To be set up on a greenfield site in Karachi, the plant is expected to start operations by the end of next year and create 2,000 direct employment opportunities in its first three years of operations, Proton said in a statement today.
“It is estimated that a further 20,000 indirect jobs will also be created as a result of the new plant being commissioned,” the national carmaker said.
ALHAJ Automotive chairman Al-Haj Shah Jee Gul Afridi said the company would initially source completely built-up units from Malaysia before switching to CKD products once the new assembly plant begins operations.
“We will leverage on our current dealerships located nationwide to start selling Proton vehicles as soon as possible while developing standalone 3S/4S outlets at the same time,” he said.
In Islamabad today, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan officiated the symbolic groundbreaking ceremony for the plant.
Before they witnessed the ceremony at a hotel there, the two Prime Ministers attended a round table meeting with captains of industry from their countries at the same hotel.
In his speech during the round table meeting, Dr Mahathir said he wanted to promote Proton, so he would give a Proton car to Imran.
“It’s not that I want to bribe Pakistan's Prime Minister but I want to promote one of Malaysia's products. I want to give him a Proton car,” he said.
He then presented Imran a replica of the Proton X70 car key.
Proton had in 2017 unveiled the seven stars strategy, a roadmap to achieve their long-term goals including targeting to sell 400,000 units by 2027. A major future growth area for the company is export sales, and the establishment of CKD assembly plants in overseas markets is one of the steps taken to grow those numbers.
To establish Proton in Pakistan, an agreement with ALHAJ Automotive was inked on Aug 29, 2018, with the group being appointed as the sole distributor for Proton vehicles in the country