Proton Holdings said it expected to announce the start of vehicle assembly in Kenya and Pakistan with local partners this month, as it continues to strengthen its presence in overseas markets.

Dato Sri Syed Faisal Albar, chairman of Malaysia's first national car company, confirmed in a statement "in just a few short weeks, we will be announcing the commencement of completely knocked down (CKD) assembly and sales operations in Kenya and Pakistan". 

In Kenya the Saga will be assembled in Mombasa by Associated Vehicle Assemblers (AVA) after the brand's local distributor Simba Corporation launched the model in the local market at the end of last week.

In Pakistan, local distributor, ALHAJ Automotive, is scheduled to assemble the Saga at a newly built greenfield plant in Karachi by the end of the year.

The model is also scheduled to be launched this month in Bangladesh, Egypt and Nepal

The automaker is also set to launch its new X50 in its first overseas market, Brunei, in December following its launch in Malaysia in September. The X50 is a small SUV model based on the Geely Binyue which uses the BMA (B-segment Modular Architecture) platform developed by Proton's strategic shareholder Zhejiang Geely Holding Group and its European subsidiary Volvo Cars. 

Datuk Albar said it was vital for the Proton brand to build its presence internationally as it represents both the company and the country.

Proton said it had shipped 405,267 vehicles to overseas markets since exports began in 1989. In the first 11 months of 2020 the company sold 96,410 vehicles, including domestic sales and exports, a 7.5% increase on the same period of last year.