Good news for Proton!
There is good news for Proton Holdings Berhad, the self declared national car manufacturer of Malaysia, who has seen their sales rise by more than 27% in the third quarter of the year, to a total of 43 260 units. This was mostly due to the introduction of the Saga SV, which is an affordable entry level sedan with a 3 star ASEAN safety rating, priced at just a shade over USD10 000.
In a statement issued this week, Proton said that the Saga SV had raised Saga sales by a massive 72% as compared to the third quarter of 2013. In fact, over 22 000 Saga SVs had been registered in the 3 months. It is believed that the Saga SV would continue to strengthen its position as the consumers’ preferred entry level sedan due to its unique sales proposition.
It is thought that the news for Proton’s larger new offering, the Suprima S, is not so good, with reviews being good but sales being flat largely due to similar pricing with some lower end Japanese imports. To counter this, Proton has announced an exciting competition in their home market, designed to get car shoppers to at least try the fully loaded Suprima S.
Proton’s Chief Operating Officer, Hisham Othman, stated, “While we have seen encouraging growth in our domestic market, we know that the automotive landscape is extremely challenging and competitive. But we have what it takes to be the market leader again and will continue to work hard to improve our sales volume to recapture the market share with our core products.”
It is widely thought that Proton is getting prepared to launch some new models early next year, which could be the fruit of discussions that have been on-going with China’s Chery since early this year, although Hisham did not comment on this. It is known that Proton wants to increase their exports to at least 100 000 units in the next few years, chiefly to India and China, and has recently appointed Youngman Automobile Group Ltd as its distributor in China.
There are some additional good news for Proton, this time coming from Australia where the Gen-2 has gained some more kudos after it was named ‘the least expensive to own and run’ car in its category, in a study by the National Roads and Motorists Association (NRMA). This is the second year that the Gen-2 in its GX format has topped the list of the least expensive car under AUD35 000. In addition to the Gen-2 GX, the different variants of Gen-2 were also in second, fourth and seventh place, and the Persona Elegance was placed third in the manual format and sixth as an automatic.
Are these signs that Proton has really got the quality issues sorted out and can now power ahead into the future? Let’s hope so.