Proton has signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with smart Automobile to explore the possibility of locally assembling smart vehicles at the national automaker’s plant in Tanjung Malim. Both parties said they would conduct a study on the feasibility of undertaking such a project.
The MoA was inked by Proton and smart at the 2023 China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) in Nanning, China. Signing on behalf of Proton was its deputy CEO Roslan Abdulah, while Mandy Zhang, VP of global sales, marketing and after-sales signed the document for smart Automobile. Also present at the signing ceremony were Proton CEO Li Chunrong, smart Automobile global president Tong Xiangbei and Pro-Net CEO Zhang Qiang.
The MoA is the second to be signed by both companies. In January 2022, both inked an agreement to explore the potential of Proton selling smart’s EV offerings in the ASEAN region, with the partnership being cemented last August with the signing of a general distributorship agreement (GDA) for Proton to sell and service smart vehicles in Malaysia and Thailand.
“The new MoA between PROTON and smart Automobile brings our collaboration to a new level, as we are now talking about assembling smart models in Malaysia. As an automotive manufacturer, Proton has always intended to raise its involvement with smart beyond distribution for the ASEAN region, as there are many efficiencies to take advantage of because both companies are members of the Geely Group,” Li said.
Last November, Roslan had intimated that local assembly of smart models was a possibility the automaker was considering, but it was not revealed if a timeframe had been set to explore that path. The company has since sent groups of workers to China for EV-specific on-job-training stints in a move to build a talent pool for its own future EV market plans.
The smart #1 will be the first model from the Chinese carmaker to be sold here, arriving on the scene soon as a fully-imported CBU model. The opening of the order books for it was announced today, and the EV will be available in Pro, Premium and Brabus variants, with the line up estimated to be priced between RM200,000 and RM250,000, on-the-road without insurance.
* This article was originally published here
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