Focussed on improving its position in the domestic market, Proton has not been active in exporting its vehicles overseas in recent years. So today’s loading of a batch of cars onto the Grand Diamond cargo vessel destined for the Middle East is a significant development. It’s the first export activity since the company formalized its partnership with Geely.
The shipment of 453 cars will be unloaded at the port of Aqaba in southern Jordan, from which the cars will be distributed to Iraq and neighbouring countries in the region. Although Proton has not been active in the Middle East for some time, there remains a strong following and in fact, there are even clubs formed by owners of models such as the Gen2.
“The Middle East markets hold high regard for products from Islamic countries like Malaysia. The demand for cars will grow as their economies develop and will help fuel the growth of our export business,” said Dr. Li Chunrong, CEO of Proton.
“The ASEAN market, however, will remain as the main priority for the company’s export business,” Dr. Li said.
Proton is also leveraging on Geely’s extensive overseas network operations to improve the cost-effectiveness of its own operations.
“We are exploring all opportunities to grow export volumes for Proton. Geely is making a big effort to support us in this initiative and there is a lot of experience within the group so we hope to leverage on it to enable us to sell more cars outside of Malaysia,” added Dr. Li.
“This ceremony marks a starting point for Proton as we resume and ramp up shipments to the Middle East in the coming months. We expect our export market to have a positive outlook in the future so be prepared for more such announcements from as early as August this year,” added Dato’ Radzaif Mohamed, Deputy CEO of Proton.
Dato’ Radzaif is confident of continued acceptance of Proton products in exports markets, more so now that the quality has been improved. This has been achieved by using the Global Customer Product Audit (GCPA) system on its production processes to clearly identify areas needing improvements and addressing them quickly.
The current GCPA score (the lower the number, the better) for Proton at the end of June 2018 is 1,763 demerit points with a target of 1500 points by the end of 2018. In comparison, the scores for Geely and Volvo vehicles are 1,200 points and 850 points, respectively.