Proton to start sales drive
MINNOW Malaysian car brand Proton is planning a major assault on the Australian market this year.
No all-new product for three years has seen its sales dwindle – last year the brand sold fewer cars than Porsche in Australia – but Proton sales and marketing general manager Billy Falconer says a new hatch and people mover, as well as the Preve small car, are aimed at changing that.
‘‘We haven’t launched a new car in three years. We have a seven-seater MPV and a new hatch will also be here later this year,’’ he says.
Mr Falconer says the company aims to triple its 2012 volume this year with new products, as well as increasing its dealer count from 22 to as many as 50 in the next two years.
‘‘For 2013 we want to get to 3000 sales for the year. We sold just over 1000 last year but without new cars it was difficult,’’ he says.
‘‘They are bold plans. The new hatch will be a five-star car and 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 (or 75,000km) free servicing.
‘‘We’re the first and only to offer the five years free service which is standard on the new cars going forward,’’ he says.
One of the company’s messages for 2013 will be improvements in quality and safety, which it will back with the five-star thumbsup from the Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) for its first fivestar crash test performance.
ANCAP has released the new Proton Preve small car’s result, which it says scored well across all of the crash tests.
The Preve officially went on sale last month from $18,990, and is sold as standard with dual front, frontside and curtain airbags.
Mr Falconer says the ANCAP result is a good effort for the company.
‘‘We’re very happy with it. It’s a great result for the car and the Proton brand,’’ he says. ‘‘And it shows we’re heading in the right direction.’’
ANCAP chairman Lauchlan McIntosh says the new vehicle’s structure appears much improved over previous Proton models.
The new cars have performed well in the ANCAP safety tests