2014 has been a washout year for Proton and 2015 isn't looking good for the national carmaker. Total sales for calendar year 2014 reached a new low of 115,783 units, eroding its market share to just 17.4 percent but the company is optimistic that Proton will turnaround by the end of financial year ending March 2016.
10 years ago, in 2004, when the market was less competitive with less foreign makes competing with Proton, its annual figures were 168,616 units sold, and a 34.6 percent market share. The all-new Proton Iriz was launched with much fanfare but market acceptance has been lukewarm, forcing Proton to offer up to RM8,000 discount for the recently launched model.
Proton's CEO Datuk Abdul Harith Abdullah told Bernama that Proton has sold 11,000 units of the Iriz since its launch in September 2014, and that it expects sales to improve over the next few months, especially with the coming Hari Raya festival.
"The Iriz is very saleable as it has technological characteristics only available in continental cars. But consumers only pay half of what they would pay for a continental car," he said.
Meanwhile, The Edge Markets also quoted Datuk Harith as saying “I have to admit that we recorded our lowest [sales] performance last year. But that did not deter us from moving forward. Based on our plan, I am optimistic that the road to recovery will materialise by FY16.”
He also said, “We recorded dismal sales last year, perhaps the worst performance ever. But sales last month (March) has surpassed 10,000 units. If we keep the momentum going, we should be able to reach 130,000 units this year,” adding that much of the sales will be driven by the Iriz and Saga.
He also said that Proton sold 5,000 cars in the Middle East last year, mainly contributed by demand for the Persona.