KUALA LUMPUR: Proton Holdings Bhd re-enters the Chilean market with Preve left-hand drive cars after its last export of Proton Wira in 1998.
In a statement today, the national car manufacturer said the first batch of 50 Proton Preve cars, from the total of 1,000 units it anticipated to ship to Chile this year, would be on its way to San Antonio.
“Proton cars will be sold by Andes Motor, a unit of the Kaufmann Group, a distributor for Chile who signed the distributor agreement with Proton on July 1, 2015,” it said.
Proton chief executive officer Datuk Abdul Harith Abdullah said the plan to export to Chile started when the Malaysia-Chile Free Trade Agreement was signed on Feb 25, 2012.
“Proton enjoys a six per cent exemption of import duty and we are thankful to the Malaysian government for this trade initiative which enables us to identify a viable marketplace for left-hand drive cars from us,” he said.
Besides the Prevé, two other models, namely Exora and Saga will also be marketed in Chilean main cities of Santiago, Concepcion Vina La Serena, Antofagasta and Valdivia Temuco Osorno.
“We are excited to re-enter the Chilean market after selling almost 3,000 cars from 1994 to 1998,” he said, adding that Proton’s partner, Kaufmann Group is a leading distributor of buses, trucks and luxury cars with a vast network of dealers and after-sales services.
He said Proton would be Kaufmann Group’s first and only passenger car brand to be marketed for its mass market.
With a population of 17.6 million and total industry volume of around 330,000 passenger cars, he said Chile is a huge market potential for Proton to increase its production volume and expand its sales and market presence.
Abdul Harith said Proton was positive that this was the beginning of many more opportunities to go global, especially after it had completed its new engine programme to meet the more stringent regulations of European countries.
“We shall continue to build good cars and carry out product improvements so that we not only do better on the home turf but also improve our global presence,” he said.
The sales launch for the Prevé and Exora in Chile is set for May 2016 followed by the Saga in November 2016.
The models that will be available for the Chilean market are Preve 1.6 Standard Manual Transmission (MT), Preve 1.6 Executive MT and Preve 1.6 Premium Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).
For the Exora, it will be the 1.6 Standard CVT and Exora 1.6 Premium CVT.
The Saga FLX 1.6 Standard MT and Saga FLX 1.6 Premium MT will make their debut in Chile in November 2016. --BERNAMA