K. Venkiteswaran

Launches Proton Persona

To sell 4,000

units a month

The car is available in five variants

KOCHI: Malaysia’s largest manufacturer of automobiles, Proton, is looking at key market centres in the U.K. and Western Europe to the Middle East for future expansion. The company has already made its presence felt in Southeast Asia and Australasia, company officials told a team of visiting foreign journalists at the plant at Tanjung Malim in the Perak province of Malaysia last week.

The King of Malaysia, Mizan Zainal Abidin, officially launched the Proton Persona, the latest sedan in Malaysia on August 15. This latest addition to the Proton family is the fifth model fully built by Proton after the introduction of the Waja in 2000, the Gen.2 in 2004, the Savvy in 2005 and the Satria Neo in 2006.

The Chairman of Proton Holdings Berhad, Mohammed Azian Hashim, said 2,200 units of the car were booked even before the official launch.

The company is targeting sales of 4,000 units a month. It is available in five variants and the company’s latest offering is the most competitively priced model in the 1600cc segment, with the price ranging from RM 44,999 to RM 55,800 (Rs. 5.28 lakh to Rs. 6.55 lakh).

Last month, Proton announced its landmark deal with Youngman Automobile Group of China which had been billed as a development that would jumpstart Proton’s turnaround. This was followed by the introduction of Waja and Neo in Indonesia, another big market for Proton.

The addition of these two models is a quick follow-up on the successes Proton have had with Gen.2 and Savvy in the Indonesian market.

Meanwhile, the second national carmaker in Malaysia, Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd (Peroudua) is unfazed by the latest entry from its main competitor, according to its Managing Director, Hafiz Syed Abu Baker.

MyVi, launched in 2005, is at present the best selling model in Malaysia, representing more than 30 per cent of the overall car sales nationwide.