Proton has announced that it intends to sell the cheapest car in Australia early next year, which will become the 'cornerstone' of the Malaysian company's local lineup.
With support from its Malaysian owners, Proton will also be rebuilding its Australian dealership network. It has cut ties with around 20 of its existing dealers, and a new network of between 45 and 50 dealers will be set up by the end of the year.
This is planned to better position the Proton brand in the market for the introduction of its un-unnamed budget sedan.
The car will be based upon the Malaysian-market Saga, and will be powered by a 1.6 litre Campro inline four. Precise specification, retail price and even the car's name won't be known until it launches in early 2010, but Proton's PR head Jon Thomson tells us it won't sell for any less than $10,000. A Tata Nano it ain't.
The new entry-level model should revitalise Proton sales here, particularly as the ongoing financial crisis continues to squeeze motorists out of larger cars and into smaller vehicles.
"We will launch a revitalised range with the low cost sedan at a price and specification level that will make it hard to ignore in the market," said Proton Cars Australia Managing Director, John Startari.
"Australia's lowest cost sedan will be the cornerstone of our range and Proton will present a value for money proposition from the entry level model to the sporty Satria."