Malaysian automaker, PROTON Holdings Berhad today launched the Persona CNG in Thailand, its fourth Proton model in the country, and its first commercial vehicle fitted with compressed natural gas.
The brand new Persona CNG was unveiled before guests comprising PROTON Thailand dealers and members of the media. Also present was the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Malaysian Embassy in Thailand, Tuan Syed Mohamad Bakri Syed Abdul Rahman as well as Phra Nakorn Automobile Group president and owner Mr. Bantherng Jungsanguanpornsuk. Phra Nakorn is PROTON’s sole distributor in Thailand.
Speaking at the launching ceremony, PROTON’s Managing Director Dato’ Haji Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir said: “PROTON is encouraged by Thailand’s auto market growth and potential. We made our debut here last year and the reception was better than expected and we hope that this is a sign of better things to come. Phra Nakorn has proven itself to be an invaluable partner for us and we believe this relationship will grow from strength to strength.”
“We believe the Persona CNG is the answer for many of our Thai consumers who demand a car which has better fuel efficiency and at the same time offers value for money, especially given the escalating global fuel prices,” said Dato’ Syed Zainal .
The Persona, which won the Best Model of the Year for Malaysia at the 2008 Frost and Sullivan ASEAN Automotive Awards, was first introduced in Malaysia in August 2007. It is one of PROTON’s key sales drivers with over 55,546 bookings being made in Malaysia.
Dato’ Syed Zainal added that: “The Persona is our “pride and joy” and the car signifies PROTON’s commitment to offer the right car for the right time and at the right price. We embark to fit the Persona with the standard manufacturing-fitted CNG to show our seriousness in fulfilling customers’ needs here in Thailand.”
The Persona CNG will be available in three variants – 1.6 medium-line automatic and manual; and 1.6 high-line automatic and it will be offered in eight different colours. With a price ranging from Baht 549,000 onwards, it is one of the most competitively-priced model in the 1,600 cc category.
The Persona CNG is also E20 compliant which means customers will get the 5% excise tax rebate, thus providing flexibility and values to our customers while safeguarding them against the rising fuel costs.
Going by the feedback we have received from our partners here, we believe that the Persona CNG is going to be well-received by the Thais. Persona is known for its advanced styling, generous interior, and luggage space. So, when these features are combined with the practicality of the CNG system they represent a value-for-money proposition for the Thais,” said Dato’ Syed Zainal Abidin
The Persona CNG is also powered with the Campro IAFM engine, which not only gives the model the promise of a smooth drive and ride comfort but also fuel economy when compared against other models in its class.
“We are optimistic about its performance and have set a monthly sales target of about 500 units We have received tremendous support and encouragement from our customers here since entering the market and are confident that they will continue their support just as we will continue with our commitment with them,” said Syed Zainal Abidin.
“We are committed to grow our presence here and will implement activities and programs to bring us closer together with the Thai market. We hope to be able to offer even more diversity in our products and subsequently continue to meet the expectations of the people here,” added Dato’ Syed Zainal.
Previously PROTON successfully launched three models in Thailand, the Gen.2 Facelift, Savvy and Satria Neo. Persona CNG is the fourth model to be introduced in the country.
PROTON currently has a network of 31 distributors in Thailand, of which 12 are located in Central Bangkok. Three variants of the Persona CNG on offer are priced at 549,000 Baht for 1.6L medium line manual transmission, 584,000 Baht for medium line, automatic transmission and 629,000 Baht high line automatic transmission.