Proton, which today announced that it was targeting to increase its sales volume by 32% this year, is looking at a significant growth in exports to help it achieve its aim. According to its CEO Li Chunrong, the national automaker is targeting 4,000 units for export in 2020, a considerable increase from that managed last year.

Speaking at the company’s Chinese New Year medial luncheon earlier today, he said that the figure could potentially swell to around 6,000 units with additional help and incentives from the government. In December, Li said that the automaker planned to increase its exports once it launched new and upgraded models this year, and had at that point mentioned a target of 5,000 cars a year.

In the last two years, Proton has been able to increase its exports to 1,000 units from the 200 vehicles it did in 2017, but as Li said last month, this – and the country’s 3% export rate for its locally-assembled cars – is not enough.

He said that with the company seeking to become an “international brand” and a top three player in ASEAN by 2027, exports – and the right products – would play an important part in getting the company there. Li has also said that the automaker, which is targeting to shift 400,000 units annually and have a 30% market share locally by 2027, is ready to mix it up with the likes of Honda and Toyota,

The automaker’s largest export market currently is Egypt, where it sells left-hand drive Saga and Exora models. Proton is also set to ramp up its presence in Pakistan – it is collaborating with local distributor Alhaj Automotive to build a CKD assembly plant in Karachi.

Production activities are scheduled to begin in 2021, with plans to assemble several Proton models – including the X70 SUV – in the country. It has been previously reported that around 2,000 direct employment opportunities will be created within the plant’s first three years of operations, with a further 20,000 indirect jobs expected.