The first production batch of the new multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) by Proton Holdings Bhd is set to roll out of the factory on Sept. 12, said managing director Datuk Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir yesterday evening at an analysts' briefing.
The first units of the MPV would be used for safety testing and road durability for certification purposes ahead of the model's scheduled launch in March next year.
While the exact specifications have yet to be disclosed, it is understood that Proton is aiming to price its latest model around the RM75,000 range, excluding accessories, road tax and insurance.
The chassis for the MPV is a new platform that would be used for variants to be developed over the next few years but the engine will be the 1.6-litre CamPro that is currently fitted into the Gen-2 models. The seven-seater will have 15-inch tyres as a standard fit, with either automatic or manual transmissions.
The public would be invited to submit possible names for the MPV in a contest that Proton intends to launch next month. During testing over the next few months, alert members of the public could probably spot the new MPV being driven on the roads around the country.
On other models, Syed Zainal said the new Saga has become the fastest selling Proton model ever, chalking up over 80,000 bookings since its official launch in January this year.
He admitted that the overwhelming response has caused some delays in deliveries, with only some 40,000 cars registered so far. However, Proton has ramped up its production lines to output 7,500 cars from next month compared to 4,500 units originally produced on a monthly basis.
On the Persona model launched last August, he said that over 55,000 units had been booked so far.
Looking forward, Syed Zainal said that Proton would be looking to develop a CamPro turbo engine and also a diesel engine by next year to provide more alternatives to customers.
With this range of model options, Proton aims to boost its exports such that about 70 per cent of its revenue would come from overseas sales by 2016.