Proton launched the Proton Persona in Egypt last week shortly after the model’s launch in Saudi Arabia, and these launches will be followed by a series of launches in Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and Syria over the next two months.
Egypt has a population of 80 million and annual car sales in the country currently stand at 200,000 units a year, with the potential to touch 500,000 units soon. Proton first entered the Egyptian market in 2001 with the Proton Waja and the Proton Wira, and then launched the Proton GEN2 in 2006. The marque is distributed in the country by Alpha Ezz Elarab Co.
They have since sold about 5,500 cars in Egypt since 2001 which is less than 100 cars a month. Proton’s total exports to all 24 export countries including Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore currently stand at 2,000 cars a month. The company is also exploring the possibility of setting up a CKD assembly plant in Egypt which could be an assembly hub for the growing northern African market consisting of countries such as Morocco, Sudan, Algeria and Tunisia.
Despite increased international sales, exports are still a loss-making operation for Proton right now. The recently unveiled Q2 2008-2009 financial year results revealed that Proton made a loss of RM2.9 million for Q2 2008 for export markets.
The Q2 2008-2009 results also revealed that Proton had spent more money making cars (1.839 billion) than it earned selling them (RM1.838 billion, probably because of marketing efforts and the R&D costs of the new Proton MPV), but profited from RM53.4 million ringgit in “other operating revenue” which consists of activities such as aftersales.