19 Sep 2023



  • Second MoA signed to explore possibility of local assembly at Tanjung Malim


Nanning, China - 19 September 2023 – National carmaker PROTON today signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with smart Automobile at the 2023 China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO), an annual trade show which aims to facilitate economic cooperation between China and ASEAN. The signing comes exactly 20 months after both parties signed a similar document in 2022 that lead the appointment of PROTON as the official distributor for smart vehicles in Malaysia and Thailand.

Signing the MoA were Roslan Abdulah, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of PROTON, while signing for smart Automobile was Mandy Zhang, Vice President of Global Sales, Marketing and After-Sales, smart Automobile. Also present during the ceremony were Dr Li Chunrong, Chief Executive Officer, PROTON, Tong Xiangbei, Global President of smart Automobile, and Zhang Qiang, Chief Executive Officer, PRO-NET, who were standing witnesseswhile Mr Unny Shankar, Director for the Ministry of Investment, Trade, and Industry (MITI) represented a Malaysian ministry presence.

While the first MoA signed was to explore the potential for PROTON to sell smart’s EV offerings in ASEAN, the new document is for both parties to study the feasibility to locally assemble smart vehicles at PROTON’s Tanjung Malim plant.

“The new MoA between PROTON and smart Automobile brings our collaboration to a new level as now we are talking about assembling smart modelsin Malaysia. As an automotive manufacturer, PROTON always intended to raise our 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,” said Dr Li Chunrong.

Following the MoA signing in 2022, PROTON has made big strides in its efforts to represent smart in the region. The General Distributorship Agreement (GDA) was signed in August last year, which was quickly followed by the formation of PRO-NET, PROTON’s subsidiary to represent the company’s interests in the electric vehicle (EV) space.

Since then, PROTON has sent groups of workers to China for on-job-training stints specific to the EV industry to build talent pool for its own future EV market plans. It has also tested the smart #1 extensively in Malaysia to gain knowledge of its performance when driven in the unique climate and road conditions here. PRO-NET meanwhile has signed an MoU with GENTARI, the renewable energy arm of PETRONAS, built working relationships with other EV ecosystem stakeholders, appointed ten smart dealers as well as introduced the smart #1 to the public at various events.

The most recent move was the launch the Hello smartApp recently on 14 September, offering four first-in-Malaysia features including the integration of 70% of the charging maps from charging operators, to allow easy identification of availability, booking and payment for EV chargers in the country.

“PROTON has committed to introducing more New Energy Vehicles (NEV) in the future. After the launch of the Proton X90, our first NEV, we are excited by the opportunity to learn more about EVs from our collaboration with smart. Going forwards, all our production activities will be centred at the Automotive High Tech Valley (AHTV) in Tanjung Malim, which will also help in our goal to turn Malaysia into a regional EV hub,” added Dr Li Chunrong.