Aside from reporting its best export numbers in 98 months, Proton has also confirmed that it will soon make a return to Thailand and Indonesia. No details have been revealed just yet, but the company said it will resume importing cars to those markets in the “very near future.”
The national carmaker has big long-term plans for the region, as it aims to become the third best-selling brand in Southeast Asia. The company sees significant export growth as a major stepping stone towards becoming a viable business, and an entry into the region’s two biggest markets is key to its goal.
“For Proton to be the third best-selling brand in ASEAN, we need to have a major presence in Thailand and Indonesia. As the biggest automotive markets in the region they offer enormous volume potential, but the level of competition is also very high. For both countries, we have been busy recruiting partners to build a network that ensures a viable business model and in the short term, our target is to return to Thailand in 2022,” said director of international sales Steven Xu.
Although Proton did not specify which models it will sell in those two countries, we can expect it to offer the same cars as it does in other export markets, including the Saga, Iriz, Persona and X70. The company is also looking to export the X50 but has already said it would only be able to do so after it can cope with demand in the Malaysian market, where the waiting period remains long.
The crossover has already been spotted in the Land of Smiles and is expected to be offered with a localised version of the “Hi Proton” voice control system. Partner Geely said that Proton has been working on translating the system into Thai for the relaunch.
Proton’s export plans will bolster Geely’s presence in ASEAN. The company is already doing well in the Philippines, where the X50’s Coolray twin is the best-selling subcompact (B-segment) SUV. Overall, the Chinese brand lies ninth in the sales standings, with 1,313 vehicles finding homes in the first quarter of the year, AutoIndustriya.com reports.