Fifty units of the left-hand drive (LHD) Preve will be on their way to San Antonio to mark the first batch of cars from the total of 1,000 units that Proton plans to sell in Chile this year.
Proton cars will be sold in Chile by Andes Motor, a subsidiary of the Kaufmann Group which signed a distributor agreement with Proton on July 1 last year. Andes Motor is a distributor for commercial trucks and buses in Chile, and Proton Preve will be the only passenger car in its inventory.
“Our plan to export to Chile started back when the Malaysia-Chile Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was signed on Feb 25, 2012. Proton enjoys a 6 per cent 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 market place for the entry of a left-hand drive market for our cars,” said Proton chief executive officer Datuk Abdul Harith Abdullah.
Launch sales for the Preve and Exora in Chile are targeted for this May 2016, followed by the Saga in November. The models that will be available for the Chilean market are the Preve 1.6 Standard MT, Preve 1.6 Executive MT and Preve 1.6 Premium CVT. For the Exora, it will be the 1.6 Standard CVT and Exora 1.6 Premium CVT. This November, the Saga FLX 1.6 Standard MT and Saga FLX 1.6 Premium MT will make its debut entry.
When asked on why it took so long for Proton to re-introduce its cars to Chile, Harith said: “Looking for the right distributor is a big issue for us. And it is not for the Chilean market only, but other South American countries as well.”
Harith said that Proton for the time being is not looking to penetrate markets that require very specific regulations and requirements. “We are now focusing to achieve economies of scale for markets that have general requirements first, such as India, Bangladesh, China and Asean countries, other than Chile,” he said.
“But for markets that have very tight and stringent regulations, one of our strategies to bring our cars is with the development of our new engines which will meet Europe’s tightest requirements.”
Cars, Bikes & Trucks was also told that the six-speed manual gearbox for the Suprima S and Iriz is still under research and development processes, and will be introduced into the export market before domestic market. As for the Australian market, Proton plans to introduce the Suprima S and Iriz soon, after the stock issue of the Preve has been resolved.
By: Amirul Hazmi