I had to rub my eyes and do a double take when I saw a Proton Saga on the streets of Cape Town a few years ago, not realising that our national carmaker had a presence in South Africa. Yes, Proton sells cars in South Africa, but that has now come to an end after one decade.

South Africa’s IOL reports that Proton has stopped selling new cars in the republic, although it will continue to honour warranties and provide after-sales support to customers. There are six multi-franchise dealers supporting Protons, located in Nelspruit, East London, Pinetown, Bloemfontein, Edenvale and Menlyn.

“The brand is still active, however, given the exchange rate and the local cost of the units out of Malaysia, importation of new models is not viable as the cars can just not compete on price. After sales service is, however, continuing as per normal, and will continue for the forseeable future as long as there’s a demand,” said Kyri Michael, GM of Associated Motor Holdings (AMH) Shared Services.

In 2004, Proton was launched in South Africa as a joint venture with Pearl Automotive Pty Ltd. A year later, AMH introduced the Gen.2, before gradually expanding the range to include the Saga, Satria Neo Savvy and Persona. As is the norm with unestablished brands from the East, Proton cars were offered with keen pricing, and around 5,000 units have been sold there to date. South Africa is a right-hand drive market.

As it exits South Africa, recent reports say that Proton is trying to get a piece of the Bangladesh car market.