Proton is gaining momentum in Pakistan. The carmaker has officially announced the start of production of the Proton Saga in Pakistan.

The first unit of the compact sedan rolled off local distributor Al-Haj Automotive’s Karachi plant on October 13. The green field factory was built at a cost of US$20 million (RM83 million) and has an initial annual capacity of 25,000 units. Proton has 20 staff stationed in Karachi to assist the CKD work.

“The successful assembly of the Proton Saga in Pakistan is the culmination of the hard work and untiring efforts of Proton, the entire Al-Haj team, its suppliers and vendors. Even with Covid-19 restrictions in place, we continued to push to build our new assembly plant and as such, we are confident it will set new industry standards and enable us to introduce more products that meet the international quality levels set by Proton,” said Al-Haj Automotive CEO Hilal Khan Alfridi.

Click to enlarge Saga Pakistan specs

Meanwhile, the final CBU batch of the Proton X70 has been shipped from Malaysia to Pakistan. This shipment of 154 units makes it a total of 602 units of Malaysian-made X70s exported to the South Asian country since its launch in December 2020.

This paves the way for CKD local assembly to start in Karachi, with a roll-off set to happen in December. The original plan was for CKD assembly to start in the first quarter of this year, but Covid-19 had other plans.

“Despite Covid-19 severely affecting our project timelines in Pakistan, demand for Proton models in the country remains high for both the Saga and X70 attracting a strong following. Al-Haj has received 2,500 orders for the Saga and over 2,000 orders have been placed for the X70, so we wish to thank the customers for their belief in our products and especially their patience and understanding over the delays in receiving their cars,” said Roslan Abdullah, CEO of Proton Edar.

Click to enlarge X70 Pakistan brochure

“Now that the final shipment of CBU units is on the way and local assembly has started for the Saga with the X70 to roll off the production line before the end of the year, we can finally work to catch up to market demand. This will allow Al-Haj and Proton to establish a strong market presence in the country to benefit future sales growth,” he added.

Curious about what the Pakistan market gets? Click here for the Saga and here for the X70. The X50 is the next model to be assembled in Pakistan, but Proton has said that it will prioritise the Malaysian market first, as there’s still plenty of demand to fulfil here.