Pro­ton to start sales drive

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE - By STU­ART MARTIN

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

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