Well Done, Proton!


But VW hogged the headlines.

Last week’s New Straits Times-Maybank Car of the Year (COTY) awards saw Proton bag 2 of the very coveted awards, namely for the Suprima S in the People’s Choice Award category and the Saga SV as the Entry Level Compact Car of the Year. These awards follow hard on the heels of other accolades recently won in Australia for the Proton Prevé in that market and must be seen as clear evidence that Proton, under the new DRB management, can easily go onto to bigger and better things. Sales for the Suprima S have been a little sluggish which has been attributed to competitors pricing their entry level models at or about the same price as the fully loaded and deceptively quick, turbo charged Suprima S. So perhaps the public may now start to take a second look at the model that is far from entry level in terms of specs. The Saga SV has had no problem – the public has been quick to spot the value for money – and sales of the pocket sized 4-door sedan have been impressive over the last 3 months. The SV is clearly the model that is spearheading the recent Proton surge.

Proton was up against some stiff competition, not least from Volkswagen who stole all of the headlines, chiefly with its world beating and exceedingly fantastic Golf GTI, which was of course one of the original hot hatches back in the mid 1970s (yes, it has been that long) and a marque that the VW Group has been evolving and improving ever since then. This year’s COTY was the Golf GTI with the Tech Pack option. The panel of judges obviously were impressed and went on record to say, “The Volkswagen Golf GTI was the original hot hatch and this year’s optional Tech Pack is a must-have and completely transforms the car’s all-round capabilities to make it one of the most complete packages on the road.” The marque also drove home with 3 more awards: the Premium Family Car of the Year, the Premium SUV of the Year and the Performance Car of the Year, courtesy of the Volkswagen Golf 1.4 TSI, the Volkswagen Touareg TDI and the aforementioned Golf GTI.

There were a couple of surprise winners coming through to take wins in their respective categories. Subaru won in the SUV of the Year category with the locally assembled XV, while Ssangyong added steam to their comeback as the 11-seater Stavic came out victorious in the MPV of the Year bout, but with 11 seats it is arguable that perhaps that particular vehicle should be in the small bus category.

There were 15 separate categories up for grabs and the winners were selected by a pool of 4 judges comprising of motoring journalists, who test drove the nominated cars and, over a series of meetings, voted on the best car for each category. The judges consisted of Yamin Vong, Editor of Cars, Bikes, Trucks and Chairman of the panel of judges; Hazril Hafiz, news editor of Berita Harian Auto; Chew Wooi Foo, motoring columnist of China Press; and Dinesh Appavu, CBT writer. There were 65 cars in total that were test driven and to get onto that list, the vehicle had to be new or extensively facelifted and introduced into the local market between October 2012 and October 2013.
With 2 awards and against such esteemed international competition, Proton can justly hold its head high. The full list of winners for the COTY 2013 reads as follows:

People’s Choice Award 2013
Proton Suprima S

Most Beautiful Car of the Year
Jaguar F-Type

Most Improved Navigation Aid
AAPICO QI: Galactio (Aftermarket) and Powermap iQ (OEM)

Entry Level Compact Car of the Year
Proton Saga SV

Compact Car of the Year
Honda Jazz (CKD)
Premium Compact Car of the Year
Mercedes Benz A250 Sport

Entry Level Coupe of the Year
Hyundai Veloster

Family Car of the Year
Kia Cerato

Premium Family Car of the Year
Volkswagen Golf MK VII

Executive Car of the Year
Honda Accord 2.4L

Pick-Up Truck of the Year
Isuzu D-Max 2.5 Auto

MPV of the Year
Ssangyong Stavic

SUV of the Year
Subaru XV

Premium SUV of the Year
Volkswagen Touareg TDI

Performance Car of the Year
Volkswagen Golf GTI

Premium Performance Car of the Year
Porsche Cayman S

Premium Executive Car of the Year (below RM500,000)
Lexus IS250 F Sport

Premium Executive Car of the Year (above RM500,000)
Jaguar XJ 2.0

Volkswagen Golf GTI

Datuk Ben Yeoh
Managing Director of Bermaz Motor Sdn Bhd

image: proton.com

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