The agreement will see both parties collaborating via Proton Edar, who will be appointed as the importer, distributor, and dealer for smart in Malaysia and Thailand.
smart Automobile (Nanning) Sales Co Ltd, which is a fully-owned subsidiary of smart Automobile, will fulfil the role of a gateway for smart to the region.
The signing ceremony took place virtually with Proton Edar chief executive officer Roslan Abdullah and smart vice-president of Finance Ulf Nestler acting as signatories for their respective companies.
Also present to witness the event were Proton chairman Datuk Seri Syed Faisal Albar, smart chief executive officer Tong Xiangbei and Proton chief executive officer Dr Li Chunrong.
Syed Faisal said Proton is taking its first steps on its NEV strategic journey with the MoA.
“By collaborating with smart, we will be able to gain experience in the selling, servicing, and charging of NEVs and build up the skill sets we require to be a force in Asean’s rapidly expanding NEV sector. This is also an opportunity to tap on smart’s customer base, which will open up more opportunities for the Proton brand,” said Syed Faisal.
Tong said smart’s dual-home of Europe and China business strategy has allowed it to cover two of the world’s largest automotive markets.
“Now, as part of our forward-looking strategy, we are joining hands with Proton in Southeast Asia. With minimal investment, the agreement will allow us to enter the Thai and Malaysian markets in the near future.
“As our regional partner, Proton has a first-class corporate reputation, extensive experience and valuable knowledge of local operations.
“We look forward to working together to provide consumers in Southeast Asia with a new premium, intelligent, all-electric driving experience,” Tong said.
International Renewable Energy Agency has forecasted the NEV market to grow around 10 million units in South East Asia by 2025.
With an all-electric new product portfolio due to be launched in coming years, smart will be well placed to take advantage of growth in the region.
The MoA with Proton Edar would enable the company to establish a multi-level sales and service network in Malaysia and Thailand, as well as a brand experience centre and a number of sales locations, providing local markets with sales and after-sales services for smart vehicles.
Currently, there are no plans to collaborate beyond the framework of the agreement.