Proton Bringing Three New Models To Australia, Ramping Up Advertising

Trevor Collett | Sep 5, 2013

Proton has committed to gaining a genuine foothold in Australia, the carmaker said this week, starting with three new models in the next three months.

It's an ambitious schedule for the Malaysian carmaker, who up until now has only ever released one new model locally within a calendar year.

And there’s more new models to come in 2014, as Proton looks to give its local line-up a big makeover. As a result of the changes, the current Gen 2 and Persona range has gone into run-out mode, to make way for the new models.

TMR was on the ground at a Proton event in Sydney yesterday, where we learned more about what we can expect from the carmaker in the future.

PROTON EXORA

First of the new models is the seven seat Exora; the first MPV for Proton in Australia.

Proton is aiming the Exora at “the dollar-conscience buyer”, with the entry level GX model sharply priced from $25,990 drive-away (making it Australia’s cheapest seven-seater) and the up-spec GXR priced from $27,990 drive-away.

That makes it up to $4000 cheaper than the entry-level Kia Rondo, even before on-road costs are brought into the equation.

Both variants get a 'six-speed' CVT transmission (six set ratios), 16-inch alloy wheels and a roof-mounted DVD player, along with ABS, ESC and four airbags combining to give the Exora a 4-star ANCAP safety rating.

Fuel consumption for both models is listed at 8.3 l/100km and no manual transmission will be offered.

Expect to see the Exora in showrooms around October 1.

PROTON PREVE GXR

Next on the arrivals list is the Preve GXR, a sportier version of the current Preve sedan. Proof of its sporting aspirations can be found at the back of the car, where you'll find a “Handling by Lotus” badge.

Above the regular Preve, the GXR gains leather trim, automatic headlamps, rain sensing wipers, cruise control and a seven-speed CVT transmission with paddle shifters.

The Preve GXR goes one better than the Exora safety-wise, earning a 5-star ANCAP safety rating.

To enliven the driving experience a little more, a six-speed manual will join the line-up in the first quarter of 2014.

The CVT version however, is due in showrooms around November 1st, with pricing on both CVT and manual models yet to be confirmed.

Above: The Preve sedan currently offered in Australia will soon get a sports flagship.
Above: The Preve sedan currently offered in Australia will soon get a sports flagship.

PROTON SUPRIMA S

Finally for 2013, there is the Suprima S which enters the local market as a hatch sibling to the new Preve sedan. TMR recently brought you news on the Suprima S hatch, but here’s an update:

There will be two Suprima S variants in Australia; both feature a standard seven-speed CVT transmission and both promise to be the best equipped Protons to ever appear on the local market.

Standard equipment includes a seven-inch touch screen with satellite navigation, hill-hold assist, park assist with front parking sensors and LED daytime running lights.

The Suprima S debuted on the Malaysian market on August 17 and Proton plans to have the new models in Australian showrooms by December 1.

Along with its Preve GXR sister, the Suprima S also gets a 5-star ANCAP safety rating plus a six-speed manual option in the first quarter of 2014, with a price yet to be confirmed for either transmission.

ALL TOGETHER NOW

All of the new models will feature the same 1.6 litre turbo-charged petrol engine, developing 103kW and 205Nm while running on regular 91 RON unleaded. It is also E10 compliant.

They also benefit from a five-year warranty, which comes with five years roadside assistance and a five-year capped-price servicing plan.

THE FUTURE FOR PROTON IN AUSTRALIA

Since its entry into the Australian market in 1995, Proton’s success has been a bit up and down.

Highlights in the brand's past include the Satria GTi and the Jumbuck ute, but in 2013, the Malaysian carmaker is tracking for its worst ever year of sales in Australia.

Kaye Aimes from Proton Australia told us what we can expect as Proton looks to reinvigorate itself in the local market.

Aimes said that enticing new dealers was the first step, with several new retail points signed up in the last six months and several more currently in negotiations.

Victoria is a key consideration, where the lack of electronic stability control (ESC) in previous Proton models (but fitted to all new models) was holding potential dealers back, as state government laws there mandate the safety feature be fitted to all new passenger cars sold.

Proton has also appointed a new marketing company, and the carmaker says we can expect to see some fresh advertising angles.

“We would like to position ourselves between Kia and the Chinese brands, but ideally we would like to be closer to Kia,” Ms Aimes said.

“The first step is to regain our previous market share, which we realise is not going to happen overnight.”

Ms Aimes added that the lack of 5-star safety ratings in previous models was hurting sales, but the carmaker is aiming to improve safety standards in future models.

And what about a follow-up to the Jumbuck?

“The Jumbuck is one of our most successful vehicles to date,” Ms Aimes said. “But as it was only sold in Australia and South Africa, it isn’t really viable for Proton to build a new one.”

Bugger.

Stay tuned to TMR, as we bring you more news on the renewal of Proton in Australia, including our impressions of its new models.

Filed under: Lotus, ancap, Proton, hatch, News, dealers, proton persona, proton gen2, mpv, proton exora, proton preve, trevor collett, proton suprima

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  • CAZZO says,
    1 year ago
    5 likes
    This is like volvo, a invisible brand, at least this is at a real-world prices and brother to Lotus smile
    • Balthazaaaaaargh says,
      1 year ago
      4 likes
      Pretty hard to take you seriously when you put a well-regarded and long-established European brand into the same basket as Proton.
  • markwa says,
    1 year ago
    4 likes
    Proton at last has some cars that might be ok. The 7 seat Exora looks like a great value package that should sell ok if they advertise it well. Still I am sure I have seen the Exora before? Looks kinda like something from Mitsubishi?
  • Proton User says,
    1 year ago
    Stay away from PROTON!!
    Don't ever buy one. I had one before, it is nothing but endless trouble!
    • markwa says,
      1 year ago
      3 likes
      Some models are while others have been good. In fact its sad to say but they became more unreliable when they moved away from using older Mitsubishi platforms with there own in house attempts like the shockingly bad savvy and gen 2. They seem to have pulled there heads out of there asses and realized there products don't stack up in the real word away from the protected home market and are working to make cars that do.
    • jeelan says,
      12 months ago
      I am sure you experiencing the bad side of proton car and its fell dam sad and I feel sorry about that. let me add some more point. All car manufacturer had malfunction car brought out from factory even Toyota and Honda facing the same problem, calling back all model to be fix or replace any bad parts.Is better for you to come out with the technical problems and deal with the car dealer rather bashing the product here. in my opinion its much batter since we all civilise person
  • mrjeff says, says,
    1 year ago
    1 like
    Pity there not replacing the Jumbuck, i've had one for 10 years now, great little ute. Can't complain at all. Yes some might say cheap and cheerfull but in that time other than normal servicing it's had two batteries, clutch slave cyl, a brake light bulb , two interior light bulbs. Stil on original brakes, clutch, shocks, etc.It's had a few mods, i drive it like i stole it and it's a fun thing to drive. would i buy another proton. yep
  • justin says,
    1 year ago
    2 likes
    I have a New Proton Preve and its great.. A very big step forward for proton!
    Love the 5 years free services!
    Well Done Proton!
    Need more dealers in SA tho!
    • pos says,
      1 year ago
      2 likes
      Actually my Wife is from Malaysia so had the opportunity to drive all sorts of Protons over the years.

      Thoughts ! very reliable mechanically good value for money with all the features given , have a few of the older Proton Wiras in the family and done in excess of 200,000 Klms with very little servicing.

      The Preve is the best value car on the market
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