On July 14th 2016, the whole of Malaysia woke up to see their Facebook news feed flooded with a story that shook the nation’s foundation, the launch of an all new sedan by Perodua. And it was not what many expected. You see, everyone, including yours truly expected Perodua’s very first sedan to be based off a Myvi but as it turns out, everyone was wrong. Just like the announcement that Pokemon GO will be launched within a few weeks (or tomorrow), we were lied by the corporate big-wigs. However, unlike Niantic, Perodua kept their promise, and actually revealed their car. Bookings have already started for the car. I have never driven one yet but the guys at paultan.org have! Check out their review here. I am actually impressed with Perodua’s package for their first ever sedan. From the price to the equipment, this is truly the car that will change the foundations of the Malaysian car industry. In other words, this little sedan would begin the death knell of Malaysia’s “pride and joy” or “spirit of achievement”, Proton.
Before further ado, let me explain the 5 reasons the Bezza will be killing off Proton. Unless the latter did something incredible for their next-gen Saga because let’s be realistic here. Proton would try to survive with the help of the “you know who” despite being privately owned. These 5 reasons here reflect how much Proton have actually gone out of touch with the people and also why Perodua and other car companies are rising up. Since this isn’t a Top 5 chart, all of these reasons are in no particular order whatsoever.
1. All new fuel efficient engines
First, let’s start with the boring technical part (unless you’re a car geek). The Bezza will come with a choice of two engines, a 1.0 VVT-i engine that produces 67 hp and will be on the base model range and a 1.3 DVVT-i engine that makes 94 hp. The fact is these engines are all new. The 1.3 liter engine is based off the Indonesian-spec Toyota Avanza and the 1.0 liter is different from the Axia the Bezza is based on. With rising (or fluctuating) prices of petrol these days, it is obvious that whichever engine you choose, your wallet would feel happy.
2. The styling
If it wasn’t for the Perodua badge, you may have mistaken the rear for a Toyota Vios and really, there is nothing wrong with a little imitation. Although too much of copying and pasting can result in just blatant laziness. The wheels do not look disproportionate. Maybe not from the above angle but it actually doesn’t look awkward. Not bad for Perodua considering that this is their first ever sedan. It may not look as wild as the 2010 concept but it looks reasonable. Speaking of disproportionate, here‘s Proton’s supposed replacement for its long overdue Persona, which will be based on the Iriz. This makes the new Persona to be smaller than the old Persona, which is confusing.
3. The starter button
One of the similarities between Perodua and Proton is they have a somewhat mediocre quality for a car of that price. Of course, they were given tax incentives for being built locally but many foreign carmakers have found out that loophole and built theirs in Malaysia too (ie. Honda, Subaru, Mercedes-Benz). As a result, what you normally see in their models are just meh plastic and the feeling of cheapness. But screw that when you can get a keyless ignition system AKA a starter button. Once only seen in more expensive cars, you can get the experience of awesome technology from only RM42,800. And that price is for the manual 1.3 Premium X model. THANK YOU PERODUA for actually caring for those who wanted a manual transmission AND a starter button. Proton offered their Iriz with those combinations too for their 1.6 Premium model but at nearly RM60,000 and with a smaller boot, this is a better alternative. Oh, and the nearly 10 year old Saga doesn’t even come with this feature. Which brings us to…
4. The Price
Those are the prices for both the Bezza and the Saga respectively. The difference? The Saga is a ten year old technology that is disguised under a “new” car. We are still waiting for an all new Saga that perhaps will be out by the end of this year or early next year. Also, Proton has been slipping in sales. That all new Perdana (which I still hate) would not help sales since it is overpriced and is for a niche market. In terms of equipment, the Bezza stands out ahead of the Saga with more modern creature comforts than the pretty spartan Saga. Like most car manufacturers out there, Proton is selling these off a cheaper price to make way for a new model that will be launching soon. Besides, you would only buy a Saga because it has a boot compared to the Myvi or the Axia and it is within your bidget. Now, with the Bezza, the Saga will be left out.
5. It will be a sale success
Ever since the Myvi was launched, every car Perodua has produced (except the Nautica, which was a special case) has been a huge success for the company. And honestly, Peroduas are better equipped and better in quality than Protons. Unlike Proton, Perodua gives a refresh of its models every five to six years, just like most car manufacturers, not simple facelifts but upgrades to the car. Unlike Proton (Or Tata, Mahindra, Chinese Citroen) which changes its models every ten years on average and have you seen the lineup? It is so confusing for the general market and even if they reduced the models offered, has Proton actually learnt anything in the past 30 years? Yes, they are a bit quirky in some of the models they offer (Arena/Jumbuck or Juara, who would buy the latter?), but it is time for Proton to actually learn something from its younger sibling. Perodua is currently the best selling car brand whereas Proton has slipped to fourth. Times have truly change. The purveyors of cheap cars have suddenly become more mature in the market.