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Proton goes drive-away

Price point: Proton's S16 can be had for $11,990 driveaway.

Malaysian brand intros drive-away prices as Proton S16 regains lowest-cost title

Proton logo21 Jun 2010

By MARTON PETTENDY

PROTON has introduced drive-away pricing across its entire model range, again making the Malaysian brand’s pint-sized S16 sedan Australia’s cheapest new car.

Last December Proton announced this year’s new G-badged 1.3-litre version of the light-sized S16 sedan would be priced at a bargain-basement $10,990 plus on-road costs, making it the most affordable new vehicle available in Australia for almost 20 years.

By the time the S16 G arrived here (with an $11,990 pricetag) in April, however, Suzuki had lowered the price of its new sub-light-sized Alto hatchback to $11,790 – $200 less than the S16.

The Indian-built Alto and Hyundai’s Korean-made Getz hatch are both now available at a drive-away price of $12,990, effectively undercutting the $11,990 list price of the S16 once dealer delivery and statutory charges are factored in.

Now, however, in the lead up to an influx of competitively priced Chinese models from Great Wall, Chery, Geely and Lifan – as well as Hyundai’s first Indian-built models in the i20 and, next year, the even smaller i10 – Proton has cemented the S16 G’s position as Australia’s least expensive new car with an all-inclusive price of $11,990.

 center imageFrom top: Proton Savvy, Proton Gen.2, Proton Satria, Proton Persona.

Effective from June 1 but available only for a limited (unspecified) time, Proton’s drive-away pricing strategy applies across the range, allowing buyers to pay no more than $12,990 for the 1.6-litre S16 GX manual sedan, or $14,990 for the newly released automatic version.

Of course, while metallic paint remains a $490 option for all Proton models, the S16 continues to be unavailable with electronic stability control and customers must pay extra for ABS brakes and more than one airbag.

Both the five-door Savvy micro-hatch and Jumbuck ute – which scored a lowly one-star ANCAP crash safety result last September – are now in run-out before the latter is replaced this year.

While stocks last, the entry-level Savvy manual now costs $12,990 drive-away (previously $13,990 plus on-road costs) and an extra $2000 for an auto version, while the manual-only Jumbuck GLi is now $14,990 drive-away (was $13,990 drive-away) and the Jumbuck GLSi is now $16,990 drive-away (was $16,990 plus ORCs).

Prices for the three-door Satria Neo hatch are actually $1000 lower at base level as well as including on-road costs, with the 1.6 G manual now priced at $13,990 drive-away (was $14,990 plus ORCs), and other models including ORCs in their unchanged prices. Automatic versions continue to cost an extra $2000.

Similarly, the small Persona sedan is now priced from $14,990 drive-away for the G manual (was $15,990 plus ORCs), while the flagship Persona GX manual costs $16,990 drive-away (was $17,490 plus ORCs) and auto versions still cost a further $2000.

Finally, the small Gen.2 hatch is also now significantly cheaper at $15,990 drive-away for the base G manual (was $16,990 plus ORCs), increasing to an unchanged (but now drive-away) $19,990 for the top-shelf Gen.2 GXR manual. Again, an automatic transmission continues to cost $2000 extra.

The S16 has been Proton Cars Australia’s only cause for celebration so far this year with 473 examples sold, representing an average of about 95 sales a month.

The Saga-based four-door is the top-selling model by a significant margin within the Malaysian maker’s range, sales of which are up by 68 per cent overall so far in 2010.

While Jumbuck sales are steady, Gen.2 sales are down 23 per cent, Persona sales are down 26 per cent, Savvy sales are down 39 per cent and Satria sales are down 51 per cent.

Proton is in the midst of what it describes as its biggest new model onslaught in the Malaysian brand’s 15-year history in Australia.

Apart from a new Jumbuck, it this year plans to add LE versions of the Persona and S16 in August and September, before releasing it first people-mover, the Exora, in November and the hotter Satria Neo R3 Lotus Racing model in December.

Proton says the introduction of drive-away prices comes despite volatile currency exchange rates following assistance from its parent company. It says it has “taken the chance to gain a competitive advantage over its opponents in the new car market and is confident few other manufacturers will be able to follow its lead”.

“This offer will give new car buyers even more competitive prices on new Protons and provide the opportunity to buy a new car with Proton’s high standard of ride and handling thanks to Lotus engineering and also receive free 24 hours roadside assistance,” said PCA general manager sales and operations, Billy Falconer.

“When you compare these drive-away prices with our current recommended retail pricing, customers have the potential to save thousands on their purchase of a brand-new car, however, this offer will only be available while current stocks last so buyers will need to be quick or you could miss out.”
2010 Protonpricing (drive away):
S16 G$11,990
S16 GX$12,990
S16 GX (automatic)$14,990
Savvy$12,990
Savvy (automatic)$14,990
Satria Neo G$13,990
Satria Neo G (automatic)$15,990
Satria Neo GX$15,490
Satria Neo GX (automatic)$17,490
Satria Neo GXR$16,990
Satria Neo GXR (automatic)$18,990
Jumbuck GLi$14,990
Jumbuck GLSi$16,990
Persona G$14,990
Persona G (automatic)$16,990
Persona GX$16,990
Persona GX (automatic)$18,990
Gen.2 G$15,990
Gen.2 G (automatic)$17,990
Gen.2 GX$17,990
Gen.2 GX (automatic)$19,990
Gen.2 GXR$19,990
Gen.2 GXR (automatic)$21,990
Metallic paint$490

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