Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Proton aims to sell 500 Personas a month in Thailand

By JAGDEV SINGH SIDHU


BANGKOK: Proton Holdings Bhd is looking to sell 500 units a month of its Persona in Thailand, its best-selling export market in South-East Asia.

The sales target is on top of the 4,000 cars its Thai distributor, Phranakon Auto Sales Co Ltd, expects to sell this year.

Proton has forecast to sell 25,000 completely built-up (CBU) cars abroad this year.

“We have been encouraged by the response to the Proton brand in Thailand,” managing director Datuk Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir told a media conference after the launch of the Persona in Thailand.

The Persona in Thailand comes with a manufacturer-fitted compressed natural gas (CNG) tank and modifications have been made to the engine for it to run on gasohol E20, which is a mixture of 20% ethanol and 80% petrol.

Cars sold in Thailand that are E20 compliant will be entitled to a 5% rebate on excise duty. In Thailand, gasohol is also cheaper than normal petrol.

“The Persona caters to the taste of consumers here. The price of the car with the manufacturer-fitted CNG tank is attractive,” said Phranakon general manager Khun Apichart. “When added together, it’s a right car at the right time.”

The price of the Persona in Thailand ranges from 549,000 baht for the medium-line manual to 629,000 baht for the top-of-the-range high-line version.

Phranakon has 31 dealers in Thailand and is expected to have 40 dealers by year-end, when Proton may introduce the Saga there.

“The MPV (which Proton will launch next year) will open up the horizon for export volume,” Syed Zainal, said, adding that he believed the MPV would add to export sales in Indonesia.

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