The prolonged global chip shortage continues to hurt Proton where it hurts – the national carmaker announced that sales fell by a considerable 32.2% in April to 8,839 units, including exports (8,383 units domestically). This is despite the company working hard to clear a backlog of orders, making up for the shortfall in production in the first three months of the year.
Compared to the same month in 2021, this figure represents a 41.1% decline; market share has also fallen from 18.6% in March to an estimated 15.6%, even though the year-to-date figure is broadly similar at 17%. Proton says it remains the second bestselling carmaker in overall YTD sales and market share, though it refrained from making the same proclamation for the month, suggesting that it has fallen down the order.
The company claims it led the way in three market segments – the X50 for B-segment SUVs with 1,554 units sold, the X70 for C-segment SUVs with 1,530 units sold and the Exora for C-segment SUVs with 301 units sold. The Saga remained Proton’s bestselling model with sales of 4,579 units, although it has fallen behind the Perodua Bezza in the segment stakes.
The company also said that April was the entry-level sedan’s last full month of sales for the current model, confirming a May launch for the updated 2022 model. Meanwhile, the B-segment Persona sedan (622 units sold) and Iriz hatchback (253 units sold) were third and fourth in their segments respectively.
“After two years of pandemic affected sales, Malaysia’s automotive market continues to show strong growth potential in 2022, as evidenced by the long waiting list for new car deliveries,” said Proton Edar CEO Roslan Abdullah. “Proton is also trying to catch up to market demand, but we also must acknowledge being the most affected by chip supply issues.”
Roslan added that the company has at least secured its semiconductor supply for May and June and expects a “quick turnaround” in the coming months. “The situation is still uncertain for the rest of the year and the global car industry is under pressure from rising costs, but the company is working on countermeasures against these issues to ensure our customers get the best products and value in Malaysia and abroad.”
Exports also fell sharply to 456 units, although Proton has at least chalked up a 109.7% increase year-to-date compared to 2021 at 1,573 units. Pakistan was by far and away the biggest export market with YTD sales of 1,050 units, followed by Egypt at 172 units and Brunei at 138 units.