Proton inks distributorship deal with Smart, #1 EV SUV to launch in Q4 2022

First announced earlier this year through a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA), Proton and Smart Automotive have now officially finalised their partnership between the two companies, at a signing ceremony held today.

The agreement formalises Proton as the official distributor for Smart vehicles in Malaysia and Thailand, and also makes way for the national carmaker to introduce their own new energy vehicles in the future. The first Smart model to make its way into Malaysia under the new partnership will be the #1, and is scheduled to be launched in early Q4 2023 – making us the first right-hand drive market for the model.

Despite this collaboration being primarily a retail operation, Proton says that there are also big picture developments beyond the scope of the agreement to pave way for its entry into the new energy vehicle market. A New Energy Vehicle arm has already been established within the company.

Through providing aftersales service for Smart, the company can upskill its workforce for high voltage works in preparation for its own EVs in the future. The entry into a new exciting market segment will also attract new young talents within the industry.

Proton also announced that it is investing in a public charging network by collaborating with local charging providers, and will also be providing home charger installation services in the future.

“Today marks a big step for Proton’s entry into the new energy vehicle market. The first phase of business with Smart is focused on retailing but it provides us with valuable knowledge and experience on not only how to service and charge EVs but also how to transform the way we interact with our customers,” said Proton Chief Executive Officer, Dr Li Chunrong.

“The move into this market segment will also help drive Proton’s move towards being more environmentally friendly in all facets of our operations as we work to help Malaysia achieve its carbon neutrality target by 2050,” he added.

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With the Smart #1 EV only arriving at our shores towards the end of next year, Proton is also imploring the government to extend the tax exemptions for fully-imported electric vehicles to a later date, in order to help spur the transition to new energy vehicles here in Malaysians.

The company plans to sell 800-1,000 units of the Smart #1 per year here in Malaysia, ramping up in the future to achieve a total of 10,000 units sold by the end of 2027.

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