A MANUAL’S COMING BUT NO JOLLY JUMBUCKS
Proton is employing factory bonuses — “while stocks last” — to get some sales on the board for the year. Its pricing is about that of nominal Korean and Japanese rivals but it is emphasising five-year deals mean cheap ownership.
There’s also the prospect of fresh variants arriving virtually monthly next year, including a 2.0-litre hatch with pretensions to hot. But don’t hold your breath for a fresh iteration of the Jumbuck ute. “It would be based on the Exora platform but the business case doesn’t stack up,” says Falconer.
The success or otherwise of business cases is more straightforward now that the brand is under the aegis of Malaysian conglomerate DRBHicom rather than the government. Decisions are made on hard-nosed lines.
This meant Falconer got head office’s nod when he argued for a manual to better exploit the modest outputs of the maker’s 1.6-litre turbos. The six-speeder will be fitted to examples of the sedan and hatch arriving in the new year and the DIY gearbox will take about $2000 off list prices.