The P2-13A generation Proton Saga is Proton’s most important rice bowl. The A-segment sedan is not only the company’s most affordable car, it also contributes over 40 percent of Proton’s total sales.
Together with the Persona, Iriz and Exora, the Saga is part of ‘PIES’ models quartet, which collectively contribute 68 percent of Proton’s total sales.
Launched in 2016, the P2-31A generation Proton Saga is quite old when judged by the industry’s typical 5 to 7 years model lifecycle.
Typically, a car model’s sales will trend downwards as it ages. That’s only natural as newer and better models enter the market, and consumers will naturally gravitate towards the newer models. Except that this doesn’t apply to the Proton Saga.
In 2019, Proton sold 17,984 units of the Proton Saga between January to July. For year 2023, Proton sold 39,251 units in the same 7-month period, more than doubling its 7-month figures in 2019.
Total new car sales (TIV) in Malaysia grew from 604,287 units in the pre-pandemic 2019 to 720,658 units in 2022, an increase of 19 percent, meaning the Proton Saga growth is significantly outpacing the industry’s average.
Even during the pandemic-hit period between 2020 to 2021, Proton still sold 21,458 units and 21,174 units respectively, between January to July.
Note that Proton’s numbers include exports, but export figures for Proton is very small, limited only to markets like Brunei, Pakistan, Nepal, Kenya, and Bangladesh.
Apart from the Proton Saga, the overall A-segment sedan’s volume has also grown.
Perodua doesn’t share its monthly sales figures, but we know that in the first 6 months of 2023, the company registered 40,555 units of the Perodua Bezza, compared to 33,325 units for the Proton Saga (but Proton’s figures include a small number of exports).
In 2019, Perodua sold an estimated 40,000 plus units of the Bezza in the first half of 2019, almost similar to the company's H1 2023 figures - meaning that Bezza's sales is quite stable while the Saga's has more than doubled.
Of course, we also need to factor the Bezza's long waiting period (at one point, it was up to 10 months) as a possible reason for the Saga's increase in sales. Waiting period for Bezza has since been reduced to around 3 to 4 months.
Also read: Perodua Bezza dethrones Myvi as best selling car in Malaysia; brand sold 145k cars in H1 2023
The Bezza is now Perodua’s No.1 selling model, overtaking the Perodua Myvi, which sold 8,236 units less in the same 6-month period.
The 2023 Proton Saga 1.3L currently sells for between RM 34,800 to RM 44,800. Since May 2023, all automatic transmission variants of the Proton Saga are fitted with a gearbox made by Toyota’s affiliate company Aisin.
Also read: 2023 Proton Saga swaps Hyundai's 4AT for Toyota's Aisin unit
For its price, ride comfort, handling, and infotainment's audio quality are surprisingly good, and the Saga is one of the best value for money cars on sale today.
As a comparison, the Perodua Bezza 1.3L starts from RM 43,980 to RM 49,980, but the latter adds Perodua’s suite of ASA 2.0 driving assistance safety features. There’s also the cheaper 1.0-litre Bezza variants, those start from RM 34,580 to RM 36,580.