Proton returns to South Africa after 10-year hiatus

Representatives from Proton for the virtual signing ceremony. From left: Senior director of corporate strategy Yusri Yusuf, Proton deputy CEO Roslan Abdullah, director of international sales Steven Xu, and head of international distribution Lau Yit Mun.

Representatives from Proton for the virtual signing ceremony. From left: Senior director of corporate strategy Yusri Yusuf, Proton deputy CEO Roslan Abdullah, director of international sales Steven Xu, and head of international distribution Lau Yit Mun.

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KUALA LUMPUR (April 28): National car maker Proton Holdings Bhd has signed an agreement to appoint CMH Group as the distributor for Proton vehicles in South Africa.

In a statement Thursday (April 28), the company said the signing will see the first shipment of fully imported CBU models go on sale in September, with the Proton X50 and Proton X70 leading the charge.

It said this will be followed by the Proton Saga, which is making a return to the nation 10 years after sales ended in 2012.

Proton said it is bullish about its sales prospects in South Africa, projecting strong sales this year, and targeting to more than double its volume in 2023.

It said for the first quarter of this year, total export sales have increased by 175% over the same period from 2021.

It said that number is expected to increase as the company takes aim at growing export sales by more than 300% by the end of the year.

Proton said in 2010, it exported 29,833 units to several overseas markets.

It said this dwindled to only 248 units in 2017 though volumes are seeing a gradual upturn.

Last year, 3,018 Proton vehicles were sold overseas, which is more than double the 1,508 units exported in 2020.

For 2022, the company’s international sales department is targeting to grow export sales exponentially and are targeting 10,000 units.

Proton director of international sales Steven Xu said Proton’s long-term goals require exports to play a major role to grow the company’s overall sales as TIV in Malaysia is expected to remain flat.

“So, we are exploiting the strength of our new products, our brand and even the links Malaysia has with other countries to establish a foothold in many new markets.

“This is then bolstered by establishing KD operations where possible, which also helps to grow local economies,” he said.