National car brand, PROTON, recently reached a production milestone of 10,000 GEP3 1.5-litre TGDI engines at its engine assembly line in Tanjung Malim. As it celebrates this achievement, which happened only about seven months after the first engine unit rolled off the line in April this year, the company is setting a target for 60,000 units in 2023.
Target of 60,000 Engines in 2023
The GEP3 1.5-litre TGDI turbo engine produced by PROTON is part of the company’s commitment to invest RM1.8 billion to upgrade its facilities in Tanjung Malim. It is also a journey that began in 2019 that endured challenging conditions. After the decision was made to build the new assembly line in PROTON’s Tanjung Malim plant, the construction and delivery of components were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nevertheless, the project had to move forwards while the country underwent a movement control order. The operational expansion plan is also in line with the first strategic thrust of the DRB-HICOM Automotive High Technology Valley (AHTV) programme to maximise manufacturing activities in the region.
The project was made possible by a team of PROTON engineers who stationed themselves at Tanjung Malim to begin assembly work. Working together via virtual meeting software with teams from equipment suppliers, and Geely in China, they painstakingly unboxed the components, mapped out the production line and began initial assembly works.
“PROTON’s new engine line is testimony to the grit and determination of our workers to overcoming obstacles and achieving our goals. It is one of the most advanced engine assembly lines in Malaysia with a high level of automation, a climate-controlled environment and multiple testing gateways to ensure the high quality of its output. In 2023 we are targeting an output of 60,000 engines, which will be used across several Proton models,” said Dr Li Chunrong, Chief Executive Officer, PROTON.
Ending 2022 with Positive Sales Trend
PROTON looks set to keep its second place position in the market based on total sales. Its year-to-date (YTD) sales stand at 126,682 units, a growth of 10.4% over the same period in 2021 which was affected by the pandemic lockdowns. Its estimated share of the total market is 19.7%, giving it a hold on to second place. It is also estimated that the Total Industry Volume (TIV) for 2022 will set a record and approach 700,000 units due to improvements in delivery timelines.
For the month of November, PROTON sold 11,316 units as the company grappled with temporary supply issues that led to a month-on-month decrease of 13.1% compared to October 2022. Market share for the month is estimated to be 17.7%.
Individually, five Proton models have already exceeded their total volume from 2021 with two models, the Proton X50 and Proton Exora, leading their respective segments the whole year. Export sales have also increased by over 2,000 units from the previous year as YTD sales now stand at 5,028 units compared to 3,018 for the whole of the previous year.
“November was an eventful sales month for PROTON as we experienced some temporary supply issues that prevented us from achieving our full potential. We are confident of being able to rectify them in December and remain positive about closing out the year strongly,” said Roslan Abdullah, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, PROTON. “PROTON will end 2022 with a fourth consecutive year of sales growth. Aside from benefitting the company, the increase in sales has also increased the volume of parts purchased from local vendors, increased our number of dealers, and created jobs for the automotive ecosystem. With new model introductions in the pipeline for 2023, we hope to be able to increase our contribution to the Malaysia economy by making more local investments, selling more vehicles, and further growing our export markets”.