February 2022 was a relatively good month of healthy sales for Proton, though not as booming as this time last year. However, past that veil was plenty of drama surrounding their after-sales division’s lack of parts, leading to a backlog of cars not being able to complete their service/repairs and a horde of dissatisfied owners.
Alongside the announcement that the national automaker made a 107% sales gain on the previous month of January with 9,225 units sold and about a third of that contributed to by the X50 alone, Proton has finally spoken up about the shortages of parts afflicting service centre turnaround time and what they intend to do about it.
Roslan Abdullah, Chief Executive Officer, Proton Edar, said in a statement: “PROTON is aware of the issues it faces regarding after sales and parts availability. Our customers have reached out to us, and we deeply regret any inconvenience caused. I would like to reassure them we take every complaint seriously and senior management has identified several bottlenecks and operational issues that require fixing,”
“The first step is to address the availability of parts and we have implemented a mandatory requirement where all dealers are required to have three months holding stock of 22 fast moving parts. Our central parts centre is also subject to the same requirement, and we hope this will ease waiting times for customers. We are also strengthening the capability and knowledge of our dealers to provide excellent after sales service to all Proton customers. There is still a lot left to do but we will give updates on our progress throughout the year.”
Basically, dealers are now required to have 3 months’ worth of holding stock at all times for certain high demand parts and generally keep a larger pool of other parts as well. While this is a positive instruction, where are these parts going to come from?
Clearly this is an issue of limited supply less a surging influx of demand, so if work on the cars already sent in for maintenance have stalled, how are the dealers expected to keep 3 months worth of stock in reserve especially when they are all looking to grab as much inventory as they can for themselves as quickly as possible due to this mandate?
The shortage of parts is also expected to get worse before it gets better as many Proton owners have so far been unable (no appointment slots) or unwilling (wait and see) to send their vehicles in for maintenance or repairs after being told a part needed is/remains unavailable.
Hopefully these supply chain issues, as Proton says, will be solved and service centres are able to quickly addressed the vehicles currently backlogged before filling their reserve stockpile of parts.