All of three Proton models are currently undergoing testing to see how they cope with Indian traffic conditions. However, With its hope to start selling cars in India as early as 2009, Proton announced that it has started negotiations with a local partner for manufacturing and marketing purposes.
Malaysian national carmaker Proton has announced its plans to enter the Indian market.
The company is initially planning to market three models, Savvy, Saga and Persona to the burgeoning Indian market
The three Proton models are currently undergoing field trials and technical evaluation at various locations, testing cars on the sub-continent to ensure they cope with Indian roads and conditions.
The company hopes to launch the first of its cars to the Indian market by early 2009.
The Indian market currently supports annual sales of approximately 1.5 million passenger vehicles.
Proton is negotiating with a joint-venture partner in India to manufacture and market its cars.
“We are looking at a number of possible joint venture partners in India with a strong focus on marketing,” said Syed Zainal, managing director of Proton Cars.
Proton is looking at high fuel efficiency and alternative fuels such as compressed natural gas (CNG) as its main plan in India.
“Our cars are CNG compatible, which is widely accepted and used in India. We may bring CNG and develop other fuel options through our engineering subsidiary, Lotus, depending upon the results of the current feasibility study,” Syed Zainal said.
Proton, which has presence throughout ASEAN as well as in China, Iran, Pakistan, UK and Australia, is keen to be a part of the Indian market, the world’s second fastest growing passenger car market.
“Significant growth has been registered from our overseas operations and our main focus is on developing markets like China and especially India, where 75 percent of the total cars sold are hatchbacks and compacts,” he added.
“India offers huge potential for a company like Proton,” he said.
“In terms of volume, we have set a target of doubling total sales volume to 300,000 units by 2010 and India will be a major part of that growth.
“We are excited about our direction and plans, now that we have laid the foundation for future growth which is already beginning to show results and we’re already delivering on this promise with better product variety, product quality, export performance, revenue diversification and efficiency,” he added.
The company has already flagged its program to include more performance oriented engines as well as diesel powerplants in its forthcoming cars.
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