TANJUNG MALIM - Enter the Proton Iriz, the new compact car from the national automobile maker that is set to make waves in both the local and global markets.
The car was launched by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at Proton City here yesterday and is targeted to sell 160,000 units a year.
"The car has been tested in extreme conditions - on snow-covered roads in Sweden and also on desert terrain," Dr Mahathir said.
"We are aiming for the foreign markets, which have stringent conditions," he said.
"We need to improve the quality of our cars and make sure they can function in all climates," Dr Mahathir said, adding that the new model met all regulations.
"We will study and produce cars that suit particular markets," he said.
"People still think imported cars are more advanced," Dr Mahathir said when explaining that the new Proton model too came with added electronic features like the reverse camera, GPS and stringent safety measures.
"It is up-to-date. I hope Malaysians will return to buying our cars," he added, saying Proton used to sell 16,000 units monthly.
Dr Mahathir, who is Proton chairman, said there were already orders for 17,000 units of the Iriz even before the launch. "I expect - and I'm sure - there will be more."
They are available from between RM42,438 and RM62,888.
Present at the launch were Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and International Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Datuk Hamim Samuri.
In a related development, the new Proton compact car has received five-star rating in Adult Occupant Protection and four-star rating in Child Occupant Protection by the New Car Assessment Programme for South-East Asian Countries (ASEAN NCAP).
In a statement, ASEAN NCAP chairman Prof Dr Wong Shaw Voon said the new Proton car was the second, (after Perodua Axia), to obtain its safety rating before its market debut.
"I congratulate Proton for this achievement and, hopefully, this will set a trend among all manufacturers to produce a global platform of five-star cars in the region."