PETALING JAYA: Proton has launched its long awaited 1.6-litre Persona sedan at prices rivalling those of 1.3-litre cars.
The Persona will replace the Proton Wira – one of Proton`s highest volume sellers since 1993.
Persona prices range from RM44,999, for the Base Line variant with five-speed manual gear box up, to RM55,800, for the High Line version with four-speed automatic transmission.
The new model, together with Proton’s new ventures in China, will “mark the emergence of Proton from its low ebb,” Managing Director Syed Zainal Abidin said in the company statement.
Proton has been losing money and market share in Malaysia, Southeast Asia’s biggest passenger car market.
Proton said in its statement it could sell up to 48,000 units of the car during the first 12 months.
The company, which is 43 percent-owned by Khazanah Nasional, reported a loss of RM591.4 million ringgit for the year ended March 31, 2007 but it expects to be profitable in the new financial year.
Last month, Proton said it would sell at least 30,000 cars to Chinese firm Youngman Automobile Manufacturing Co., marking its first foray into China.
The car maker is also still in talks with Germany’s Volkswagen AG on a possible alliance, with a final decision expected to be made by the end of the year, officials have said.
Proton has also pledged to cut costs, boost exports and introduce new models to prop up sales.
Besides the new Persona sedan, Proton reportedly plans to release other models including a multipurpose vehicle in 2009, officials said. Here’s more photos of the latest Proton’s pride & joy 😀
The Persona is available in Base, Medium and High Line model form, with a choice of F5M41 five-speed manual or F4A41 four-speed automatic transmission versions. The Base and Medium Line offers both manual and auto variants, with the High Line version only available in auto.
The 110bhp and 148Nm 1.6l Campro engine continues to hold court, but revisions to the transmission control unit means that the behavioral patterns of the auto version are different. Benefits include a smoother low to mid-speed operation, and quicker response to acceleration as well as faster instantaneous kickdown.
If it`s dual SRS front airbags with seatbelt pretensioners, ABS and EBD you`re looking for, then the High Line version is it – it also gets four disc brakes. The medium line gets a driver`s airbag and seatbelt pretensioner.
Inside, the cabin continues on the familiarity, but there are differences in how the form is sculpted; besides the noticeable extra storage areas, it is in the area of material composition texture, feel, coordination and fitment in which the biggest improvements have been made.
The two-tone grey interior features newly designed front seats and headrests, as well as fabric-lined door panels. Both medium and high line models come with a three-spoke steering wheel with integrated audio switches, and the base line model is equipped with a two-speaker, double DIN CD receiver, while the medium and high line versions come shod with a CD/MP3 receiver, four-speaker system.
Speaking of storage space, there`s plenty to be had aside from revised storage compartments, cubbyholes and yes, finally a glove box. As is, the boot area is pretty large, with 430l of storage capacity, but in both medium and high line models, the rear seats can be folded flat to further increase volumetric scope to accommodate bulky items.
As for the workings of the powertrain/drivetrain, it does have more zip about it at low-level operation, though the action still really only begins once the revs are up. The auto tranny feels surprisingly good though in other areas of operation, especially in terms of smoothness and transition, and the performance gap between it and the manual is not that marked, at least not in outright feel. A more in-depth performance report is on the cards, soon.
There`s a choice of seven colours for the Persona; six of these Solid Red, Light Gold, Metal Grey, Tranquility Black, Iridescent White and Blueberry Tea are available with the launch. The seventh, solid white, will be available from September.
Pricing for the Persona is as follows (all on-the-road, with insurance):
Base Line 1.6MT manual – RM44,999 (solid), RM45,449 (metallic)
Base Line 1.6AT auto – RM47,999 (solid), RM48,449 (metallic).
Medium Line 1.6MT manual – RM49,800 (metallic)
Medium Line 1.6AT auto – RM52,800 (metallic)
High Line 1.6AT – RM55,800 (metallic).
Base Line 1.6MT manual – RM47,559.10 (solid), RM48,009.10 (metallic)
Base Line 1.6AT auto – RM50,542 (solid), RM50,992 (metallic)
Medium Line 1.6MT manual – RM52,331.60 (metallic)
Medium Line 1.6AT auto – RM55,314.50 (metallic)
High Line 1.6AT auto – RM57,241.10 (metallic)
Check out some of the video on the Star site:
Source: The Star