My New Proton. That’s the national carmaker’s new promise for now and the future, as announced today. “Proton has gone through a lot, both success and painful stories. It’s not easy to admit our weaknesses and the mistakes we’ve done, but I really think this is the only way to revive our brand,” said Proton CEO Datuk Harith Abdullah.

The new strategy aims to enhance the whole ownership experience for Proton customers. The company CEO admitted that the brand is not in a good place right now. “I’ve heard people saying that Proton’s service sucks! And I have to agree. Some parts of our service sucks,” he quipped.

More than just a brand new car, customers want a good ownership experience too, he explained. “It’s not just about making high tech cars anymore. Our relationship with our customers is of utmost priority to us. We now need to earn and maintain people’s confidence in us – something we’ve failed to do for some time.

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“It’s now about fulfilling and exceeding expectations, through a customer-centric attitude and programmes in all aspects. Our job doesn’t end when the cars head out of our showrooms. It’s our responsibility to manage the cars; that’s the right way to sell a car. Ownership experience matters most,” Harith explained.

With Proton’s market share in Malaysia falling from about 60% in its early days to around 16% now, Proton has to reform, according to Harith. Over 30 years, Proton has sold more than four million vehicles worldwide, with 3.7 million in Malaysia, of which around three million are still running.

“These people need real attention from us,” Harith said.

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He went on to say that during festive periods, we will see cars stranded on the roadsides. “Many will be Proton vehicles. Some 20-year-old cars, maybe even a one-year-old Proton. That is our responsibility.

“In JD Power’s SSI (Sales Satisfaction Index) rating, we’ve always been rock bottom, despite many efforts. It’s the same with CSI (Customer Satisfaction Index). For years,” That’s a true reflection of why Proton needs to reform, he added. “Many are in love with our brand, but are tired of us not fulfilling our promises.

“But we will change. To remain relevant,” promised Harith.

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He also revealed that Proton has been working with JD Power since 2015 to improve the current situation, described by the brand as an inconsistent ownership experience and an arguably negative brand perception. “If we do not get this done, we will be doomed for the next few years,” he said.

Moving forward, Proton will introduce quite a few additions, including 121 “Premium Outlets,” a new centralised call centre (1800 888 398), pick-up and delivery service in prime areas, 80-minute Quick Service, Proton Mobile Assist, courtesy cars, ‘My Taxi” Service programme, among others. We will detail all these in separate stories.

So folks, what do you think of this? Today, Proton’s CEO has appeared extremely honest and apologetic, fully understanding the company’s various issues. Do share your thoughts below.