Having had a strong market presence during the mid-1990s, PROTON is making a much anticipated return to Chile with the first 50 units of left hand drive Preves bound for San Antonio, Chile, ceremoniously flagged off on the 1st of March by PROTON’S Chairman, Tun Dr. Mahathir, accompanied by Dato’ Abdul Harith Abdullah, the CEO of PROTON.
The 50 LHD Preves is the first batch from a total of 1,000 units PROTON anticipates to sell in Chile this year, and they’re shall be sold by Andes Motor, a subsidiary of the Kaufmann Group, a distributor for Chile who signed the Distributor Agreement with PROTON on 1 July 2015. In addition to the Prevé, there shall also be LHD Exoras and Sagas set to be marketed in the major cities in Chile, those being Santiago, Concepcion Vina La Serena, Antofagasta and Valdivia Temuco Osorno.
According to Dato’ Harith, “Our plan to export to Chile started back when the Malaysia-Chile Free Trade Agreement (“FTA”) was signed on 25 February 2012. PROTON enjoys a 6% exemption of import duty and we are thankful to the Malaysian government for this trade initiative. This gave us the opportunity to identify a viable marketplace for our left-hand drive cars.” Dato’ Harith further elaborated, “We are excited to re-enter the Chilean market after we sold almost 3,000 units of cars back then, from 1994 to 1998. Now, we have a new partner, a leading distributor of buses, trucks and luxury cars with a vast network of sales and after sales services. PROTON will be their first and only passenger car brand to be marketed for the mass market, with Chile’s population of 17.6 million and a total industry volume of around 330,000 passenger cars – a huge market potential for PROTON.”
As per PROTON’s business plans in the immediate future, Dato’ Harith explained that, “We are positive that this is the beginning of many more opportunities to go global, especially after we complete our current new engine programs for us 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 in our home turf, but improve our global presence as well,” Dato’ Harith added further.
The launch sales for the Prevé and Exora in Chile are targeted to be in May 2016 followed with the Saga in November 2016. The models that will be available for the Chilean market are Prevé 1.6 Standard MT, Prevé 1.6 Executive MT and Prevé 1.6 Premium CVT. Meanwhile for the Exora, it will be the 1.6 Standard CVT and Exora 1.6 Premium CVT. In November 2016, the Saga FLX 1.6 Standard MT and Saga FLX 1.6 Premium MT will make its debut entry.