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Proton pins expansion hopes on Preve

New Preve small car to lead Proton’s bid to increase sales four-fold in 2013

Proton logo4 Feb 2013

PROTON plans to expand its Australian dealership network from 25 outlets to 35 or even 40 by the end of this year, topping out at around 50 in the next 18-24 months.

The new Preve small car has now arrived in dealerships and will form a cornerstone of the Malaysian car-maker’s goal of almost quadrupling Australian sales compared with last year, when it sold just 1005 units.

An aggressive marketing effort for the Preve has already started with a national television advertising campaign on the 7, 9 and 10 networks, and will be backed up across other media including online.

Following the official Preve sedan media launch in March, the Exora seven-seat people-mover and turbocharged sports version of the Preve will arrive mid-year, with hatchback Preve variants arriving before the year is out.

All Proton products from Preve onwards will come with a new Five Star Service package comprising a five-year/150,000km factory warranty with roadside assistance and five years (or 75,000km) of free servicing.

Proton Cars Australia sales and marketing general manager Billy Falconer told GoAuto the Preve is expected to account for between 70 and 80 per cent of Proton’s target sales volume of 3500-4000 units this year.

43 center imageHe admitted that a lack of new products since 2009 has made it harder to convince new dealers to come on board and participate in Proton’s planned network expansion.

“We are speaking to a lot of dealers at the moment and understandably they are very hesitant and are waiting to see the launch (of Preve),” he said.

“It is a case of going back to those dealers and showing them the product when it is actually here … understandably, they are holding off just to see the proof in the pudding so to speak, that the numbers are there.”

Mr Falconer said dealerships each have manual and automatic versions of the Preve available for test drives and are taking orders for the sedan, with customer cars to be delivered once safety authority ANCAP has published a crash-test result.

As GoAuto reported exclusively last year, Proton has been using the Sydney Crashlab facility – as used by ANCAP – to improve its safety performance.

Mr Falconer said Proton’s development testing of the Preve – which comes with six airbags – indicate it will achieve a maximum five-star rating when ANCAP publishes its results later this month.

A single GX variant of the Preve is available from launch, priced at $18,990 driveaway for the five-speed manual and $20,990 for the automatic, which uses a continuously variable transmission (CVT), while metallic paint costs $495 extra.

Almost the same length as a Toyota Corolla sedan but slightly wider and higher, the Preve sedan has a 508-litre boot capacity that comes close to the longer Nissan Pulsar sedan’s class-leading 510 litres of luggage space, which in turn is larger than some medium and large sedans.

A long standard equipment list includes Bluetooth and USB/iPod connectivity, an MP3-compatible CD player with auxiliary input, a multi-function steering wheel, rear parking sensors, 16-inch alloy wheels, a trip computer, security alarm, remote central locking, electric windows and mirrors, LED daytime-running lights, and front and rear foglights.

A 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine produces 80kW of power and 160Nm of torque, with combined-cycle fuel consumption of 7.2 litres per 100 kilometres for the manual and 8.0L/100km for the CVT.

The upcoming sporty GXR model employs a new 102kW/205Nm 1.6-litre turbocharged engine, exclusively paired with a revised CVT offering seven simulated stepped ratios.

2013 Proton Preve pricing (driveaway):
GX$18,990
GX (a)$20,990

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