KUALA LUMPUR: Proton Holdings Bhd has signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with smart Automobile Co Ltd (smart) to introduce the latter's range of New Energy Vehicles (NEVs) into the rapidly growing ASEAN automotive market.
In a statement today, Proton said the agreement would see both parties collaborating via Proton Edar, which would be appointed as the importer, distributor, and dealer for smart in Malaysia and Thailand, and smart Automobile (Nanning) Sales Co Ltd, a fully-owned subsidiary of the premium electric vehicle (EV) brand, which would fulfil the role of a gateway for smart Automobile to the region.
"With the MoA, Proton is taking its first steps on its NEV strategic journey. We will be able to gain experience in selling, servicing, and charging of NEVs and build up the skill sets we require to be a force in ASEAN's rapidly expanding NEV sector.
"This is also an opportunity to tap into smart's customer base, which will open up more opportunities for the Proton brand," said Proton chairman Syed Faisal Albar.
The national carmaker noted that according to a forecast by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the NEV market will grow to around 10 million units in Southeast Asia by 2025.
With an all-electric new product portfolio due to be launched in the coming years, smart will be well placed to take advantage of the growth in the region, it said.
Proton also said the MoA would enable Proton Edar to establish a multi-level sales and service network in Malaysia and Thailand, as well as a brand experience centre and a number of sales locations, providing local markets with sales and after-sales services for smart's NEVs.
Currently, it said there were no plans to collaborate beyond the tenets of the agreement.
In 2019, smart Automobile was founded as a joint venture by Mercedes-Benz and China's Geely Group, which has a controlling stake in Proton.