PORT KLANG, July 13 2018 : Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional (Proton) has resumed exporting cars to the Middle East since formalising its partnership with China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (Geely) with the first shipment of 453 units of Persona and Gen2.
A symbolic flag-off ceremony was officiated by Proton Deputy Chief Executive Officer Datuk Radzaif Mohamed at Westports Malaysia’s berthing area here yesterday to commemorate the occasion, with Proton cars lined up to be driven on board Grand Diamond cargo vessel.
The first shipment of 453 left-hand drive cars is expected to arrive in Aqaba, Jordan within two weeks and will be distributed in the Middle East by vehicle importer Jawarhat Al-Bakhet.
Radzaif said the export revival marked a shift in Proton’s business in the quest to expand and strengthen its international market after a period of inactivity since 2015.
“Besides ensuring Proton cars continue to dominate the local market, we are targeting the export sector to be a significant business focus in the future.
“We are prioritising exports of vehicles to the ASEAN countries as they are closer before entering other countries as we have the products they are looking for,” he told reporters.
Proton last major export to the Middle East was to Egypt in 2015.
Meanwhile, Proton International Marketing Sector Director Steven Xu Yuan said a total of 2,200 Proton cars were targeted for export to several countries this year.
He said with Proton cars having improved in terms of quality, measured by Volvo quality standards, international importers became increasingly confident with the national cars and the number of new overseas distributors were also rising.
“We hope this activity will be growing quite fast and we hope the volume of export will reach 100,000 units (per year) within the next five years,” he said, adding that plans were afoot to open a Proton manufacturing facility abroad in line with the target.
“If you compare with any benchmark international OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer), for example Hyundai, they are producing three million cars per year for Korea but their international market produces 4.5 million cars with six strategic manufacturing countries based out of Korea.
“And Proton for sure will be looking in the same direction in near future,” he said. – Bernama