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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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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)