Proton to import and distribute Smart EVs in Malaysia and Thailand

Proton today signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with Smart Automotive, the joint-venture company between Geely and Daimler, to import and distribute Smart EVs within the region.

The national carmaker’s distribution arm, Proton Edar, will be appointed importer, distributor, and dealer for the Smart brand in Malaysia and Thailand. Meanwhile, Smart Automobile (Nanning) Sales will hold the role of the marque’s “gateway to this region”, Proton said in a statement today.

The signing ceremony, held virtually due to Covid-19 challenges, was attended by Proton Edar CEO Roslan Abdullah and Smart VP of finance Ulf Nestler, acting as signatories for the respective companies. Also present as witnesses were Proton chairman Datuk Seri Syed Faisal Albar, Smart CEO Tong Xiangbei, and Proton CEO Li Chunrong.

According to the statement, the MoA is for the establishment of a “multi-level sales and service network in Malaysia and Thailand” including setting up a “brand experience centre” plus “a number of” sales locations in the region, as well as providing local markets with sales and after-sales services for Smart vehicles.

“With the signing of the MoA, Proton is taking its first steps on its New Energy Vehicle strategic journey. By collaborating with Smart, we will be able to gain experience in the selling, servicing and charging of NEVs, and build up the skill sets we require to be a force in ASEAN’s rapidly expanding NEV sector,” said Syed Faisal Albar.

He added that the partnership also presents an opportunity to “tap on Smart’s customer base”, which will open up even more opportunities for the Proton brand. However, the statement says that there are currently no plans between the two companies to collaborate beyond the tenets of the agreement.

Since Geely took part-ownership in Smart, the company has undergone a “radical reinvention” and have already unveiled the Smart Concept #1, which made its debut as a “near-production-ready” electric SUV concept last year.

Technical specifications, of course, still remains a heavily-guarded secret. However, we do know that the Concept #1 will be built on Geely’s Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA) 2 platform, offering ranges upwards of 460 km per charge.


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