After an absence of about a decade, Proton is now marking its return to South Africa with the first shipment of vehicles to the nation since 2012, following the signing of CMH Group as its new distributor in the country. The first batch of vehicles, which left Westport, Klang last Friday, consists of the Proton X50, X70, and Saga.
The cargo ship is expected to arrive in Durban, South Africa, in July this year, ahead of the models’ scheduled launch by the end of the third quarter this year.
“South Africa is a matured and competitive market, but we are confident the Proton X50, Proton X70 and Saga have the right combination of features and value to compete with other brands there,” said Proton Director of International Sales, Steven Xu.
The fact that most of the cars you see here in the photos are SUVs is no coincidence. Proton says that most of its export sales growth this year has been driven by the X50 and X70, with both showing an increase in demand of 77% and 31% respectively.
Overall, the national carmaker’s export sales in the first quarter this year have seen a growth of 175% compared to the same period last year. The number is expected to grow to over 300% by the end of the year, as Proton ramps up its assembly operations overseas.
Local assembly plants for Proton are already up and running in Pakistan, Kenya, and Bangladesh, while Sri Lanka is set to join the list in the second half of 2022.
Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Proton says that it still managed to increase its representation within Malaysia’s overall vehicle exports, from 12.8% in 2019, to 30.2% in 2020, and 61% in 2021.
“Growth in export sales is vital to Proton being able to achieve its long-term goals. The company will need to explore more new markets to push its volume growth rate, and we are making the necessary investments both here at Tanjung Malim and in our overseas operations to ensure we are ready to move quickly to exploit any new opportunities,” added Proton Deputy CEO, Roslan Abdullah.