Undoubtedly the biggest news story last week was the launch of the facelifted Proton Saga, which made the headlines by ditching its CVT in favour of a conventional automatic gearbox. Given that the budget sedan remains the national carmaker’s bread and butter – despite the blockbuster success of the X70 SUV – we were pretty curious to see how well potential buyers have responded to the car.

Proton’s director of marketing Cheng Seng Fook declined to reveal the exact number of bookings during the ongoing media test drive, but when asked, he said that the company averaged more than 500 orders a day. Extrapolate that figure and you’ll arrive at over 4,000 bookings since the car was launched last Tuesday.

Cheng conceded that the figure is higher than the company’s production volume for the Saga, but he said a waiting list will not be an issue. “Not all the orders can be converted [into sales], especially for an entry-level car. The rule of thumb [within the industry] is that first-time buyers will generally find it difficult to get a loan,” he said, adding that the demand will level out as production ramps up.

We’re currently driving the facelifted 2019 Proton Saga, and we’ll have a full written review up on this site very soon, so stay tuned.