Proton plans to substantially increase its international sales over the next five years as the Malaysian manufacturer seeks to expand out further from its domestic market.
At the Australian launch of the Proton Suprima S in Sydney last night, Proton chief operating officer Hisham Othman and general manager of international sales and export division Dr Badrul Hisham expressed the company’s intentions to boost its exports.
Proton sold roughly 150,000 vehicles in the Malaysian market in 2012 but its international exports tallied only 10,000 units (of which 1005 came to Australia).
According to Hisham, the next five years will see Proton increase total volume to 500,000 units annually with more than half of those to be produced for international markets (an increase of 2400 percent compared with 2012).
The company is also working on a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine for its upcoming models and new variants of existing cars which will debut by 2015.
“This is the first year of the five-year business plan so it’s a long way to go, and we believe we can make up the volume over the years,” Hisham said.
“Australia will continue to figure as one of the most important export countries for Proton.”
Proton continues to be supported by the Malaysian Government as it goes through its international expansion.
According to Othman, the support from the government is due to the manufacturing sector’s importance to Malaysia as a country.
“[Government support] is not just because we’re a national car manufacturer but because having a real indigenous car industry [is important], because you are a real car manufacturer which gives rise to a whole ecosystems in the country. You get to enjoy certain advantages,” he said
Proton plans to expand its Australian dealer network from about 30 this year to 50 by the end of 2014 as it brings three new models to market and begins the process of revitalising its brand.