National car maker, Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional Sdn Bhd (Proton) has sold 109,716 units last year, despite losing more than two months of car production and sales due to the Movement Control Order (MCO).
The sales mark an 8.8 percent increase over its landmark output of 100,821 units sold in 2019, and the market share for the year increased to an estimated 21.1 percent, marking a substantial rise of 4.4 percent.
According to the national car maker, “The main drivers of volume growth were the Proton Persona, Iriz, Exora and Saga (PIES), while the X50 surpassed expectations despite it’s later than planned arrival.
This performance combined with a 49.8 percent increase in export volume, allowed Proton to buck the trend of the Malaysian automotive industry which is expected to contract by an estimated 13 percent.”
Reportedly, the Proton Saga remained the company’s best-seller for 2020 while the launch of the Proton X50 and strong sales for the Proton X70 combined to make Proton the number one sport utility vehicle (SUV) brand in the country.
Chief Executive Officer of Proton, Li Chunrong said Covid-19 had brought economic activity to a complete halt and its adverse effects required quick, prudent and tough management decisions.
“At Proton, the last few years of vigilant cost control and improved efficiencies allowed the company to react quickly to the crisis.
This meant that despite the shutdown, there were no layoffs or salary cuts. More importantly, constant monitoring and agility allowed the company to ramp up production very quickly after the lockdown,” he explained.
Despite the restrictions placed on the global movement of goods, 2020 saw a strong year for the company’s export division, with a bumper month in December.
It saw the first locally assembled Proton Saga roll-off the assembly line in Kenya and then make its debut alongside the Proton X70 in Pakistan where both models would be sold initially as complete built ups (CBUs) but later as complete knocked downs (CKDs) following the completion of a plant in Karachi later this year.
Li stated that the Proton Saga also burst onto the scene in Egypt and Bangladesh but it wasn’t the only model to make a big splash overseas last month. “The Proton X50 entered its first export market when it made its international debut in Brunei on December 19, making it the fourth Proton model to be launched in the kingdom in 2020 after the Proton Persona, Iriz and Saga arrived in January.”
He then continued that “A combination of good strategy and hard work has left us not only with an increase in sales against a decreasing market but a renewed belief in our product strategy, quality and commitment to our customers.
We will continue to put the pedal to the metal in 2021 and strive to improve all aspects of the business.”