KARACHI: Malaysia’s automaker Proton Holdings planned to introduce its electric and other green-cars in Pakistan in partnership with a local car assembler in a deal touted to bring $200 to 300 million of investment in the country, people with knowledge of the matter said on Thursday.
Industry officials said local Alhaj Automotive Private Limited recently signed an agreement with Proton as the exclusive authorised distributor and assemblers of Proton vehicles in Pakistan. The agreement signing ceremony was held in Kuala Lumpur.
Alhaj Group would introduce modern and high tech vehicles in different categories, including entry and mid level sedans, crossovers/sports utility vehicles, multi-purpose vehicle and hatchbacks. The vehicles will be equipped with the latest and modern technologies/features and will be provided in cheapest prices.
The group has already acquired land to set up car assembly plant in Port Qasim.
The agreement came on the heels of a recent upgraded partnership between Proton Holdings and its major stakeholder Zhejiang Geely Holding Group to tap green-car technologies outside Malaysia.
Analyst Faiz Sultan at BMA Capital Management said it was a second attempt by Proton to enter Pakistani market. Previously, the response was mix, he said.
“The deal shows the attractiveness of new auto policy aimed at increasing investment in the sector and improved choices for the consumers,” Sultan added.
Japan-based car assemblers Suzuki, Honda and Toyota dominate the Pakistan’s auto sector, but the market dynamics are changing after the introduction of new auto policy that is encouraging new entrants.
Foreign and local ventures, including French automaker Renault, are setting up new plants to meet growing demand of cars in the 200,000 to 250,000 auto market.
Al-Haj Group is a leading business group in the country, involved in transportation, oil, and tires and are also the authorised distributor/assemblers of Faw products and Hyundai heavy commercial products.
It has a much diversified experience especially in automobile sector with an equally diversified team of professionals.
Established in 1983, Proton holds major share in the Malaysian automotive industry. It also controls British sports car maker Lotus.
In August last year, Chinese owner of Sweden’s Volvo Cars Zhejiang Geely Holding Group signed an agreement to acquire a 49.9 percent stake in Proton.
The deal gives Geely a distribution network in Southeast Asia, where non-Japanese brands have struggled. Proton gets a financially strong partner and possibly more advanced technology.
Geely is one of China’s biggest independent auto brands. It started producing motorcycles in the 1990s and launched its first car in 2002. It bought Volvo from Ford Motor Co. in 2010. The carmaker might manufacture Geely’s latest models under the Proton brand name.