Pro­ton takes a power pill

The Malaysian brand is do­ing some­thing about its anonymity cri­sis

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News -

pitched into the bot­tom end of the baby-car class, as well as an over­due com­mit­ment to safety.

And Pro­ton is go­ing turbo, both with the Ex­ora and a ver­sion of the Per­sona.

The lo­cal op­er­a­tion has been hit heav­ily by de­lays in prod­uct up­dates from Malaysia, as well as the loss of its unique (but short on safety) Jumbuck ute.

‘‘ We think the Ex­ora could give us some­thing to fill that Jumbuck niche. It’s a smaller peo­ple-mover and there aren’t too many com­peti­tors,’’ Pro­ton Aus­tralia man­ag­ing di­rec­tor John Star­tari says.

The Ex­ora will only come to Aus­tralia with the top-line me­chan­i­cal pack­age, a tur­bocharged 1.6-litre en­gine and au­to­matic gear­box.

The likely tar­get price is less than $30,000 on the road.

Crit­i­cally, how­ever, both the Ex­ora and Per­sona will be here in the sec­ond half of the year.

Be­fore the heav­ier hit­ters, Pro­ton will have an up­date of the cur­rent Per­sona El­e­gance and the S16 FLX to keep things tick­ing over.

Fur­ther into the fu­ture, and de­spite a bat­tle rag­ing over the own­er­ship and di­rec­tion in Malaysia, Star­tari says Pro­ton has a plan. ‘‘ I think Pro­ton will be at the cut­ting edge of safety, and we’ll be us­ing the Ex­ora plat­form to lever­age the Lo­tus ride and han­dling in all our cars,’’ he says.

Puffed up: Pro­ton’s Ex­ora wagon is com­ing as turbo only

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