KUALA LUMPUR, April 15 — With the economic crisis in full bloom, Proton’s seven-seater multi-purpose vehicle (MPV), the Exora, was launched today with hopes that it will cushion an expected double-digit contraction in the local automotive market.
With medium and higher-specification models priced at RM69,998 and RM75,998 respectively, the company hopes that its debut into the MPV segment will give it an instant boost in 2009, with 2,500 bookings already made so far.
Expecting to manufacture up to 3,500 units per month, managing director Datuk Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir called the Exora the “right car at the right time and at the right price.”
The 1.6-litre MPV, is manufactured with 90 per cent local parts, and Syed Zainal claimed that this indicated Proton’s success in “not only producing cars but also developing a pool of capable and experienced engineers and skilled workers in the Malaysian automotive industry.”
However, as expectations of local consumers soar along with softening sales, Proton will hope to make up the shortfall by marketing the Exora aggressively overseas.
“Malaysians want European technology, Japanese design but Malaysian prices,” Syed Zainal quipped.
“Proton cannot remain a local player only. Market liberalisation means that other brands are here.
Beginning with the Persona, Proton has produced models which can be marketed in Asean and Asia,” chairman Datuk Mohd Nadzmi Mohd Salleh added, referring to its mid-sized sedan launched in 2007.
The Exora, available in six colours, is Proton's first offering which comes with a DVD player and satellite navigation.
These features are available in the high-line model while another first, integrated Bluetooth technology to operate mobile devices such as cellphones remotely, is available in both specs.
Safety features such as dual airbags and anti-lock braking system, which were before only available in high-line variants of Proton’s previous offerings, come as standard in the Exora.