ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s gifted Proton X70 SUV to Prime Minister Imran Khan has been received by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood on Monday during a ceremony organised in Islamabad.
Addressing the ceremony, Mr Dawood expressed his gratitude to PM Mahathir, and stated that in the future, trade activities between the two countries would increase.
“Malaysia is the only Muslim country that produces its own automobiles,” Mr Dawood stated, adding that Malaysia’s development in the last 30 years “is remarkable.”
The Malaysian Prime Minister had gifted the Proton SUV to PM Imran Khan during his visit to Pakistan this year.
Mr Mahathir had also announced to set up an assembly plant of the vehicle manufacturer in Pakistan.
The Malaysian national carmaker Proton in collaboration with Al-Haj automotive will set up the first overseas completely knocked down (CKD) plant in Pakistan which is expected to start production by June 2020 with its model Saga.
The event of the ground-breaking symbolic ceremony of the plant took place on March 22, 2019 that was officiated by the PM Khan and his Malaysian counterpart Mahathir Mohammad.
The Chairman of Proton Datuk Seri Syed Faisal Albar was also present at the event who believed that the initiative could result as a gateway for the company to penetrate other countries as well.
While speaking to the Malaysian media after the ceremony, he had said that the company was keen to implement its export strategy which involves keeping an eye on the countries which hold multi-trade agreements with other nearby countries.
According to the agreement, Al-Haj would be the official distributor of Proton vehicles in Pakistan. The local auto manufacturer was also announced to build a CKD plant in Karachi with an investment of $30 million.
According to Chairman of Proton, the company repositioned its export strategy and planned to target important automobile markets with a long-term investment purpose.
The new export strategy also involves assembling of cars in the local market instead of sending completely built units (CBUs) of vehicles.
He had quoted the example of partnership with Pakistani automotive group in this regard where the joint venture would help in creating nearly 2,000 direct jobs within the first three years of the investment.
The company had also selected Pakistan as its first location for a CKD plant because it believed that the auto market has a huge potential of growth in the future.
The trend of new entrants making their way into the local industry of Pakistan was on the rise ever since the government announced its Automotive Development Policy (ADP) 2016-21 which offers several incentives to the new players.
PROTON Holdings Berhad is a Malaysian automotive company and automobile corporation active in automobile design, manufacturing, distribution and sales.
Proton aims to leave its footprint in the automobile sector of Pakistan by creating as many as 20,000 jobs.
Proton is also looking to grab the opportunity to take a competitive advantage before the market saturates with too many new auto manufacturers.
Currently, not many global auto brands exist in Pakistan which encourages new investments in the sector wholeheartedly.
Proton was established back in 1983, and since then it has been able to sell more than 3 million cars.
The company already operates in more than 25 countries worldwide which includes Australia and Singapore.
The auto manufacturer will be targeting the production capacity of 25,000 units in the first year of its operation. Proton has a clear plan of introducing its Saga as the first model in Pakistan.
The reason behind introducing Saga is the company’s strategy to position itself in accordance with the tax structure incentives in Pakistan which is different for cars of 1600 cc and above engine capacity.
As Proton Saga would be featuring an engine of 1500 cc and below capacity, it would greatly fit in the local market.
The company believed that Karachi was an ideal place for building its manufacturing plant as it was considered as the center of the automotive industry in the country.