Proton Releases New Car
Malaysian automaker Proton, which is currently suffering from slumping sales, recently unveiled their newest sedan. The Malaysian government which has a majority share in the automaker is currently having talks with Volkswagen AG. This development is considered as the reason why Proton has set high sales projection for the new sedan. The sales goal was not only for the domestic auto market but also includes exports to Europe.
The new sedan was actually meant to be unveiled before. But due to some reasons, the automaker postponed the unveiling and has only recently decided to release the car. With the unveiling of the new sedan, the Malaysian automaker is calling for the Malaysian government to push on with the deal that will see Volkswagen pouring in money on the cash-strapped automaker. In return, Volkswagen will have a strong presence in the Malaysian auto market.
The arrival of the new Proton Persona has been well received by critics and consumers alike. The styling of the new Proton sedan is considerably better looking than other Proton models. Cars made by the Malaysian automaker have been scorned by many for overemphasized designs. The new Persona though has critics saying that it might be the one that will start the turnaround for the automaker.
According to Proton, the Person was designed and built for young professionals. Just like other automakers, the Malaysian contingent is shifting their target market. With older car buyers usually remaining loyal to a certain brand, automakers, like Proton, are hoping to attract younger car buyers that will be loyal to the brand.
In the development of the new Persona, the automaker has conducted several surveys and model clinics. These were done to ensure that the vehicle that they come up with is something which consumers are looking for. With this step, Proton is proving that it has a good relationship with its customers.
Volkswagen, the makers of cars such as the Polo and the Touareg as well as auto parts such as the Volkswagen skid plate front is expected to reach a deal which will see the European automaker owning majority of the Malaysian automaker.
In the past, Proton has been very successful in the Malaysian auto market. With the Malaysian government behind them, the automaker was able to market cars at a significantly lower price compared to its competitors. But with major automakers like Toyota gaining popularity among Malaysian auto buyers, Proton has seen its share in the Malaysian auto market slowly shrinking.
Acceptance of the new sedan is high. According to the Proton chairman Mohammed Azlan Hashim, ?Already, 2,200 bookings have been made so far, and these bookings have been made by customers who have not even seen the actual car.? The company is aiming to sell about 30,000 to 40,000 units of the Proton Persona.
That includes sales outside of Malaysia. Proton managing director Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohammed Tahir said, ?You cannot concentrate on the domestic market alone as it is getting smaller and smaller. That’s why export is going to be the approach. As of today, Proton does not enjoy economies of scale.?