Monday 22 Apr 2024
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KUALA LUMPUR (June 3): Proton Holdings Bhd sold 5,676 vehicles in May 2020, down 46.5% from 10,611 units a year earlier as Malaysia’s national car manufacturer contended with challenging market conditions arising from the Covid-19 pandemic-driven Movement Control Order (MCO) and Conditional MCO (CMCO) in Malaysia.

In a statement today, Proton said the 5,676 vehicles sold in May 2020 accounted for an estimated market share of 23.3% in the local automotive industry. Proton said the industry took its first tentative step down the road to recovery during the month as companies restarted operations under CMCO.

"The 5,676 units in May, an improvement of 73.2% compared with March 2020, was despite the need to comply with the standard operating procedures of the CMCO. Year-to-date (YTD) Proton’s volume reduced by 23.3% for the first five months of the year while total industry volume is estimated to have shrunk by 48.7% over the same time period.

"In terms of market positioning and market share, Proton remains as the second most popular car brand in Malaysia with a YTD market share of 21.1%, which is in line with targets set for the year.

"Proton’s performance in May was the direct result of four models being the bestsellers in their respective market segments. The Proton X70 retains its position as the bestselling C-segment SUV (sport utility vehicle) in the country, and cumulatively for 2020. It is also the bestselling SUV overall," Proton said.

Proton chief executive officer Dr Li Chunrong said in the statement that MCO and CMCO were an unprecedented event in Malaysia’s history and affected every aspect of the national economy.

Li said the automotive industry is now moving towards recovery but as expected, the first month of the restricted movement policy was a period of adjustment as the sector adapted to the "new normal" regarding all aspects of operations.

"Proton is thankful our sales have not contracted as much as expected and we also need to say thank you to our vendors who worked tirelessly to ensure we could regain our footing as quickly as possible. It will take a few more months to get an accurate reading of market conditions but we are quite confident from this point onwards. We will see steady growth for the rest of the year,” he said.

Moving forward, Proton said in the statement that for the month of June, the company will continue to offer better value to entice car buyers.

"Purchasers of the Proton X70 will be eligible for 0% financing for the first year, subject to a set of terms and conditions," it said.

According to Proton’s statement, the company began as Malaysia’s first national car project, founded with the aim to accelerate Malaysia’s economic development and lay the foundations for the local automotive industry.

In 2017, Proton entered its next phase to be a modern and global automotive brand; through a partnership between its two principals, DRB-Hicom Bhd and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, according to Proton. News report indicated that DRB-Hicom and Zhejiang Geely in June 2017 signed a definitive agreement under which Zhejiang Geely acquired a 49.9% stake in Proton.

At Bursa today, DRB-Hicom's share price fell three sen or 1.85% to RM1.59 at 11.12am for a market capitalisation of RM3.13 billion. The stock saw 1.84 million shares traded.

Malaysia's MCO, which was initially scheduled between March 18 and 31, requires non-essential businesses to stop operations, while the public was ordered to stay at home to curb the Covid-19 outbreak.

On March 25, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the government decided to extend the MCO until April 14, because updates from the National Security Council and the Health Ministry indicated an increase in Covid-19 cases. On April 10, Muhyiddin said the government was extending the MCO until April 28.

On April 23, he said the MCO would be extended for another two weeks until May 12.

On May 10, the premier said the MCO would be extended to June 9.

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