Proton recently announced its sales performance for Q1 2020 and despite Malaysia going into a nationwide Movement Control Order (MCO) in March, the national carmaker still managed to shift 21,757 units. An improvement of 20.4% compared to the same period in 2019.
All Proton’s core models saw an increase in sales between 17 to 602% - the latter for the Proton Iriz. While the Proton X70 saw a decline of 48% in sales (attributed to the transition to the locally-assembled (CKD) model and MCO), it still reflects a total of 4,145 units sold.
The biggest chunk of Proton’s sales come from the Proton Saga with 8,824 deliveries, an increase of 36% compared to Q1 2019. Priced between RM 32,800 to RM 39,800, the recently facelifted Saga offers superb value for money for not only first-time car buyers but also small families.
Showrooms nationwide were ordered to close under the MCO, and new car sales have come to a halt. While car companies will suffer zero sales during the MCO period, the real challenge will come post-MCO.
When the MCO is lifted eventually, it will take some months before consumers return to regular spending behavior as the economy gradually recovers.
As such, consumers will be more cautious at spending on big-ticket items such as cars and properties. This is where Proton comes in with its competitive car prices and wide product portfolio.
Their cheapest car on sale, the Saga is priced under RM 40,000 which works out to a monthly repayment of between RM 340 - 412* (*10% downpayment, 9-year loan, 2.7% interest). For buyers looking for a family car, the Saga is a great option at a minimal monthly commitment for a brand-new car.
Even on the higher end of the spectrum, the Proton X70, it offers fantastic value for those looking for a C-segment SUV with premium features. Compared to equivalent rivals – Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, Subaru Forester – the X70 is up to 30% cheaper to buy.
Proton is also expected to launch its next SUV, the Proton X50 and it will most definitely undercut the X70 Standard 2WD (RM94,800) in terms of price. When that happens, it will give many competing B-segment SUVs and sedans even, a tough time.
Although the best financial advice is to hold out on new car purchases until the economy gets better, cars are the main modes of transport for many Malaysians. Getting to-and-fro to the workplace, run a business and even using it for e-hailing services.
Used cars are also a viable option but used car loans have a higher financing rate and is more difficult to get approved. Not to mention you may have to deal with shoddy used car dealers, unknown service records as well as wear and tear. All of which are additional costs you have to factor in when buying a used car. On the other hand, ever new Proton car comes with a 5-Years/150,000 km warranty for your peace of mind.
All in all, the global automotive industry is facing unprecedented challenges amidst this Covid-19 global pandemic. But national carmakers like Proton and Perodua with its duties exemptions and wide product portfolio (sedan, hatchbacks and SUVs) can vaguely catch a silver lining in these trying times.