Proton says that it will continue to focus on X50 production for the Malaysian market before it plans exports of the SUV. The automaker said that strong response from consumers has seen wait times climb to around six months for the car, and the priority is to address local orders.

“Our main priority is to deliver cars for domestic market orders first and to address the waiting times currently faced by our customers,” it told in a written response to our questions regarding production plans for the SUV.

The X50 will eventually be exported, the automaker said, and one of the markets it will head on to will be Pakistan, although it didn’t disclose when that market introduction would happen. When it does, it will join the X70 and Saga, which are already on sale there.

Both models are set to be locally assembled from the third quarter of this year when Al-Haj Automotive, its partner in the country, begins local production at its new assembly plant in Karachi. According to the automaker, CKD production in Pakistan will eventually expand to incorporate the X50 once it is introduced there. Presently, the X70 and Saga are being sold in the country as CBU models, imported from Malaysia.

The new plant, which was announced in 2019 and was originally supposed to have begun operations before the end of last year, will have a planned capacity of 25,000 units per year and is expected to create around 2,000 direct employment opportunities within the first three years of operations, with a further 20,000 indirect jobs coming as a result of the formation.