Current P2-13A Proton Saga to soldier on for a foreseeable future, no Geely-based model yet
Eric · May 13, 2022 03:21 PM
The current-generation Proton Saga, codenamed P2-13A, is currently in its 6th year of production. By normal industry standards, the P2-13A Saga is due for a replacement soon and a new model should have been in a fairly advanced stage of development by now.
Except that isn’t quite the case.
According to sources familiar with the matter, there is no decision yet with regards to the next-generation Proton Saga and the current-generation model will soldier on for a foreseeable future.
In fact, the current Proton Saga, even with its recent updates, remains as a very old model. The current Saga can trace its roots to the second-generation Saga BLM from 2008, effectively meaning that the current Saga is roughly 14 years old now.
The most comprehensive update for the Proton Saga came in 2016, when the model received a completely revamped interior and exterior. Back then, it also marked a lot of firsts for the Saga, including a reverse camera, rear USB charging ports, Eco Drive Assist indicator, bench-style folding seat, and stability control.
More recently, the affordable A-segment sedan received keyless entry and engine push start button.
To develop a brand-new model from scratch isn’t cheap. Proton spent RM 150 million to develop the third-generation model, and that is with reusing the second-generation Saga’s platform.
It’s hard to justify spending such an amount of money when the market volume potential for the Proton Saga is very limited. Even within the ASEAN region, it’s not exactly easy for the Saga to crack markets here.
Over in Thailand, the Proton Saga won’t stand a chance against highly competitive rivals in the Eco Car Class, dominated by the Honda City, Nissan Almera, and Toyota Yaris Ativ, the latter is essentially our Vios but with a smaller 1.2-litre engine.
With its status as an imported car in Thailand or Indonesia, the Proton Saga will be taxed beyond the range of models that are manufactured domestically there, leaving Proton to export the Saga further away from the ASEAN region.
Plus, the BMA platform will lend itself to the next-generation Proton Persona instead and could debut as soon as next year. Expect spyshots of the Geely Emgrand-based Proton sedan to begin surfacing either later this year or early next year.
Even without a brand-new model in sight, the Proton Saga does not face any immediate threat, only in the form of the Perodua Bezza, as the nature of our automotive policies and excise tax incentives practically locks buyers looking for entry-level sedan at those two.
Considering that the Perodua Bezza made its debut back in 2016, a replacement model isn’t expected to arrive until 2024, slightly after Perodua introduces a new-generation Axia (seeing that the Bezza is based on the Axia).
Development work for the next-generation Perodua Axia, codenamed D74A, is well underway and could debut by 2023.