According to the Proton’s sales performance report for January 2021, the national carmaker delivered a total of 5,964 units the month, representing a drop of 7,342 units (55.1%) as compared to the prior month, and a 29.9% drop compared to the same month last year. The significant drop in sales also resulted in a 1% drop in market share compared to January 2020, ending the month at an estimated 18.5%.

Although the second iteration of the Movement Control Order (MCO) clearly reared its ugly head, the national carmaker said that the figures were actually a reflection of supply not being able to meet demand due to parts shortage from local suppliers, rather than a reduction in bookings.

Proton Edar CEO, Roslan Abdullah said, “Measures like the MCO have naturally affected the number of customers coming to showrooms, but we can receive bookings online helping to boost our sales. However, our supply lines have been disrupted over the last few months by the coronavirus making it difficult to ensure a steady flow of parts needed to build our cars.

“It’s something all car manufacturers have been facing for the past year, but we are hopeful that with the arrival of a vaccine things will stabilize by the middle of the year,” he added.

The Proton Saga once again led the national carmaker’s sales with 2,583 units delivered in January 2021. Deliveries for the Proton X70 and X50 meanwhile, were down to 892 and 1,082 units respectively for the month. For the latter, a total of 4,809 units have been delivered since the model was launched late October last year.

Elsewhere, Proton also managed to move 970 units of the Persona, while the Iriz and Exora contributed 153 and 283 units to January’s total figure respectively.

Proton recently expanded their online offerings with the launch of its own Certified Pre-Owned car-buying website.

“January was a difficult month for Malaysia’s automotive industry. Hopes were high the momentum built at the end of 2020 would be carried forward especially after the announcement of PENJANA incentives remaining in place until the end of June this year. Unfortunately, the second MCO announcement put a damper on those hopes.

“Still, Proton as well as the rest of the industry is in full support of all measures the government has in place to control the rate of infection. The safety of all Malaysians needs to remain as the main priority and companies need to pivot in order to achieve their goals in a changed market environment,” said Roslan.

Despite the delays in the production line, Proton says that its product launch plans for 2021 are not affected. “We have an exciting series of improved products in the pipeline while the Proton X50 will now be able to establish its standing in the market by benefitting from a full year of sales.

“There will undoubtedly be more challenges ahead until the world is able to control the spread of the virus, but we are aware this is now the new norm for doing business and the onus is on us to innovate our operations to better serve our customers,” he added.