Preve Indonesia-6

Proton Edar Indonesia officially launched the Proton Preve this morning at the Kempinski Hotel Jakarta. The C-segment sedan was unveiled by Malaysian ambassador to Indonesia Datuk Syed Munshe Afdzaruddin, accompanied by DRB-Hicom and Proton boss Tan Sri Mohd Khamil Jamil and Proton deputy CEO Datuk Lukman Ibrahim.

Today’s launch makes Indonesia the fourth export market for the Malaysian carmaker’s latest product, after Australia, Thailand and Brunei. The Preve is available in a single high spec here – 1.6 CFE Premium – and retails for Rp 285 juta, equivalent to RM90,000.

This sticker price puts the Preve between B-segment favourites Vios and City (below Rp 250 mil) and size rivals like the Corolla Altis and Civic, typically priced from Rp 330 mil. In Malaysia, the Preve is priced from RM60k to RM73k.

Preve Indonesia-17

In a pre-launch press conference with Malaysian journalists, Proton’s management explained that the C-segment market is very small in Indonesia, accounting for just around 1% of the total industry volume (MPVs and smaller cars rule in this Toyota-dominated market). Of that pie, Proton is aiming for just 2% share, which should translate to 200-220 units per year.

Some might ask, if it’s so small, why do it? Khamil explained that this is a “strategy to make people know that Proton is there” and to ensure that the company’s presence is felt. He cites Hyundai in Indonesia and Thailand as example – the Korean carmaker may be a bit part player in Toyota-land, but maintains a presence with a range of models.

Proton also sees its recent export moves as laying a branding and after-sales foundation for a potential hit product to land on. A global small car is in the works, and that one will go head-to-head with our region’s most popular cars when it surfaces.

proton bosses

Also in progress as we type is the left-hand drive programme for the Preve range, which is needed to penetrate the Middle East and China markets. The latter is the tougher nut to crack, as Proton will need a suitable local partner.

The Preve isn’t what one would call cheap in Indonesia, but Proton does not want to fight on price alone. That was the case previously, but Khamil explains that “our strategy is to increase the price, but keep it affordable, value for money, and value for the tech we put in the car.”

Speaking of that, Indonesia-bound Preves are equipped with ABS, EBD, ESC, four airbags, ISOFIX, auto headlamps/wipers, cruise control, leather steering with buttons, CVT with paddle shifters, push start and auto air con, features that back up the above statement and set the car apart from the Vios/City class. Of course, it’s also five-star Australian NCAP rated.

Preve Indonesia-22

Also spotted is a Blaupunkt touch screen ICE system with GPS, something we don’t remember seeing in the domestic market Preve. This 2-DIN head unit has a minimalistic design with a single knob and a flap that hides the USB, AUX and SD card slots. It has been customised to display Proton and Preve logos on startup – pics are below.

We paid a recent visit to Proton’s Tanjung Malim plant where the Preve is made, and you can read colleague Jonathan’s inside view here. We also learnt that Proton has made minor tweaks to the Preve since launch, based on customer feedback. Full details here.

As for when the anticipated Preve Hatchback will be launched in Malaysia, “after Raya” is the answer from Proton’s top brass. Coming much sooner (this weekend) is new variant, one that is over 10% cheaper than the current car. We think it’s a Saga, and you can find out why here.