By Muhammad Luqman
Malaysia’s leading car manufacturing company is all set to build its first South Asian manufacturing plant in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi by June this year.
The company has entered into a joint venture with Pakistani firm, Al-Haj Automobiles.
The symbolic groundbreaking of the plant was performed by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan in Islambad on Friday. During his recently concluded visit to Pakistan, Dr. Mahathir had also gifted a proton car to Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Agreement signing ceremony between Al-HAJ Automobiles and Proton was held in Malaysian capital ,Kuala Lumpur on 29 August last year. As per the agreement, Al-Haj Group will exclusively sell and assemble sedans, crossovers, SUVs, electric vehicles and hatchbacks of the Malaysian automaker in the country.
The partnership will bring around $200-$300 million investment in Pakistan. The company reportedly has purchased land in Karachi to build a manufacturing plant dedicated for Proton vehicles.
Proton Exora is a compact multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) which is available in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Brunei and Australia. It debuted on 15 April 2009 and since then it has received facelifts as well. The MPV is a front-wheel drive and has 7-seating capacity just like Honda BR-V. It comes in two different engines and three different transmission options. As far as the engine options are concerned, it ships with 1.6 L CamPro CPS DOHC I4 engine and 1.6 L CamPro CFE DOHC I4 Turbo.
Moreover, it comes with a 5-speed manual, 4-speed auto and 6-speed CVT automatic. In the local market, its direct competitors are Honda BR-V and Toyota Rush.
“These partnerships are just the beginning and I look forward to more and more partnerships,” says Chairman Board of Investment Haroon Sharif.
The Proton plant, near the southern port city of Karachi, is going to be the latest in a series of assembly units set up in Pakistan by international auto makers recently including Volkswagen AG and Hyundai Motors.
“We were told that the first Proton which will be assembled here will be on the roads next June in Pakistan,” Sharif said.
With the entry of Malaysian car maker, the monopoly of Japanese four wheel companies will further weaken.