Proton and its Pakistani partner Al-Haj Automotive exchanged documents for Licensing and Technical Agreement for the Proton Assembly Project at an event held in Beijing on the 26th of April 2019.
This is part of the vision of the Malaysian government and Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohammad in particular, who is also the founding father of Proton brand, to see the automaker grow and expand its overseas market. Mahatir Mohammad was also present at the event and witnessed the exchange of documents.
The plant in Karachi will be Proton’s first factory in the South Asian region. Being built with an initial investment of US$30 million and a targeted capacity of 25,000 units a year, the plant is expected to commence operations by June 2020.
Around 2,000 direct employment opportunities will be created within the plant’s first three years of operations, with another 20,000 indirect jobs made available. Furthermore, as part of the agreement, Al-Haj will also be the sole distributor for Proton vehicles in Pakistan.
With Proton aiming to sell 400,000 units a year by 2027 as part of its “seven stars” strategy, export sales and the establishment of CKD assembly plants in overseas markets represent an important step to achieve that figure.
The 1.3 liter Saga sedan will be the first model to be offered whereas according to Proton, the company is studying the consumer behavior to introduce more models in Pakistan.
Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke, who was also present at the event, said the move will help ensure Proton continues to expand, penetrate the international market, and increase exports overseas.
“Pakistan is a good market to begin with. They will continue to develop and expand their investment in research and development.”