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Free Website Counters SPY the Man: August 2007

Friday, August 24, 2007

8,000 bookings for the Persona

Proton's Persona has begun life with a better than expected response from consumers, with over 8,000 bookings since Proton began marketing the sedan.

“We are happy with the response received thus far. We are also touched by our consumers’ belief in us. Two thousand two hundred of them booked the Persona without seeing it during the pre-launch activities and now we have over 8,000 bookings."

"On behalf of Proton, I would like to thank all those who have and are continuing to support us,” said Proton Holdings Bhd’s managing director Datuk Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir.

Syed Zainal, who made an unscheduled visit to the Proton showroom in Mutiara Damansara and personally delivered cars to a few Persona owners, said the enthusiastic response towards the Persona is a testament to the quality of the car.

Developed with the PROTON i-CARE commitment to improve every quality aspect - from design, styling and production to sales and after-sales - the Persona is a personification of the company's new philosophy of producing the right car for the right market at the right price.

“Quality issues previously brought up by consumers have been addressed in the Persona. The PROTON i.CARE initiative was rolled out specifically with this in mind. We want our consumers to know that we are not merely paying lip-service to the 'You Can Count On Us' promise but every Proton employee, myself included, will strive towards delivering this promise” he added.

The Persona, in case you aren't already aware of, is available in five variants - the 1.6 base line automatic and manual; 1.6 medium line automatic and manual and 1.6 high line automatic, with prices ranging from RM44,999 to RM55,800.

The model currently comes in six colours; Blueberry Tea, Light Gold, Tranquility Black, Metal Grey and Solid Red. The seventh colour, Solid White, will be available from September onwards.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Proton Indonesia Targets 4,000 Units Annual Sales

JAKARTA, Aug 20 (Bernama) -- Proton Edar Indonesia has targeted sales of up to 4,000 cars a year for the four models of the Malaysian brand which were introduced in Indonesia this year, its chairman, Achmad Safiun, said today.

He felt this could be realised with the opening of two more branches next month at Bandung and Surabaya.

"Our confidence is based on the fact that these Proton models are among the top 10 among the 180 cars that were booked for private ownership at the Indonesian International Car Show last month," he told reporters after the handing over of assistance to two orphanges by Proton and the Malaysian Embassy Women's Association (Perwakilan) here tonight.

Since the introduction of the Proton models last March, about 700 units have been sold, according to him.

The Gen.2 and Savvy were launched on March 16 by International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz while the Neo and Waja were launched by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at last month's motor show.

Achmad also said some 1,000 Proton Wira cars are being used as taxis in Indonesia.

Also at the event, to mark Malaysia's 50th anniversary of independence and Indonesia's 62nd, were the Malaysian Ambassador to Indonesia, Datuk Zainal Abidin Mohamed Zain, and his wife, Datin Robiah Jamaluddin, who is also Perwakilan chairperson.

Almost 95 percent of Indonesia's car market is held by Japanese makes, with 80 percent of them being multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs), said Achmad.

Private cars have only about a 15 percent market share but he expects this to increase with Indonesia having good economic growth and the higher purchasing power among consumers.

He is confident that the Proton models will capture 15 percent of the private car market as targeted, especially with the advent of the single Asean market in 2010.

He noted that the publicity about the reliability of Proton cars on local roads has been bolstered by the fact that the Iswara model, which has been used as taxis for the past seven years, remain in good condition after taxi firms sold them to individual taxi drivers who still use them as taxis.



Friday, August 17, 2007

16-08-2007: Proton pinning hope on new model

SHAH ALAM: Proton Holdings Bhd is targeting to sell between 30,000 and 40,000 units of its new Proton Persona 1.6 litre sedan model in the next 12 months, said its chairman Datuk Mohammed Azlan Hashim.

He said the car, which is priced between RM44,999 and RM55,800, had received 2,200 bookings after its soft launch recently and 350 cars had been registered and delivered to customers nationwide so far.

Speaking at the official launch of the car by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin yesterday, Azlan said the bookings received prior to the unveiling of the car was testimony of the public’s belief and confidence in Proton.

“It is an endorsement of the You Can Count On Us promise that we made with the launching of the Proton i-Care, which is a commitment to quality made by all Proton citizens.

“We are extremely proud of this new product as it was built in accordance with Proton’s new philosophy of launching the right car for the right market at the right price,” he said.

Azlan said Proton had taken stringent measures from all aspects, namely man, machine, management and also its vendors and dealers to ensure the Proton Persona and future models consistently met the quality expectations of the public.

Proton managing director Datuk Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir said the Proton Persona would be a car that excites with its stylish yet practical exterior and interior.

“It will be the car that makes the difference,” he said, adding that he was optimistic that the launch of the Proton Persona together with several recent developments of tie-ups in international markets will mark the emergence of Proton from its ebb.

The Proton Persona is available in five variants — the 1.6 base-line automatic and manual; 1.6 medium-line automatic and manual; and the 1.6 high-line automatic models.

The car currently comes in six colours namely blueberry tea, light gold, tranquility black, metal grey and solid red, while a seventh colour, solid white will be available next month.

Proton Edar Dealers Association (PEDA) president Wan Ahmad Sepwan Wan Abdul Rahman expressed confidence that the new model would augur well for both Proton and the association members, adding that it was a well-priced product.

“We are certain that with the new model, sales will improve for our members. PEDA has been trying to resolve some of its members’ problems that we had highlighted recently by addressing each of the segments of car variants, and we have been gradually improving.”

“The Proton management, in particular Syed Zainal, have been very forthcoming and receptive to some of our proposals and this would help both parties in the long run. The management has said it will make some announcements in the near future to address PEDA members’ needs, and we are optimistic this would be good news,” he told The Edge Financial Daily on the sidelines of the launch yesterday.

To a question on whether PEDA was conducting a study on the mechanism of the proposed car-scrapping plan, Wan Ahmad said: “We are working with Proton on this, and have been also in talks with second-hand car dealers. We hope a decision on this will be made very soon. As the car with highest local content, Proton and its dealers will definitely benefit from this plan.”

Meanwhile, Syed Zainal declined to comment when asked by The Edge Financial Daily on the progress of the negotiations with Volkswagen SA, saying, “it’s a shareholders issue”.

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Car launch not tied to Proton-VW negotiations

PUTRAJAYA: The production of Proton's latest model, the Persona, has nothing to do with negotiations between the national carmaker and Volkswagen AG for an alliance, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Refuting an article by a foreign news agency quoting him as saying otherwise, Abdullah said: “The foreign news reporter asked if the new car would enhance Proton's standing because Volkswagen would like it that Proton has a good car.

“My reply was that talks between Proton and Volkswagen had nothing to do with the production of this car or any particular car.

“We are talking about some kind of general cooperation that could possibly be either on equity participation or in the form of some other kind of cooperation,” he told reporters after a briefing on Pemudah here yesterday.

The news agency report said Abdullah had confirmed for the first time that Volkswagen was conducting due diligence on Proton, as part of negotiations for a possible strategic alliance.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Proton banking on Persona

Launch of Proton Persona

SHAH ALAM: Proton is banking on its latest sedan, the Persona, to restore its position as the No. 1 car company in the country.

The four-door 1.6 sedan, costing between RM44,999 and RM55,800 will replace the Wira model.

Proton Holdings Bhd chairman Datuk Mohammed Azlan Hashim said given the popularity of the long-standing Wira, “extra effort” was put in to ensure that the Persona surpassed customer expectations in terms of value for money, quality and after-sales services.

“God willing, this car can put Proton quickly back on the road to regaining its premier position in the country,” he said yesterday in his welcoming speech at the launch.

The Persona, he said, would allow the public to better judge the “resilience and ability of Proton to go forward from this new model onwards.”

Perodua is the top car seller in the country with Proton taking second spot.

Mohammed Azlan said that 2,200 bookings had been received for the Persona over the past three weeks, even before the launch of the car.

“This is a clear indication that the Malaysian public believe Proton can be counted on to deliver all its promises,” he added.

He also said that the company was optimistic its sales target of 30,000 to 40,000 Persona units over the next 12 months could be achieved.

The Persona is available in five variants – the 1.6 base-line auto and manual, 1.6 medium-line auto and 1.6 high-line auto.

Saying that Proton still had a lot to do and learn, Mohammed Azlan added that “we will embrace change where required in a rapidly changing environment.”

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin officiated at the launch of the Persona. Also present was Raja Permaisuri Agung Tuanku Fauziah Tengku Abdul Rashid.

Launch of Proton Persona
The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin launched Proton's newest model, Proton Persona, at Proton Centre of Excellence, Shah Alam on Wednesday.

Sneak preview of Proton Persona
The media was invited for a sneak preview of the newest addition to the Proton family, Proton Persona, on Monday at the Proton Centre of Excellence in Selangor.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

10-08-2007: EPF cuts Proton stake

The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) reduced its shareholding in Proton Holdings Bhd to 72.72 million shares after disposing of 3.6 million shares from July 10 to 23.

A filing with Bursa Malaysia showed the fund disposing of one million Proton shares on July 10 and another 1.12 million shares the next day. The other shares were disposed from July 12 to 23.

After the disposal of the shares, its stake was reduced to 13.24% or 72.72 million shares.

The share price of the embattled car maker was trading between RM5.70 to RM6.05 on those days.

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

03-08-2007: Mixed views on Proton’s Persona

KUALA LUMPUR: Proton Holdings Bhd’s soon-to-be-launched 1.6-litre Wira replacement model (WRM), to be named Persona, has received mixed reviews from analysts following an analyst briefing and preview of two new models by Proton.

Persona is slated to be launched on Aug 15. The other new model is a 1.3-litre sedan to replace Iswara, and will be launched in January 2008, according to analyst reports.

Hwang-DBS Vickers Research is upbeat on the upcoming Persona. It said Persona would be priced at between RM45,000 and RM55,000, and that Proton targeted to sell about 4,000 units per month.

That would translate into RM1.4 billion and RM2.4 billion in revenue in the financial year ending March 31, 2008 (FY08) and FY09, respectively, it said in a research note yesterday.

“This has prompted us to narrow the potential losses for Proton to RM114 million and RM52 million (from RM400 million and RM330 million losses previously) for those years.

“The WRM, built on Gen.2 platform (with jigs and tooling mostly amortised and provisions already made in previous year’s P&L) is expected to rake in high 15% to 20% gross margins,” it said.

The attractive pricing strategy and the right timing, coupled with a possible warranty of up to five years, could help Proton meet its targeted monthly sales of 4,000 units, it added.

It added that Persona was designed based on buyers’ preferences and suggestions, and was moulded after the Gen.2 that was the third best selling model for Proton.

On the Iswara replacement model, Hwang-DBS Vickers said it remained cautious of the success of the model, which would be built on the Savvy platform. “Functionality is the key selling point. If the group can price the car at below RM30,000, then it might be able to tap into the first-time buyer market,” it said.

The research house reiterated its “fully valued call” on Proton with a target price of RM5.50, based on 30% discount to its realised net asset value (RNAV) of RM8.11.

“Despite our lower loss projections, our call takes into consideration the company’s questionable longer term viability and competitive operating landscape,” it said.

Meanwhile, RHB Research Institute said it was “less optimistic” on the Persona’s sales target in view of the public perception on its quality issues.

It said the pessimism also stemmed from the upcoming release of the new Toyota Vios in October to be priced around RM70,000, as well as weak car sales and unfavourable hire purchase credit environment.

“Thus we believe Proton can sell 2,000 to 2,500 Persona per month and will monitor to see if the management’s target of 4,000 per month is achievable and sustainable over the longer term,” it said.

Last month, Proton said it would supply cars to China’s Jinhua Youngman Automobile Manufacturing Co (JYA).

RHB Research said Proton targeted to export 30,000 completely built-ups (CBUs) of Gen.2 cars, which would be rebranded as Europestar for the China market, over a period of 20 months beginning November 2007.

It said Proton was currently in talks with JYA to assemble completely knocked-downs (CKDs) in two JYA’s plants in China.

It said the annual potential earnings Proton expected to realise from the alliance were licensing fee of RM35 million and royalty of RM102 million for every 150,000 units, parts supply revenue of RM3.1 billion and royalty fee of RM78 million for parts localisation, lotus engineering services of RM195 million and trademark usage fees of RM36 million.

“Given the potential teething problem and execution risks, we have refrained from raising our earnings forecast at this point of time,” it added.

RHB Research, noting the drag on the talks between Volkswagen and Proton, has maintained its “trading buy” recommendation on Proton with an indicative fair value of RM8.60.

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What is the main factor for you to buy a Proton Car?
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)