Proton has made its official return in South Africa with the launch of two SUVs – the X50 and the X70 – after a 10-year hiatus.

Four variants of the X50 will be sold in South Africa including the Standard from R449,900 (RM117k), Luxury from R499,900 (RM130k), Executive from R535,900 (RM139k), and the TGDi Premium variant from R579,900 (RM150k). Compared to the local X50, the Standard starts from RM86k, Executive from RM93k, Premium from RM101k and the Flagship from RM113k.

In case you’re wondering, the specification for the Standard, Luxury, and Executive variants of the X50 in South Africa are similar to the Standard, Executive, and Premium variants in Malaysia. The Premium TGDi variant is similar in specifications to the Flagship variant in Malaysia.

The top of the range TGDi Premium in South Africa puts out 177 PS and 255 Nm of torque from a 1.5 litre three-cylinder turbocharged engine with direct injection, while the lower variants of the X50 produces 150 PS and 226 Nm of torque from the same 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine with multi-point injection.

As for the X70, the Standard 2WD variant starts from R529,900 (RM137k), Executive 2WD from R579,900 (RM150k), Executive AWD from R629,900 (RM145k) and the range-topping Premium 2WD from R639,900 (RM163k). For comparison, the Standard 2WD in Malaysia starts from RM98k, Executive 2WD from RM110k, Executive AWD from RM116k and the Premium 2WD from RM123k.

Unlike the X50, all variants of the X70 are powered by the 1.5 litre three-cylinder TGDi engine with 177 PS and 255 Nm of torque.

The Proton X50 and X70 will be sold via Combined Motor Holdings (CMH) through 25 dealers within the next six months. The first 17 of which have already undergone sales and technical training, with a full range of replacement parts already in stock at a distribution centre.

The two SUVs will be joined by the Proton Saga later this year or beginning in 2023. Currently, export sales for Proton at the end of August stood at 4,040 units, representing an increase of 33.9% over the total number for 2021.

“Proton is aggressively pursuing export sales as we believe it is one of the pillars to growing our overall volumes. There is a lot of potential for growth in our international markets, not just for the Proton brand but for the local automotive industry too so we want to establish a firm foothold while these markets are still accessible,” said Roslan Abdullah, Proton deputy CEO.

“Our aim is to achieve 6,000 export sales this year and while we remain confident of achieving our goal, there is a lot of work ahead of us to identify suitable partners to gain entry to more countries to achieve bigger goals in the future,” he added.