Proton plans to export at least 20,000 cars next year driven by its recently-launched Preve and Exora as well as new models and variants from 2013.

Deputy chief executive officer Datuk Lukman Ibrahim said the company is looking at the Thai market as a testing ground for sales. It also plans a comeback in Australia and the UK.

He told reporters at the Thailand International Motor Show: "Proton's exports for this year are in the region of 14,000 units. Next year, we are aiming to sell at least 20,000 units."

For Thailand, Lukman said the company had increased its sales target from the current 3,000 units a year while it also plans to double annual sales in Australia from 2,000 to 4,000.

He added that Thailand was a good test market for competitiveness in South East Asia “because all key industry players are here and they are very competitive in the context of cost and delivery.

"For Proton to go global, Thailand is the market that actually serves as the testing ground."

He said: “If Proton wants to be successful in the future, it must be able to produce global products with global specifications. It must also meet global requirements and regulations and be able to sustain that level up to the services."