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Friday, November 09, 2007

Proton Expands Global Footprint Via Deal To Supply 5,000 Waja Taxis To Iran

TEHRAN, Nov 8 (Bernama) -- National car maker Proton has further boosted its export market with an order to supply 5,000 units of the Waja to be used as taxis in Iran.

In what is seen as a significant deal, the Proton Wajas would replace old taxis as part of the US$200 million urban public transportation renewal initiative spearheaded by Zagross Khodro Car Industries Co, its sole assembler and distributor in Iran.

Proton Waja, one of the models designed and developed ground-up by Proton, is marketed as "Impian," in Iran and a few other export markets.

Proton Holdings Bhd managing director, Datuk Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir, said the supply of 5,000 units of the Proton Impian taxi takes the partnership between Proton and Zagross Khodro to new heights as it would drive a new taxi operators' model in Iran.

"Spurred by this, we have put efforts to expedite the commencement of assembly operations of the Proton Gen2 in Zagross Khodro's plant in Broujerd.

"Once gazetted, this would be the second assembly operations of Proton cars in Iran after the Wira," he said in his speech after the unveiling of the new taxi here.

The deal was sealed when Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohd Effendi Norwawi and First Deputy Mayor of Tehran, Tashakkori officially unveiled the Impian taxis at a ceremony held at the Rayzan International Conference Centre here Thursday.

Syed Zainal said Proton was confident that the Zagross Khodro group would be successfully involved in the complete value chain of taxi operations.

This initial order would pave the way for the transformation of the public transportation landscape in Iran as well as significantly boost Proton's exports, he said.

Todate, sales of Proton cars in Iran have totalled 9,634 units since its entry into the country's automotive market in 2002.

It would also raise prospects for higher exports by Proton with the Iranian government's plan to increase the current taxi car population of 70,000 to 100,000 units.

Since many taxis operating in Tehran are aging and technologically outdated, measures have been put in place to upgrade or replace a majority of them.

Mohd Effendi is here on the final leg of a mission leading a 40-member delegation to the United Arab Emirates and Iran from November 5-11.

It aims identify potentially large business opportunities for Malaysian companies and explore strategic joint ventures through alliances with Middle Eastern firms and for them to invest in the Iskandar Development Region (IDR), Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) and the Eastern Corridor Economic Region (ECER).

Syed Zainal also said the Proton Impian taxi provides good levels of comfort, luxury and style while enhancing the passengers' travelling experience.

"We are looking forward to the implementation of this operation model, in which Zagross Khodro group will be involved in the complete taxi operation value chain from importing, owning and after-sales support of the taxi cars to its operations," Syed Zainal said.

Expressing optimism over prospects in the Iranian automotive market, he said Proton would work closely with Zagross Khodro for Proton cars to make further inroads and to grow its potential in Iran.

"Of more significance, this initiative will not only improve the performance of taxi services in Tehran but also create 12,000 job opportunities," he said.

Zagross Khodro, a subsidiary of the Akshan Group of Companies, has diversified into many businesses.

It began its businesses with Proton in 2001 through the assembly of Wira and the import of the Gen2 for the Iranian market.

The company currently operates with nine dealers with 35 facilities covering sales, service and spare-parts in Tehran and is the midst of expanding the network by up to 34 dealers throughout the country.

Zagross Khodro's managing director, Dr Siroos Gholami, said the Proton Impian Taxi would significantly enhance Proton's presence in the market.


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Low price and no other choice due to budget
Good resale value
Low maintenance cost
Ride & Handling is good
Reliable parts, chasis and engine
Good Styling exterior & Interior
Patriotism (I support Made in Malaysia Products)
Follow others (Follow Majorities should be the best choice)