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Proton tests the market with ‘cheapest sedan’

Build up: Proton is preparing for a November launch for its sub-$13,000 S16 - "Australia's lowest-cost sedan".

Dealers set to give demos of new Proton S16 ahead of November launch

10 Sep 2009

PROTON dealers will offer test drives of the Malaysian marque’s new budget-priced S16 light car ahead of launch as the company builds awareness for what it claims will be the lowest-cost sedan on the Australian market.

Proton Cars Australia (PCA) says its dealers will take delivery of S16 demonstrators in October for customer appraisal and pre-orders before the official on-sale launch date of November 1.

Although the final pricing has not been announced, Proton says the 1.6-litre four-door car will be offered at a driveaway price of under $13,000, putting it head to head with econo-hatches such as the Suzuki Alto and Hyundai Getz.

PCA sales and operations general manager Billy Falconer said the new S16 would deliver the best value and economy equation on the Australian car market.

"We believe the S16 will lead the market on price and economy with performance that will be head and shoulders above other cars in the sector," he said.

"We have already had a strong response to the announcement that Proton would be launching Australia's lowest priced four door sedan, and between now and the launch date more details including exact pricing will be revealed.

"All Proton Australia dealers will be taking delivery of a demonstrator S16 during October for test drives and will take orders for the new car ahead of the launch."Proton sorely needs to generate showroom traffic, having sold just 909 cars for the first eight months of 2009, down 33 per cent of last year in an overall market down 14 per cent.

Its traditional best seller, the Jumbuck ute, is in run-out as it is phased out in readniess for an all-new model in the first half of next year.

The new Jumbuck will be part of a new-model wave that will include new entry-level versions of the Persona, Satria Neo and Gen.2, as well as the Exora mini-MPV and two performance versions of the Satria Neo.

But first, the S16 will arrive, powered by Proton's twin-cam 16-valve 1.6-litre Campro engine producing 82kW of power and delivering combined fuel consumption of 6.3 litres/100km.

Boot size will be a plus for the S16, with 413 litres of luggage space, despite carrying a full-sized spare wheel.

Standard equipment includes air conditioning, power front windows, power steering, remote keyless entry with central locking and immobiliser, AM/FM/CD audio system, height-adjustable driver’s seat, tilt-adjustable steering.

The S16 is expected to be launched only in manual form, with four-speed automatic and smaller engine variants following in the first quarter of next year.

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