- Proton has revised its strategies to emerge as a competitive player and the up-to-date features in the new car is testament
Proton has revised its strategies to emerge as a competitive player and the up-to-date features in the new car is testament that Proton has come of age.
KUALA LUMPUR: During the recent media drive, the compact Proton Iriz traversed the roads of Borneo with ease, starting from Miri in Sarawak and cutting through Brunei and ending the journey in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
The car was nimble and stable at sharp bends, absorbed the road imperfections well and cruised with ease on straight roads.
Proton Iriz has recorded 17,000 bookings since its launch in September 2014 with almost 10,000 units already on the road.
Could this car be Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional Sdn Bhd’s (Proton) best bet in turning around the company’s flagging fortunes? Or is it just another run of the mill vehicle loathed by the average Malaysian?
Iriz has what it takes to succeed
Proton over the years has revised its strategies to emerge as a competitive player in the automotive sector and distance itself from its unenviable past record as a manufacturer of cars that fell short in quality and features.
The point of contention now is quality and up-to-date features and Iriz stands testament that Proton has come of age.
Who would have thought of a Proton car equipped with Variable Valve Timing (VVT) engine, CVT gearbox, electronic stability control (ESC), anti-lock braking system (ABS), traction control and chassis control. And there are numerous safety features as well, including up to six airbags.
These are the key features that makes Iriz stand out from its competitors.
Chief designer Azlan Othman said that Iriz is the result of four years of development since the first unveiling of Iriz at the Geneva Motorshow in 2010.
Iriz is also the first B-segment car for the national car manufacturer whose domain all these while has been the C-segment and to a lesser extent the D-segment (Proton Perdana) and the SUV (Proton Exora).
Array of features
Iriz also competes with Malaysia’s second national car Perodua Myvi but the array of features and fuel efficiency gives the former an edge over its competitor.
Proton’s engineering division general manager Tengku Azizan Tengku Ahmad noted that the Valve Timing (VVT) engine mated with the CVT transmission contributed to enviable fuel consumption figures.
During the Proton media drive the 1.6 litre automatic variant recorded the lowest fuel consumption of 4.9 litre per 100km, while the lowest fuel consumption for the 1.3 litre manual was 5.2 litre per 100km.
New chapter for Proton
While Iriz may have opened a new chapter for Proton, the road ahead remains long for Proton. While technology may not be the issue for the company in competing with other marques, it is the economies of scale that Proton desperately needs in moving ahead.
This means Proton has to look outwards, export its cars overseas where it has to compete with well established players in the automotive industry.
Proton is said to be looking into new technologies like the advanced driving aid system (ADAS) and even developing diesel engines when Euro five diesel is introduced in Malaysia to keep up in the race to stay ahead.
However, at the moment Iriz could well be Proton’s saviour and the benchmark for the company’s future vehicles.