X50 and X70 might finally give the brand the push it needs in the right direction.
“Our new range of updated and jointly developed products with Geely presents an opportunity to change the narrative by opening up ownership to more countries and we are optimistic they will find a ready market in many countries”
Roslan Abdullah, CEO of Proton Edar (inset)
Together with the Saga, Proton’s Geely-derived SUVs form the backbone of the brand’s export offensive, which is led by director of international sales, Steven Xu. The Tanjung Malim-based carmaker is hoping to gradually introduce these three cars to more overseas markets over the next 12 months with the hopes that business isn't overly hampered by restrictions due to the pandemic.