SUBANG JAYA (Aug 18): Proton Holdings Bhd on Thursday (Aug 18) formalised a deal to sell and service vehicles from premium energy vehicle (EV) brand Smart Automobile Co Ltd in Malaysia and Thailand, with the first Smart model to be sold by Proton — during the first phase of the collaboration — early in the fourth quarter of 2023.
This is after both parties put pen to paper by signing a general distribution agreement, which is expected to pave the way for the introduction of new EVs by the national carmaker ahead.
"For Smart, the first model is set to be launched in Malaysia in the fourth quarter next year,” Proton chairman Datuk Seri Syed Faisal Albar Syed AR Albar said in a speech.
Through the collaboration agreement, Proton will gain critical knowledge of how to market, sell and service new EVs, given that these are all new areas to many car manufacturers.
“Most importantly, we want Smart customers to feel that they are part of an exciting journey of an environmentally clean and sustainable future, while they can do it with premium feel and style with Smart cars.
“We also believe that all companies in Malaysia should work together in the EV space to accelerate the implementation of the infrastructure.
“Therefore, we require strong policies from the government to bring all the players together, so that we have a comprehensive road map in this new area,” added Syed Faisal.
While Proton’s collaboration with Smart is primarily a retail operation, there are developments to pave the way for Proton's entry into the EV market.
Proton chief executive officer Dr Li Chunrong, who was also present at the ceremony, noted that the national carmaker intends to model retail operations for Smart based on what the company does in other markets.