PRO­TON plans cheapest car

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - Front Page -

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.

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