PROTON plans cheapest car
PROTON reckons it will be able to sell the cheapest new sedan in Australia next year.
It hopes to import the fourdoor sedan at a price below its cheapest car, the $13,990 Savvy hatchback and less than some Chinese brands earmarked for Australia, for about $12,000.
Proton Cars Australia managing director John Sartari said it would lead a revitalised assault on the Australian car market with the lowest priced sedan intended as the perfect answer to the current financial climate.
“Australia’s lowest cost sedan will be the cornerstone of our range and Proton will present a value for money proposition from the entry level model to the sporty Satria,” he said.
“We will launch a revitalised range with the low cost sedan at a price and specification level that will make it hard to ignore in the market.
“It will be significantly different to the current Savvy. It is the same car that was launched in Malaysia recently as the Saga. It is a sedan and is powered by a 1.6 litre Campro engine in place of the 1.2 litre engine in the current Savvy.”
The company will not announce the pricing or the name of the new car until the launch, however Mr Startari said its price, equipment levels and overall value for money would make it a contender in the small/light car class.
He said that Proton was here to stay and had a solid base on which it can build its future expansion.
“Proton Cars has an established infrastructure in Australia which we have refined and tuned over the past 10 years,” he said. “We have low overheads and a small but highly skilled workforce, factors that will help drive the brand forward.”
Mr Sartari said it was redoubling its efforts to rebuild and refresh its dealer network across the country.
The company has severed ties with almost half its existing dealers and is now recruiting new high calibre dealers to broaden the reach and service levels for Proton customers.
Mr Startari admitted that the marque had not performed to expectations, however the resources and backing had now been committed by parent company Proton Cars Berhad to drive the brand forward in Australia.
“The centrepiece of our plan is to recruit the best dealer network available. We are not going to expand at all cost, it will be a matter of only signing dealers who are committed and eager to be a part of growing the brand,” he said.
“Product, pricing and marketing support have received major boosts to ensure that we have the tools to take Proton to the market.”
Mr Sartari said a number of new dealers had told him they were not committed to taking on other low cost brands because they did not have an established record in Australia.