Saga and Persona, make up 42.7 per cent (24,061 units) and 27.4 per cent (15,448 units) of Proton’s overall car sales in the first nine month

NATIONAL carmaker Proton Holdings Bhd outperformed the industry by a wide margin after it recorded a 12.5 per cent increase in sales in the first nine months of the year.

In the same period, the Malaysian automotive industry posted a 1.7 per cent increase in sales at 425,711 units, mainly driven by a three per cent growth in passenger vehicle sales at 381,800 units.

Proton, which is 50.1 per cent-owned by DRB-HICOM Bhd, with the rest held by Chinese carmaker Zhejiang Geely Holdings Group Co Ltd (Geely), attributed the performance to two models: the Saga and Persona.

“Proton was fortunate with the timing of its Saga and Persona launches in August and September last year, respectively. With the upgrades done on both cars, we have gained traction in car sales, largely contributed by both Saga and Persona, which made up 42.7 per cent (24,061 units) and 27.4 per cent (15,448 units) of Proton’s overall car sales, year-to-date,” said Proton vice-president of sales and marketing Abdul Rashid Musa in a media statement.

“Both these cars also performed much better than last year, with an increase of 9,661 units. The Persona saw a 90 per cent increase in sales compared with the same period last year.”

The third quarter performance was also a sign that the company’s plans and efforts to regain market share were yielding results.

For the nine months ended September 30, Proton was ranked third overall, with a market share of 13.2 per cent, behind market leaders Perodua and Honda, with market shares of 35.6 and 18.5 per cent, respectively.

Over a year ago, it had a 12.5 per cent share of the local automotive market.

“Our efforts to bring Proton cars closer to consumers are beginning to show results. We have been aggressively doing roadshows and displaying key safety features of our cars, which generated a lot of interest among the public.

“This is a positive sign for Proton and this is why we need a good partner to ensure that we can continue to remain competitive in the market. We are aware that there will be constant challenges coming our way, but with our partner, we shall continuously work together for better outcomes,” said Rashid.

In a recent research report, Hong Leong Investment Bank analyst Daniel Wong wrote that Proton would be able to better compete against its peers by leveraging on its strategic partner Geely.

“With Geely as Proton’s foreign strategic partner, it will leverage on Geely’s technology, skill set and financial muscle for its turnaround. Proton will also introduce a new sports utility vehicle model, based on the Geely Boyue, in the second half of next year,” said Wong.

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