National car maker Proton recently signed a Memorandum Of Agreement (MOA) with electric car brand smart Automobile Company (smart) to work together to introduce the latter’s range of New Energy Vehicles (NEV) into the rapidly growing ASEAN automotive market.
The agreement will see both parties collaborating via Proton Edar, who will be appointed as the importer, distributor, and dealer for smart in Malaysia and Thailand, and smart Automobile (Nanning) Sales Co. Ltd. (a fully owned subsidiary of smart Automobile), who will fulfil the role of a gateway for smart to the region.
The signing ceremony took place virtually with Roslan Abdullah, Chief Executive Officer of Proton Edar, and Ulf Nestler, Vice President of Finance for smart, acting as signatories for their respective companies. Also present to witness the event were Dato’ Sri Syed Faisal Albar, Chairman of Proton, Tong Xiangbei, Chief Executive Officer of smart and Dr Li Chunrong, Chief Executive Officer of Proton.
“With the signing of the MOA, Proton is taking its first steps on its New Energy Vehicle strategic journey. By collaborating with smart, we will be able to gain experience in the selling, servicing, and charging of NEVs and build up the skill sets we require to be a force in ASEAN’s rapidly expanding NEV sector. This is also an opportunity to tap on smart’s customer base, which will open up more opportunities for the Proton brand,” said Syed Faisal Albar
According to forecasts by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the NEV market will grow to around 10 million units in Southeast Asia by 2025. With an all-electric new product portfolio due to be launched in coming years, smart will be well placed to take advantage of growth in the region.
“With smart’s ‘dual-home’ (Europe and China) business strategy, the company already covers two of the world’s largest automotive markets. Now, as part of our forward-looking strategy, we are joining hands with Proton in Southeast Asia. With minimal investment, the agreement will allow us to enter the Thai and Malaysian markets in the near future. As our regional partner, Proton has a first-class corporate reputation, extensive experience and valuable knowledge of local operations. We look forward to working together to provide consumers in Southeast Asia with a new premium, intelligent, all-electric driving experience.” said Tong Xiangbei.
The MOA with Proton Edar is for the company to establish a multi-level sales and service network in Malaysia and Thailand, as well as a brand experience centre and a number of sales locations, providing local markets with sales and after-sales services for smart vehicles. Currently, there are no plans to collaborate beyond the tenets of the agreement