Proton’s Gen2, Savvy and Satria Neo, regarded as the first few cars in a generation of Protons that attempt to breakaway from the Mitsubishi rebadging era have been making it’s way around the globe.
The Gen2 and Satria Neo was exhibited at the 6th International Auto Aftermarket Expo (IAAE) 2007 this week. They were invited by he Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro). The two cars were displayed in a section of the exhibition named “Malaysia Auto Industry” (MAI), occupying 17,760 metres of space at the exhibition centre, sponsored by Jetro and Matrade. This move was part of the Malaysia-Japan Automotive Industry Cooperation project, one of the projects under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between Japan and Malaysia signed in July 2006.
Interestingly, Jetro received enquiries from Japanese companies interested to market the Malaysian cars in Japan. The Satria Neo Desire concept was popular with female visitors. One of the writers for The Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun (Japanese Daily Automotive News) Mr. Suguru Ohkubo said, “My first impression is that the cars have good design. They are attractive for Japanese. It’s definitely on my shopping list, particularly the Gen2. Japanese consumers are not only looking at good design but also other factors like delivery and customer satisfaction. These are crucial factors in deciding which car they want to buy. I am personally not much worried about Proton cars. I’m more worried about the future of the company itself.”
In Australia, the Proton Satria Neo will play a safety car role in the growing Australian Motor Racing Series (AMRS). The Satria Neo safety car made it’s debut at the opening round of the AMRS at Wakefield Park in Sydney recently making an impression with its stylish good looks and inspired handling.
In the UK, it’s been getting good reviews, mainly getting praises for providing lots of fun for a good price, a good suspension and decent ride, and comfortable seats. I would agree on the cheap fun factor, the Neo definitely is wonderful around the bends where you don’t really require much engine grunt.