Malaysian national car Proton seeks to revive exports

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysian national car company Proton says it has begun shipping left-hand drive sedans to Chile as it seeks to tap new markets and revitalize exports.

Once king of the road, Proton's share in domestic car sales plunged to just 15 percent last year, from over 50 percent a decade ago. The company has struggled with a perception of poor quality and with intense competition as the market opened to foreign imports. Exports have been lackluster, averaging 5,000 units a year or about 5 percent of its total sales.

Proton's Chief Executive Abdul Harith Abdullah said Tuesday the company hopes to sell 1,000 cars in Chile this year. Vehicles in Chile drive on the right side of the roads, as is common in most markets outside Britain and its former colonies.