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Proton is coming back to South Africa – When you can buy one

Proton, the Malaysian car manufacturer, has signed an agreement with CMH Group in South Africa to once again distribute its vehicles in the country starting in 2022.

This comes roughly seven years after the brand retracted from South Africa citing deteriorating market conditions as the reason.

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

What’s coming

Proton confirmed that its first shipment of fully imported vehicles will go on sale in South Africa in September.

At launch, two SUVs will be offered in the form of the X50 and X70, which Proton developed in partnership with Geely.

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

“Our new model range offers advanced features that are on par with many competitors from other brands and in many of our markets, the Proton X50 and Proton X70 sit near the top of their class in terms of specifications yet are sold at prices equivalent to or less than their direct rivals.”

Proton exports

Proton has had a bumpy ride these past 12 years. The brand ended 2010 with 29,833 units exported to overseas markets, which decreased to only 248 units exported by 2017.

The company seems to have found its stride recently again and in 2021, it was back at 3,018 units exported around the globe.

For this year, the automaker is planning to take exports to over 10,000 units, it said.

Prior to the addition of South Africa, Proton was exporting cars to 13 overseas markets and has been expanding its assembly operations to different countries outside Malaysia.

“From 12.8% of total exports in 2019, the number grew to 30.2% in 2020 and hit 60.9% in 2021, making the brand the number one vehicle exporter [in Malaysia],” said the company.

“Proton’s long-term goals require exports to play a major role to grow the company’s overall sales as TIV (total industry volume) 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.”

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