Proton back in orbit
A small car with fivestar safety comes from nowhere
MALAYSIAN minnow Proton releases its first new model in three years today.
The Preve small car, priced from $18,990, got a major boost this week with the award of five stars from the Australian New Car Assessment Program— the brand’s first maximum crash safety score.
Proton has had no new product for three years— the budget brand had fewer sales last year than Porsche. Sales and marketing general manager Billy Falconer says the Preve, a new hatch and a people mover will change that.
‘‘ The new hatch will be a five-star car. Our new cars will also come with the five-star service plan, which is a fiveyear warranty, five years (150,000km) roadside assist and five years (75,000km) free servicing,’’ he says.
‘‘ We’re the first and only to offer the five years free service, which is standard on the new cars,’’ Falconer says. ANCAP chairman Lauchlan McIntosh says the new vehicle’s structure appears much improved over previous Proton models.
The stars are ‘‘ a testament to the commitment of Proton senior management and its engineers to incorporate high safety into their new vehicles’’.
McIntosh says Proton used previously poor crash test results as an incentive to improve the brand’s safety rating for the latest model. ‘‘ A lot of time and effort has been invested in improving the design and safety equipment of the Preve and it is reassuring to see Proton reach this mark,’’ he says.
The news wasn’t all good for Proton as the new small car scored only a marginal rating for pedestrian impact protection, a growing focus of the crash-test program. ‘‘ ANCAP is increasing the standards for pedestrian protection for all star ratings,’’ McIntosh says.