Friday, August 28, 2009

Test drive and stories about the Proton Persona

Whilst I was home recently, I was handed the keys to a brand new (Only 1,200km on the clock) Proton Persona 1.6 Manual. This is infact the replacement to the very popular Proton Waja.
Wikipedia ...
The Proton Persona is essentially a saloon based on the Gen-2 hatchback introduced in 2004, and inherits the Persona name from rebadged Wiras sold in certain countries. It addresses several main flaws of the Gen-2, although the Gen-2 itself remains in sale.
The most noticeable difference of the Persona from the Gen-2 is the a separate, larger boot, making it better suited to the local market, as Malaysians prefer saloons (an obvious fact overlooked by Proton's former management). More importantly, the roofline slopes less, addressing the many complaints on the lack of rear headroom.

My first impression was the smart looking exterior, and was also pleasantly surprised by the modern (albeit slightly plasticky, but it is miles better then the Waja it replaces). Firing up the car, it felt really easy to drive, and I had no problems with the clutch control despite not having driven a manual aka stick-shift in yonks! Have to say that the gear-shift could be more positive, but at least Lotus got the suspension right, erring on the side of comfort.

More Wikipedia...
The good news! With a more attractive price tag that ranges from RM44,999 to RM55,800 (about RM10,000 cheaper than the equivalent Gen-2), demand of the Persona continues to outstrip supply. Over 2,000 pre-launch bookings were made.
Within two weeks after launch, the figure increased to 11,000 bookings. Demand hit close to 19,000 bookings barely 2 weeks later. Originally intending to produce Personas at a rate of 4,000 cars per month, Proton has pledged to ramp up the production to 8,000 units per month to meet the unforeseen demand.
As a result of the Persona's debut, sales for the Proton Waja and the Proton Gen-2 significantly slowed down, causing Proton dealers to offer large amounts of discounts up to RM 9,000 to sell off the remaining models of Waja and Gen-2. This has been somewhat offset by the release of the new CPS engine in the Waja and Gen-2, which attempts to place the latter two models in a slightly higher market segment.
The bad news... March 14th, 2008 from The Daily Telegraph
LONDON, March 14 — An industry mole is leaking sensitive and revealing documents — not that I’m complaining.
The latest submission arrived in the usual brown envelope and comprised eight A4 pages that spelt out last year’s best- and worst-selling cars in Britain. As the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders officially publishes the Top 10, the popular cars are not of great interest. But the worst performers are a different matter...
The Proton Persona (four sold), Mitsubishi Shogun Sport (three), Kia Cerato (two), Maserati Spyder (two) and MG ZS (two) were among the contenders for the worst-selling unused car in Britain award, but the joint winners (one sale apiece) are the Chrysler Neon, Daihatsu Charade, Dodge SRT-10, Ferrari SuperAmerica, Fiat Croma, Hummer H2, Hyundai Terracan, Hyundai Trajet, Rover 75, CityRover, Smart Cabrio and Tata Safari.
If one of these models was sold and registered to you as a new vehicle between January and December last year, congratulations. You landed yourself one of the most exclusive cars of 2008. says ... Perhaps the FOUR were compulsory buys by the Malaysian High Commission along Belgrave Square!

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