Proton Holdings Bhd, Malaysia's national car maker, is making waves on the international stage with the debut of its first new energy vehicle (NEV), the X90 sport utility vehicle (SUV). Export sales growth emerges as a crucial element in Proton's long-term objectives, signaling a significant step in the brand's global expansion.

Market Debut in Mauritius

Mauritius took the lead as the first export market to welcome the Proton X90. Unveiled on August 4, 2023, at the prestigious Le Salon de L’ Automobile, SVICC, Pailles, the event marked a pivotal moment for Proton's venture into the global market.

South Africa Showcase at the Festival of Motoring

Following the Mauritian debut, the Proton X90 took center stage in South Africa. Proton South Africa proudly showcased the SUV at the Festival of Motoring held at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit from August 25-27, 2023. The event garnered substantial support from Malaysia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, with key dignitaries adding a diplomatic touch to the occasion

Grand Unveiling in Brunei

Proton Brunei joined the global unveiling spectacle, hosting a grand launch event. Attended by the High Commissioner of Malaysia to Brunei Darussalam, Datuk Raja Reza Raja Zaib Shah, and Tan Kah Boon, the chairman of Proton importers and dealers, Pad and Econ Motors, the Brunei launch solidified Proton's presence in the Southeast Asian market.

Challenges and Opportunities

The journey into the global market hasn't been without its challenges. Proton's International Sales Director, Steven Xu, acknowledged the economic hurdles faced by export markets, including issues like capital market controls. Despite these challenges, Proton remains undeterred, actively exploring opportunities in emerging markets such as Fiji, Ghana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Iraq

Brand Image and Future Investments

Xu emphasized the strategic importance of international markets in uplifting Proton's brand image. The debut of the Proton X90 in three export markets occurred a mere three months after its initial launch in Malaysia on May 7, 2023. Xu sees these ventures not just as sales opportunities but as long-term investments, positioning Proton to leverage improved market conditions in the future


Proton's foray into the global market with the X90 demonstrates a commitment to innovation and sustainable mobility. The brand's successful debuts in Mauritius, South Africa, and Brunei lay the foundation for a promising international presence.

As Proton navigates economic challenges, its focus on growth and strategic expansion reflects a vision for a future where Proton is a global player in the automotive industry.