Proton has exported over 400,000 cars between 1986 and 2013. The United Kingdom was Proton’s most successful market with over 150,000 units sold, but it has since been succeeded by China as of the 2010s. Proton has sold over 200,000 Gen-2 and Persona cars in China between 2008 and 2013 under a strategic partnership with Youngman.
Countries with Proton cars.
Proton relies primarily on its domestic market for the majority of its sales and revenues. Nonetheless, small volumes of Proton cars are also exported to various other countries in Asia, in addition to the United Kingdom and Australia. The company previously held a far larger global sales network in the 1990s, spanning all six continents and over 70 countries, but intends to regain a global foothold with 500,000 annual sales by 2018.
Proton first ventured into export markets in December 1986, a year and a half after the launch of the company’s first car, the Saga. It was only sold in right-hand drive markets like New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Singapore because left-hand drive variants were not produced. Proton attempted to enter the American market in November 1988, but failed to meet strict U.S. automotive regulations. However, the Proton Wira, which launched in 1993 became the company’s first car to be produced in both left and right-hand drive configurations, paving the way for Proton’s entry into Continental Europe in October 1994 and other markets in the Middle East and Latin America. The company’s global sales network peaked between 1994 and the early 2000s, but has since dwindled to around 25 countries as of the 2010s. Proton also commissioned CKD plants in Iran, Indonesia, The Philippines and Vietnam in the past, but only maintains a single plant in China as of the 2010s.
A Proton Impian police car belonging to the Humberside Police, United Kingdom.
A Proton Wira taxi in Pyongyang, North Korea. The Malaysian government has gifted Proton cars to other, less developed countries as a sign of goodwill and diplomacy.
Proton cumulative sales volume in selected markets
Proton exported 164,153 cars between December 1986 and December 1997. The United Kingdom is by far the company’s most successful export market in terms of cumulative sales volume, and at one point Proton set the record for Fastest Selling Make of New Car Ever to Enter the United Kingdom. In 1992, the Saga was ranked among the Top 20 best-selling cars in the U.K., outselling its primary competitors from Hyundai and SEAT.
 However, sales in the U.K. has since stagnated, with just 208 Protons sold in 2012. Proton cars were once popular in Singapore, at one time the company’s second-largest export destination despite its relatively small market size. Additionally, sales were also modest in Germany and Belgium during the late 90s, prior to Proton’s withdrawal from Continental Europe. As of the 2010s, the Chinese market has become the largest contributor to Proton’s export revenues. Although Proton cars sold in China carry different names and badges under the local Youngman EuropeStar brand, Proton nonetheless receives royalties for the use of their platforms and CamPro engines.
Proton Cars U.K. is currently mounting a huge comeback with the launch of more than three new models (Prevé, Suprima S, Exora & GSC) between Q4 2013 and Q1 2014. Proton also has intentions to return to Latin America, and following the ratification of the Malaysia-Chile Free Trade Agreement, the company may mark a return to Chile by 2013 with the new Prevé and Exora models after their withdrawal in the early 2000s.