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Over a decade ago Proton cars accounted for nearly 50 percent of total vehicles sold in the country or some 214,985 vehicles. But over the years that figures gradually falling to just 138,730 units or a market share of 21.2 percent.

Proton declining fortunes is partly due to competition from foreign car makers, poor public perception, lack of economies of scale and the high cost of manufacturing vehicles locally, Proton chairman Tan Sri Mohd Khamil Jamil (pic) told the Business Times yesterday.

The company has been exporting cars since 1986, which are currently sold in more than 25 countries, but revenue contribution from these overseas markets still meagre – less than five per cent.

Khamil said Proton is looking at ways to expand and save cost. This includes standardising car spare parts.

“This will give us economies of scale which will eventually lower cost. Our profits are shrinking with rising costs. For the new Saga SV 1.3, the net profit is below RM500 and it is shocking,” he said reports NST.

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According to Khamil the company want to produce value-for-money cars and keep on adding safety features such as the drop-down engine upon impact from an accident.

“Proton is for everybody. Many urbanites are buying Proton cars as they believe in the product and technology. But still, there are people who say our cars are expensive as they are locally produced. It is quite impossible to lower car prices with the rising costs of doing business.

Khamil said unlike the Koreans and Japanese, Malaysians were not very supportive of Proton.

“I don’t understand why Malaysians are not supporting Proton,” said Khamil.