SUBANG JAYA, Aug 18 (Bernama) — Proton Holdings Bhd (Proton) today signed a general distributorship agreement (GDA) with smart Automobile Co Ltd (smart) to sell premium electric vehicles (EV) and provide services in Malaysia and Thailand.
Chairman Datuk Seri Syed Faisal Albar Syed Ali Rethza Albar said via the agreement, the first smart model to be sold by Proton during the first phase of the collaboration would be launched in early fourth quarter of next year.
He said Proton and smart would able to expand their customer base and gain new revenue stream from more affluent and younger buyers in Malaysia and Thailand.
“We will also gain critical knowledge on how to market, sell and service new energy vehicles, which is a new business market for us and give better access to export markets like Thailand that has a well-established EV policy and consumer exposure.
“This also an opportunity for Proton to push the development of Automotive High Tech Valley in Tanjong Malim, Perak while creating opportunities in the national automotive ecosystem,” he said in his speech at the GDA signing ceremony here, today.
He said the experience derived from selling and service smart vehicles as well as managing the operations of an EV business would pay dividends when it comes to developing Proton’s own EV offerings.
Syed Faisal Albar said Proton also planned to invest in a charging network and establish its own charging system for both private and public charging.
“This includes the provision, installation, and maintenance of a charging wall box for home use while partnering with a local charging player for public charging service.
“Our public charging service plan is to cover the most popular driving routes to ease customer journeys and we need to ensure EV customers in more rural settings are served as quickly as those in more densely populated urban areas,” he said.
Proton deputy chief executive officer (CEO) Roslan Abdullah said some 10,000 smart EV units are targeted to be sold until 2027, or around 800 to 1,000 units per year in the Malaysian market.
The first EV smart model would be available in Thailand in the second half of 2024, he added.
Meanwhile, Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional Sdn Bhd CEO Dr Li Chunrong said: “Today marks a big step for entry into the new EV market.
“The first phase of business with smart is focused on retailing but it provides us with valuable knowledge and experience not only on how to service and charge EVs but also on how to transform the way we interact with our customers.”
Proton’s progress into this market segment would also help to drive its move towards being more environmentally-friendly in all facets of its operations as the car maker works to help Malaysia achieve its carbon neutrality target by 2050, Li added.
smart is a joint-venture between Mercedes-Benz and Geely Group, with both parties leveraging synergies in research and development, manufacturing and supply chain to develop smart into a world-leading, premium EV technology brand.