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New models - Proton - Gen.2

Proton's take two Gen.2 arrives

Series II: Revised Gen.2 is claimed to feature improved panel fit, new switchgear, new interior trim and more supportive seats.

Proton tries again with a revised, ‘better quality’ Series II Gen.2 small car

Proton logo1 Dec 2005

PROTON has brought in the big guns to ensure its facelifted Gen.2 hatch launched in Australia last week delivers the goods.

Respected German quality audit and standards certification company TUV has helped the Malaysian car manufacturer lift quality across its entire model range and to adopt a production system akin to Toyota’s.

The Gen.2 is claimed to be the first to benefit after TUV audited its Tajung Malim factory near Kuala Lumpur and its component suppliers, 12 of which were axed and the remaining 69 given strong guidelines to meet international quality standards.

"Every shipment of Gen.2 we have received in Australia has been better than the last and along with added initiatives we have put in place, including quality control operations at each of our distribution centres, it is a very different car today than the one we launched 12 months ago," said Proton Cars Australia managing director, John Startari.

Still priced from $17,990 drive-away, the Gen.2 Series II is said to have improved panel fit, along with new and improved switchgear, more supportive seat designs and new interior fabrics.

The 82kW/148Nm 1.6-litre engine’s low-rpm power delivery has also been improved via new engine computer mapping.

Standard features across the range include air-conditioning, ABS brakes, dual airbags, steering-mounted audio controls, central locking and a trip computer.

Proton is preparing to move away from the L Line, M Line and H Line model designation, but for the time being the three trim levels continue.

The M Line adds alloy wheels and (on the auto) cruise control, while the H Line adds climate control, a rear spoiler, front and rear foglights, a rear parking radar and side airbags.

A four-speed auto is available for an extra $2000 across the range.

In Australia, the Lotus-tuned Gen.2 hardly registers on the VFACTS sales graph, with less than 1000 sold this year.

* Proton Cars Australia is planning to expand its dealer network from 35 to 45 retail outlets by the end of next year as new product, including the Savvy micro and new-generation Satria small car, arrive next year.

According to Mr Startari, the Malaysian marque has had to limit its number of dealers because it has not had sufficient stock. It also delayed the arrival of the Savvy until the company was confident about its quality.

The sales pitch for the newcomers would be strongly focused on Sydney and Melbourne, however, Mr Startari said the regional markets would not be ignored.

Jumbuck utility sales are up 60 per cent over last year and the company is confi dent of selling 300 a month in 2006 now that supply has improved.

2006 Proton Gen.2 pricing:*

Gen.2 L Line - $17,990
Gen.2 M Line - $19,500
Gen.2 L Line (a) - $19,990
Gen.2 H Line - $20,990
Gen.2 M Line (a) - $21,500
Gen.2 H Line (a) - $20,990
*All prices are drive-away

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