Proton Cars Marketing Strategy 2024: A Case Study

PROTON Holdings Berhad (PHB) is a Malaysia-based corporation involved in automobile design, manufacturing, distribution, and sales. With a rich history dating back to its establishment in 1983, PROTON has consistently strived for excellence and innovation in the automotive industry.

Since launching its first model, the PROTON Saga, in 1985, PROTON has expanded its product portfolio to include a diverse range of models such as Proton Exora, Gen.2, Perdana V6, and Persona. Known for their stylish design, practicality, and performance, PROTON cars have gained popularity not only in Malaysia but also in international markets, including China, Singapore, Australia, Algeria, and the United Kingdom, where they are exported.

In its marketing strategy, PROTON adopts a multi-channel approach to reach its target audience effectively. The company leverages traditional advertising, digital marketing, and promotions to promote its products and enhance its brand positioning. By utilizing social media platforms, search engine optimization (SEO), and content marketing, PROTON strives to engage with its customers in the digital space and create a strong online presence.

Key Takeaways:

  • PROTON Holdings Berhad (PHB) is a Malaysia-based corporation that designs, manufactures, and distributes automobiles.
  • PROTON’s product portfolio includes models such as Proton Exora, Gen.2, Perdana V6, and Persona.
  • PROTON exports cars to various countries worldwide.
  • The company adopts a multi-channel marketing strategy, encompassing traditional advertising, digital marketing, and promotions.
  • PROTON leverages social media platforms, SEO, and content marketing to enhance its online presence.

Through market segmentation and positioning, PROTON effectively caters to different consumer segments. The company targets urban professionals who value stylish and practical cars, families looking for spacious and family-friendly vehicles, and young drivers seeking affordable yet reliable cars with modern features. Additionally, PROTON caters to environmentally conscious consumers by offering hybrid and electric vehicles, reflecting its commitment to sustainability.

PROTON’s commitment to continuous improvement and innovation is evident in its new product launches. The company aims to meet the diverse needs and requirements of its customers by introducing innovative models that combine style, performance, and functionality. Notably, PROTON’s new Proton X70 SUV has gained significant success and recognition, becoming the best-selling premium and executive model in the market.

As consumer demand and preferences evolve, PROTON has positioned itself as a market leader by embracing a customer-centric approach and continuously enhancing its product offerings. By focusing on delivering stylish, practical, and technologically advanced cars, PROTON aims to build brand loyalty and provide valuable products to its customers.

In conclusion, PROTON’s marketing strategy encompasses a multi-channel approach, combining traditional advertising, digital marketing, and promotions. Through innovative product offerings, market segmentation, and a commitment to continuous improvement, PROTON has established itself as a trusted and influential player in the automotive industry.

Company Background and History

PROTON Holdings Berhad, commonly known as PROTON, is a leading Malaysian automobile manufacturer that has played a significant role in shaping the country’s automotive industry. Established in 1983, PROTON was founded with the aim of creating a vibrant domestic automotive sector.

Over the years, PROTON has expanded its product portfolio and gained a strong presence in both domestic and international markets. The company’s flagship model, the PROTON Saga, has been instrumental in capturing a substantial market share in Malaysia, thanks to its affordability and reliable performance.

PROTON’s success story gained momentum in 1986 when it secured an impressive 64% domestic market share for the Proton Saga’s vehicle segment. This achievement highlighted PROTON’s commitment to delivering high-quality vehicles that resonate with the needs of the Malaysian market.

Driven by its vision to go beyond Malaysian borders, PROTON expanded its vehicle sales to countries such as Bangladesh, Brunei, New Zealand, Malta, and Sri Lanka. This bold move enabled PROTON to establish a notable presence in the global automotive market.

Recognition for PROTON’s excellence came in the form of prestigious awards at the British International Motor Show in 1988. The PROTON Saga garnered two golds and one silver, setting a record as the fastest-selling new car brand in the United Kingdom. This achievement solidified PROTON’s reputation as a brand that combines affordability and quality.

Throughout its history, PROTON has continued to innovate and adapt to changing market demands. In 2009, the company launched the Proton Exora, its first Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV) known for its value and practicality.

PROTON’s commitment to safety has also been recognized, with its Proton Preve becoming the first model to receive a 5-star safety rating from the Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP) in 2013. The company further solidified its commitment to safety by receiving two additional 5-star ASEAN NCAP safety ratings for the Proton Suprima S and the Proton Iriz by 2014.

A significant turning point for PROTON came in 2017 when Geely acquired a 49.9% stake in the company. This strategic collaboration marked a new era for PROTON, leveraging Geely’s global network and advanced research and development capabilities to enhance its product offerings and competitiveness in the global automotive industry.

In 2019, PROTON unveiled a new logo reflecting the brand’s qualities and reputation, signifying its evolution and commitment to capturing the hearts of customers worldwide.

Today, PROTON boasts an impressive product portfolio comprising of 22 car models and has served over 4.7 million customers worldwide. With a total of around 12,000 employees, the company continues to make waves in the automotive industry with its commitment to excellence and customer satisfaction.

Production Output (2023) Revenue (2020) Presence in Countries (2023) CKD Plants
154,611 units RM8.0 billion Bangladesh, Myanmar, Brunei, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Zimbabwe Pakistan, Kenya, Nepal, Sri Lanka

Market Segmentation and Positioning

Proton Cars understands the importance of market segmentation in effectively catering to the diverse needs and preferences of its customers. By analyzing customer data and conducting thorough market research, Proton identifies distinct target markets and segments them based on factors such as demographics, psychographics, and buying behavior.

The company utilizes various mechanisms, including the ‘Voice of Customer’ framework, to gain insights into customer needs and perceptions. This approach enables Proton to develop products and services that align with the specific requirements of each target market.

In addition to market segmentation, Proton Cars focuses on developing a strong positioning strategy to differentiate itself in the highly competitive automotive industry. The company positions itself as a provider of high-quality, safe, and valuable cars that meet the expectations of its target markets.

Proton Cars’ commitment to quality and innovation sets it apart from its competitors. The company emphasizes the importance of continuous improvement and customer satisfaction, which has led to the introduction of mechanisms such as the Customer Priority Index (CPI) to address quality issues and reduce customer complaints.

By maintaining a diverse portfolio of car models, including the Exora, Gen.2, Perdana V6, Arena, Saga range, Savvy, Satria Neo, and Persona, Proton Cars ensures that it has products suitable for various target markets. This extensive range allows the company to cater to different customer preferences and expand its market presence.

With distribution networks in key market centers across South-East Asia, the Middle East, the United Kingdom/Western Europe, and Australasia, Proton Cars has established itself as a global player in the automotive industry. The company is focused on sustainable growth by expanding its international market presence in ASEAN, China, India, and the Middle East.

Proton’s marketing strategies are centered around quality, value for money, and innovative products. The company highlights the comfort, performance, and safety features of its cars, such as the Proton Exora, to attract and retain customers. By continuously improving operational efficiency and capacity utilization, Proton Cars strives to deliver exceptional products and services to its target markets.

Through its effective market segmentation and positioning strategies, Proton Cars positions itself as a leader in the automotive industry, commanding a substantial share of the domestic market for passenger cars and expanding its global reach.

Market Segments

Proton Cars recognizes the importance of understanding and catering to diverse market segments. By analyzing demographics, behaviors, and lifestyle preferences, Proton Cars has identified key segments that drive their marketing strategies and product development.

One significant market segment is Urban Professionals. These individuals are typically young, career-oriented professionals living in urban areas. Proton Cars recognizes the needs and preferences of this segment, such as stylish and efficient vehicles that fit their busy urban lifestyle. The company’s sleek designs and advanced technology appeal to urban professionals looking for a sophisticated ride.

Families represent another important market segment for Proton Cars. Understanding that families have unique requirements, Proton offers a range of vehicles that prioritize safety, space, and comfort. The Proton Exora, Malaysia’s first locally-produced MPV, exemplifies Proton’s commitment to meeting the needs of families. With its spacious interior and advanced safety features, this model has gained popularity among families.

Proton Cars also targets the segment of Young Drivers. This group is characterized by their enthusiasm for driving and their desire for vehicles that are sporty and affordable. Proton Cars has developed models like the Persona and new Saga that offer a dynamic driving experience at an affordable price. These vehicles appeal to young drivers who want to make a statement on the road without breaking the bank.

Furthermore, Proton acknowledges the growing importance of the Environmentally Conscious segment. As more consumers prioritize sustainability, Proton Cars has made significant efforts to develop eco-friendly vehicles. By utilizing locally-sourced parts and components and focusing on operational efficiency, Proton aims to reduce its environmental impact and provide environmentally conscious individuals with greener transportation options.

Through targeted marketing strategies and product development, Proton Cars aims to meet the unique needs and preferences of these market segments. By catering to Urban Professionals, Families, Young Drivers, and Environmentally Conscious consumers, Proton continues to strengthen its position in the automotive market.

Positioning Strategy

Proton Cars adopts a strong positioning strategy that focuses on delivering exceptional benefits to its customers. With a commitment to quality, safety, value, and technology, Proton Cars aims to provide an unparalleled driving experience.

One of Proton’s key strategies is to leverage its established presence in the Malaysian market. The company has enjoyed tax cuts and fewer trade restrictions due to political stability and trade unions in the region. This has allowed Proton to maintain a competitive edge and cater to the needs of its customers more effectively.

In recent years, Proton’s sales faced challenges due to the impact of the pandemic and Movement Control Orders (MCO). However, the introduction of new models like the X50 and X70 SUVs has led to an increase in sales. These vehicles have resonated well with the Malaysian population, which contributes significantly to Proton’s sales. The growing urbanization trend in the country has also resulted in an increased number of car owners, presenting opportunities for Proton to capture a larger market share.

To stay competitive in the ever-evolving automotive market, Proton is actively focusing on technological advancements. The company recognizes the importance of digital technology and its role in shaping the future of the automotive industry. By investing in research and development, Proton aims to integrate innovative technologies into its vehicles, providing customers with enhanced driving experiences and cutting-edge features.

Proton’s strong brand name and positive public relations have allowed the company to benefit from minimal marketing demand. The Proton brand is deeply rooted in the Malaysian market, and consumers have developed emotional attachments to the brand, driven by a sense of patriotism and the opportunity for car ownership.

To raise awareness for its new Proton X70, the company has implemented an integrated marketing communications (IMC) strategy. Proton highlights the affordability of the X70 compared to competitors like Honda and Toyota through rational/informational appeal. Additionally, Proton taps into emotional appeal to resonate with consumers on a deeper level, further amplifying the brand’s positioning as a reliable and value-driven choice.

The upcoming Proton X70, priced competitively between RM98,000 and RM128,000, is expected to generate significant consumer interest. The affordable price range combined with the SUV’s impressive features and performance make it an attractive option for potential buyers.

Overall, Proton’s positioning strategy is centered around delivering unmatched quality, safety, value, and technology to its customers. By staying true to its brand values and continuously innovating, Proton aims to solidify its position as a leading automotive brand in Malaysia and beyond.

Launch of New Products

PROTON Cars has been at the forefront of the automotive industry, consistently launching new products that cater to customer preferences and enhance the overall driving experience. The company’s commitment to innovation and quality is evident in the successful introduction of models like Persona and Saga, which have garnered positive feedback from car owners.

Recognizing the evolving needs of its customers, PROTON has strategically focused on expanding its product portfolio. The launch of new products allows the company to tap into the market’s demand and stay competitive in the industry. With each new release, PROTON aims to provide vehicles that align with customer preferences and deliver an exceptional driving experience.

One notable addition to PROTON’s lineup is the X70, a full-scale SUV that sets the company apart from its competitors. This move marks a departure from the economical class segment, where Perodua dominates, and positions PROTON to exploit the gap in the local market. With SUVs contributing only about 11% of the Total Industry Volume (TIV) in Malaysia compared to 15% in ASEAN and 34% globally, PROTON prioritizes capitalizing on this opportunity.

To generate strong demand and secure bookings, PROTON takes a proactive approach in engaging consumers. Months before the official launch, the car is previewed in major cities, enabling potential buyers to interact with the vehicle and experience its features firsthand. This strategy not only builds excitement but also allows customers to make informed decisions based on their own preferences and requirements.

Furthermore, PROTON’s commitment to customer satisfaction extends beyond the product itself. The company has invested in an impressive network of 155 3S/4S outlets, offering sales, service, and spare parts facilities for an enhanced ownership experience. This extensive network ensures that customers can readily access support and assistance wherever they are.

In line with its dedication to efficient operations, PROTON has taken measures to streamline its supply chain and improve lead time delivery. By increasing warehouse capacities, the company has successfully reduced lead time delivery by at least 30%. Additionally, PROTON has opened two new warehouses in Peninsular Malaysia and one in East Malaysia, Kuching. Soon, a new warehouse in Kota Kinabalu will cater to the demand for parts in that region, further strengthening the company’s logistical capabilities.

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PROTON’s commitment to delivering exceptional products, superior customer experiences, and efficient operations is evident in its launch of new products. By continuously expanding its portfolio and engaging with customers, PROTON solidifies its position as a leading player in the automotive industry.

Striving for Excellence

PROTON’s commitment to continuous improvement and innovation has been at the core of its journey since its establishment in 1983. Over the years, PROTON has become a significant contributor to Malaysia’s automobile sector, operating in over 15 countries primarily in Asia. Founded under the guidance of Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade and Industry, PROTON transitioned to independence in the 2000s after a successful collaboration with Mitsubishi Motors.

PROTON’s strengths lie in its brand recognition, strong research and development capabilities, and extensive production facilities. However, it has faced past criticism regarding the quality of its vehicles. Determined to address these concerns and enhance customer satisfaction, PROTON has embraced a culture of continuous improvement, making it a driving force behind its success.

One of PROTON’s key strategies for continuous improvement is its emphasis on research and development. By investing in cutting-edge technology and engineering capabilities, PROTON aims to deliver superior quality vehicles that cater to customer preferences. Through its collaboration with Lotus Technology, PROTON enhances the performance and engineering features of its vehicles, allowing it to stand out in the market.

PROTON’s unique selling proposition lies in its ability to blend Japanese technology with Malaysian style in manufacturing cars. This combination allows PROTON to offer vehicles that meet the diverse needs and preferences of its customers. By staying attuned to customer feedback and market trends, PROTON ensures its product portfolio remains relevant.

Proton Operational Excellence Initiative

PROTON’s commitment to excellence extends beyond its products. The company places a strong emphasis on aftersales performance and customer satisfaction. To achieve operational excellence at all customer touchpoints, PROTON has introduced the Proton Operational Excellence (POE) initiative. This initiative began with 13 pilot dealerships and aims to progressively integrate nationwide.

Under the POE initiative, PROTON has developed the largest 3S/4S network of 155 outlets across Malaysia. This extensive network allows PROTON to better serve its customers by providing them with convenient access to sales, service, and spare parts. Additionally, PROTON has significantly reduced lead time delivery by at least 30% through increased warehouse capacities, ensuring quicker customer car repairs.

PROTON is dedicated to optimizing parts availability and has focused on expanding its dealership network and parts distribution system. The company empowers its dealerships through effective communication, collaboration, coaching sessions, and sharing best practices. By fostering a strong network and enhancing customer service, PROTON aims to exceed customer expectations.

Recognizing outstanding customer service and exceeding expectations, PROTON implements reward and recognition schemes. These schemes serve as a testament to PROTON’s commitment to customer satisfaction and further motivate its dealerships to continually strive for excellence.

From customer touchpoints to backend operations, PROTON’s POE initiative guides its efforts to enhance all aspects of its operations. By prioritizing quality and embracing a “Back to Basics” work culture, PROTON ensures that excellence is a shared commitment among all employees, regardless of their roles. The company employs the “Genba” concept, which involves going directly to the place where work is done, allowing for hands-on problem-solving approaches.

Key Elements of Proton’s Market Positioning

Proton Cars has made significant strides in repositioning its brand and improving its market positioning. By focusing on key elements such as benefits, quality, safety, value, and technology, Proton has successfully captured the attention of Malaysian consumers and expanded its presence in overseas markets.

Quality: Proton has addressed the perception of being a cheap and low-quality car manufacturer by investing heavily in product improvement. By enhancing its design and build quality, Proton has effectively dispelled these negative stereotypes and established itself as a manufacturer of reliable and high-quality vehicles.

Safety: Prioritizing customer safety, Proton equips its vehicles with advanced safety features. This commitment to safety has resonated with consumers, providing them with peace of mind and reinforcing Proton’s reputation as a brand that puts safety first.

Value: Proton understands the importance of offering value for money to its customers. By competitively pricing its vehicles without compromising on quality or features, Proton provides customers with affordable options that offer excellent value compared to other brands in the market.

Technology: With a focus on digital technology, Proton is embracing innovation to stay competitive in the automotive market. By integrating advanced technology into its vehicles, Proton offers modern features and connectivity options, enhancing the overall driving experience for customers.

Benefits: Proton’s vehicles offer a range of benefits that cater to the needs and preferences of its target audience. Whether it’s fuel efficiency, spacious interiors, or advanced infotainment systems, Proton ensures that its vehicles provide tangible benefits that resonate with customers.

By leveraging these key elements in its market positioning strategy, Proton has successfully revitalized its brand image, gaining recognition both domestically and internationally. Through collaboration with local entities, aggressive pursuit of export sales, and continuous product improvement, Proton aims to further enhance its competitiveness and position itself as one of the top automotive brands in the ASEAN region.

Statistics Key Insights
Nearly 50% increase in export sales compared to 8.8% growth in domestic sales Proton’s focus on export sales has yielded significant results, showcasing its appeal in global markets.
Target to double export volume within the next 12 months Proton has set ambitious goals for expanding its export business, demonstrating its commitment to global growth.
Proton aims to be the third best-selling automotive brand in ASEAN by 2027 The company’s long-term vision highlights its determination to establish a strong presence in the ASEAN automotive market.
Plans for 2020 export gains disrupted by Covid-19 The pandemic has posed challenges for Proton in achieving its export targets, but the company remains resilient and adaptable.


Proton Cars’ marketing strategy is built on innovative marketing strategies, effective market segmentation, and a strong positioning strategy, all aimed at enhancing brand positioning, reaching the target audience, and delivering valuable products to customers. As the first Malaysian automotive company, Proton holds a strong brand identification in the Malaysian automotive market and plays a crucial role in the nation’s economy as Malaysia’s largest local car manufacturer.

Despite challenges posed by global economic conditions, Proton has the potential to succeed in the international market by leveraging its strengths and competing with various local and international automotive companies. Targeting large market segments at competitive prices aligns with the majority of the population in Malaysia having a medium income, allowing Proton to establish a foothold in the market.

By continuously focusing on research, development, and new product launches, Proton stays relevant and competitive in the industry. However, it is crucial for Proton to address declines in sales and profit, caused by factors such as increased petrol prices, rising raw material costs, competitive marketing efforts, and changing market trends favoring smaller engine capacities.

To foster customer loyalty and withstand price wars with competitors like Perodua and Honda, Proton should emphasize perceived value and position itself as the national car maker. Additionally, evaluating the effectiveness of Proton’s marketing strategies and understanding consumer satisfaction and views towards the brand are key research objectives that can provide insights for future improvements.


What is PROTON Holdings Berhad?

PROTON Holdings Berhad (PHB) is a Malaysia-based corporation involved in automobile design, manufacturing, distribution, and sales.

What is Proton Cars’ marketing strategy?

Proton Cars embraces a multi-channel approach to maximize its market reach. The company utilizes traditional advertising, digital marketing, and promotions to effectively reach its target audience.

How does Proton Cars differentiate itself from competitors?

Proton Cars differentiates itself by positioning as a reliable choice in the market, focusing on providing quality, safe, and valuable cars to its customers.

What market segments does Proton Cars focus on?

Proton Cars focuses on several key market segments, including Urban Professionals, Families, Young Drivers, and Environmentally Conscious consumers.

What are the key elements of Proton Cars’ market positioning?

The key elements of Proton Cars’ market positioning include benefits such as quality, safety, value, and technology.

What new products has PROTON launched recently?

PROTON has recently launched new products like Persona and Saga, which have received positive responses from car owners.

What is PROTON’s commitment to continuous improvement?

PROTON is committed to continuous improvement and innovation, investing in research and development to enhance the quality and performance of its vehicles while keeping them affordable for customers.

How does Proton Cars prioritize customer satisfaction?

Proton Cars prioritizes customer satisfaction by delivering high-quality vehicles, advanced safety features, and value for money through competitively priced vehicles with modern features and technology.

How does Proton Cars enhance its brand positioning?

Proton Cars enhances its brand positioning through innovative marketing strategies, effective market segmentation, and a strong positioning strategy.

Why should customers choose Proton Cars?

Customers should choose Proton Cars because the company aims to provide valuable products, build trust, and loyalty among its customer base through its commitment to quality, safety, value, and technology.

How does PROTON stay relevant and competitive in the automotive industry?

PROTON stays relevant and competitive in the automotive industry through its continuous focus on research, development, and new product launches.
About the author

Nina Sheridan is a seasoned author at, a blog renowned for its insightful exploration of the increasingly interconnected worlds of business, technology, and lifestyle. With a keen eye for the dynamic interplay between these sectors, Nina brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her writing. Her expertise lies in dissecting complex topics and presenting them in an accessible, engaging manner that resonates with a diverse audience.