Proton launches S70, priced from RM73,800

KUALA LUMPUR: Proton Holdings Bhd has launched the S70 compact sedan and is targeting to sell over 3,000 units a month for the first year.

Chief executive officer (CEO) Dr Li Chunrong said the 1.5-liter turbo S70 comes in four variants, namely the Executive, Premium, Flagship and Flagship X.

The price for the Executive model starts from RM73,800, the Premium starts from RM79,800, the Flagship starts from RM89,800 and the Flagship X model starts from RM94,800.

"The C-segment S70 is priced competitively and offers more space, features and the latest technology.

"Our strategy is to get more volume as we need to support our workers and ecosystems," he told reporters after the launch of the S70 here today.

The launch was officiated by Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI) Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz.

The S70 has received about 1,200 bookings so far and will be delivered early next year with the Premium and Flagship variants being the most popular.

He said other variants will also be in demand due to the competitive pricing and expects at least 5,000 bookings by the end of this year.

On expanding into the Asean market, Li said Thailand and Indonesia are huge in terms of market size but are also competitive penetration-wise.

"Hence, Proton will also be looking for markets outside of Asean," he said.

Proton deputy CEO Roslan Abdullah said the national carmaker is currently exporting to 15 countries, among them are South Africa, Pakistan, Kenya and Brunei.

"We are exploring more countries to export to, such as Central Asia, and are looking to add at least another five countries to our export market," he said.

Roslan added that export volume is still low, at about 2,500 units this year, following a dip in demand from Pakistan which was affected by an economic slowdown.

Pakistan initially stated to import around 10,000 units in 2023, he said.

Meanwhile, Tengku Zafrul, in his keynote address, said the S70 enables Proton to return to the C-segment compact sedan market after the success of their sport utility vehicle models.

He also noted that Malaysia is the only country in Asean with two home-grown original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

"As of the end of October, our total industry volume or TIV has grown by 11.6 per cent from 2022. With slightly more than a month remaining for this year, we are on track to break the all-time volume record that was set just last year.

"I have also taken note that Proton is becoming one of Malaysia's main exporters of vehicles. Although the numbers remain relatively small, MITI's challenge to Proton is for it to see a rapid expansion on the back of the introduction of new models like the S70," he said.

Tengku Zafrul also said that Malaysia's automotive industry has contributed more than RM30 billion to the gross domestic product (GDP), with an annual production output of over 500,000 vehicles.

"If we look at this industry from the context of its whole ecosystem, the industry's contribution is greater, making up roughly 4.0 per cent of Malaysia's GDP. By 2030, our target is to achieve RM104.2 billion in GDP contribution with a total production volume of 1.47 million vehicle units.

"Our plan is for these numbers to be partly contributed by energy-efficient vehicles," he said.

Tengku Zafrul also highlighted that Malaysia's broader strategy is to leverage the growth prospects of electric vehicles (EVs).

The Asean EV market was valued at nearly US$500 million in 2021 and is projected to reach US$2.7 billion by 2027, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of almost 33 per cent from 2022 to 2027.

"I am happy to hear that Proton is finalising its EV technology, and something exciting is coming up soon.

"This is particularly advantageous when the government is fully committed to supporting a robust EV ecosystem in the country and making green mobility part of our mainstream transportation," he added. – BERNAMA

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