Malaysian car marker Proton has raised sales targets from 2,000 units to 5,000 units for 2008. The previous estimate seems to have been overly conservative based on first-quarter sales of 1,500 units.
Increasing fuel prices are helping Proton, as customers are turning to smaller cars like the Savvy. And it is the Savvy that is Proton's most popular model in Thailand, accounting for approximately half of all sales for the company. The Gen-2 is next with around 30% of sales, and finally the Neo with around 20% of the total.
Malaysian carmaker, Proton, is set to join the Thai market. But who in Thailand is going to buy one? Proton's entry to the Thai market has been made possible by the new low tariffs of just 0-5% on cars coming in from Malaysia under the Asean Free Trade Agreement. This will allow Malaysian built cars to compete on price with locally built models.
The cars will be distributed by Phranakorn Auto Sales Co Ltd. And if you visit the Thailand Motor Expo at the end of the year you'll get a chance to look at some of the Proton offerings that will be debuted at the show. Expect Proton models to compete by offering low-price models, and perhaps offer some very competitive finance and warranty deals.
But as with the announced return of Hyundai to the Thai market this year, this is ultimately good news because it means more choice for the consumer. I just can't imagine Proton making much of a splash in Thailand.