The positive result was 58 per cent above the April-June quarter and takes total profits before tax to around $55 million.
Proton Chairman, Dato’ Mohd Nadzmi Salleh, put the improvement in operating profit down to an increase in domestic sales volume and strengthening profit margins because of a better product mix.
“Proton’s domestic sales volume grew by 11 per cent compared to the immediate preceding quarter and this was primarily driven by the increase in the sales of our top three models, the Persona, Saga (S16) and Exora people mover,” he said.
Despite a contraction in the Malaysian domestic market of seven per cent as a result of the global economic downturn, Proton’s domestic market increased by three per cent from April-September year-to-date.
Proton has so far registered sales of 79,508 vehicles, which accounts for 29 per cent of the Malaysian domestic industry, with the performance of the seven-seat Exora especially pleasing to Nadzmi.
“The Exora has continued to prove itself as a successful model contributing positively to the group’s results and we are extremely happy that it has been well accepted in the market.“It has had a very positive impact on the results of the company and this displays our determination and seriousness for improvement initiatives in our new products,” he said.
Managing director, Dato' Syed Zainal, said he believed sales volume would be resilient with the upcoming launch of the Exora in Thailand and the S16 in Egypt.
“We will continue to focus on enhancing our returns by investing in the development of new value-for-money products, expansion into key selected markets and the execution of operational efficiency initiatives such as the rationalisation of dealers and suppliers, improvements in quality and capacity optimisation.”
Proton Australia is having a more difficult year, however, with sales down 25.7 per cent over the first 11 months (1752 to 1301).
The Gen.2 and the Jumbuck have battled the most, both down more than 40 per cent this year and more than 50 per cent for November compared to 2008.
Overall sales have strengthened towards the end of the year, thanks mostly to the launch of the S16 which sold 82 units in its first month.
Total Proton sales in November reached 146, 40 more than the same month last year.