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Proton Persona packs in the extras

Proton power: Proton's upgraded Persona XLi sedan is aimed at the Nissan Pulsar and Toyota Corolla.

Proton aims to boost sales with the value-packed Persona XLi

12 Nov 1999

MALAYSIAN car-maker Proton has improved equipment levels and reduced the price of its Persona XLi to boost its market share in the compact sedan segment.

The upgraded Persona XLi is priced at $18,690 in manual form, around $1300 cheaper than the best-selling small sedan, the Nissan Pulsar LX. But the latter is better equipped.

Proton's contender comes equipped with air-conditioning, remote central locking, power windows, Blaupunkt four-speaker stereo, engine immobiliser and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

It is powered by a 1.6-litre, four-cylinder engine that produces 83kW at 6000rpm and 137Nm at 5000rpm.

Built on the same platform as the previous generation Mitsubishi Lancer, the Persona features MacPherson struts at the front and a multi-link set-up at the rear.

But the suspension has benefitted from some tweaking by British sports car-maker Lotus, which is now owned by Proton.

The Proton range is now spearheaded by the hot-hatch Satria GTi which made its Australian debut at the Sydney motor show.

Following a modest sales performance in recent times, Proton Cars Australia has devised a new retailing strategy in a bid to boost the marque's popularity.

Proton Direct was launched amid great fanfare by the company?s global chief executive officer, Mr Tengku Mahaleel, at the Sydney motor show.

Proton Direct is a retail selling showcase which puts the cars in front of an audience at retail homemaker centres and shopping malls.

The existing dealer network will supplement the direct marketing strategy.

Proton Direct offers some notable benefits for buyers including a no questions asked money-back guarantee for the first three days and the chance to specify and buy a car over the Internet.

All cars come standard with Proton's industry leading one million kilometre warranty. Free parts and servicing for the first 45,000km are also part of the deal.

A customer referral system will be used to spread the word about the cars and the buying process through local communities.

The aim of the Proton Direct and the Proton World Tour, another retailing initiative, is to help push sales to the 5000 unit barrier within 12 months.

This represents a huge increase on the 2100-odd cars it is likely to sell this year.

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