It was mentioned last weekend that Proton has plans to properly re-enter the UK market with three new models beginning December, according to reports based on a briefing the automaker held for analysts recently.
No mention was made of the models it will be introducing for the relaunch, but a peek at the Proton UK website offers the identity of two of the three vehicles – a graphic of the Preve sedan and Exora MPV lists both as “New products coming soon,” so we can surmise that the Exora Bold and Preve 1.6 CFE are the picked cards. The third new model should be the Suprima S.
If the timeframe for the relaunch is correct, then the Suprima S is set to debut in that market in its seven-speed Protronic CVT guise. We already have indication that the five-door hatch will be heading to the UK in six-speed manual form, but this won’t happen until sometime in 2014.
Australia, where the Suprima S was launched earlier this month, is also set to get the stick shifter version next year. The CVT-equipped hatch, which has also been introduced in Indonesia and Brunei, is due to make its Thai debut at the Thai Motor Expo this week. South Africa has also been mentioned as a targeted export market for the car, but no date of entry has yet been stated.
The analyst reports added that September sales in the UK for the marque was a dismal three units because of a lack of models, and so the move to reinvigorate the brand in that market cannot come soon enough. Its current UK range is made up of the GEN.2, Savvy, Satria Neo and Persona.
As it goes along, the Global Small Car (GSC) is likely to make its way to the UK too, but that’s well down the road – the car, which has just been spied undergoing evaluation at an automotive supplier’s facility in Europe, is due to be launched in first half of 2014. The word on the grapevine suggests that it could make its debut sometime in late Q1 or early Q2.
The question is, is Proton set to hold the UK relaunch in December as intimated by the analysts’ reports, or sometime in early 2014 as initially believed, in order for the manual versions of the Suprima S and Preve to join the fold? We’ll know soon enough.