The new low-cost sedan was originally slated for early 2010 but will now be brought to market four months early as part of a cost efficiency onslaught from the Malaysian car maker.
The new car, based on the Malaysian Saga sedan, will have an all new name for the Australian market - yet to be announced - and will come to market with a sub-$13,000 price tag.
Available at first with Proton's 1.6-litre Campro engine mated to a five-speed manual gearbox it will be offered in standard automatic guise, albeit with a smaller engine option, from February 2010.
The rest of the new lower cost Proton models will be introduced during November 2009 and will position Proton as an economy leader in the new car market.
"Along with our new price leading sedan, economy car buyers will be able to take advantage of Proton's trademark Lotus engineered handling as well as our acknowledged reliability along with lower prices right across the range," said John Startari, Managing Director of Proton Cars Australia. "Our plan is to champion the value proposition without sacrificing safety, quality and reliability and that has been particularly attractive to the new dealers who we have been recruiting."Clearly there will be new low cost brands entering the market in the coming months, however Proton's strength is that it has been in this market for close to 15 years and is a factory owned operation with the full backing of our parent company in Malaysia. Product, pricing and marketing support have received major boosts from our parent company to ensure that we have the tools to expand our market share in this country."With a lower cost sporty Satria Neo, Gen2 and Persona as well as the entry level sedan, Proton will have a very structured range of cars with more variants covering the market from sub $13,000 to a shade over $20,000."Proton has already recruited a number of new dealers and they have told us that they had considered taking on other low cost brands but did not want to take the risk with brands that do not have an established record in Australia. There are more than 25,000 Protons on Australian roads and we believe we can now take the brand to a higher level."
Proton was established in 1983, and is Malaysia's largest car manufacturer. With operations in key markets including the UK, Western Europe, the Middle East and across South-East Asia and Australasia, Proton produces a range of cars from versatile and reliable four-door family sedans to sporty three-door hatchbacks and utilities, and is also the parent company of world-renowned sports car maker, Lotus.
Proton's promise is to be a marque which builds cars with passion and soul which are a delight to drive and a pleasure to own.
To read about our long term Proton, click here.