Monday, September 29, 2014

Is Proton Iriz Worth it?

A game-changer(?) but the Proton showrooms are empty

The day the Iriz was launched I was jogging past our local Proton showroom and was surprised to see that it was empty except for a green Iriz and about 6 salesmen milling around beside the car. Dismissing it as merely coincidental (it was dinner time, and yes, it was a weekday) I did not give much thought about it.

However, after reading so much about this model being a game-changer and reading it all over the papers and on the radio I could not help wondering whether it really was a coincident that the showroom was empty. And so when I jogged past the showroom again two days later (a Saturday, and yes, dinner time again), again the showroom was empty except for a 4-year old peering inside the car and no sign of the 6 salesmen.

I could not help thinking about the crowd I saw in front of the Perodua showroom when they launched the Myvi (the first and the "lagi best" model). It made me start to think what is keeping the crowds away from Proton.

Is it the price? At RM42k for the lowest series model it is not cheap for a "compact" car. The Japanese can buy a sporty sedan from RM30k plus in their own country. So does the Aussies. Why is it that with all the subsidies for Proton we still have to pay so much for our own LOCAL car?

Some may argue the price reflects the tons of features offered in the Iriz. But do we really buy a car for its features? I believe car buyers go more for the look rather than the features and in this regard I don't think Proton has a winner here, it may be a game-changer to them but it is not much of a looker (ditto the Suprima). Proton has much to learn (maybe it should look at the Koreans now).

A very black and plastic look inside

Some may also argue that certain sections of the community are "unpatriotic" and do not support their local cars. I can't see why I should support something that has impoverished millions of car buyers in Malaysia by increasing the taxes for foreign cars to "force" us to buy a Proton. We are not much different from a communist country in this respect.

Another interesting fact to note was Proton's "use" of Dr M to sell the car. Is that a joke? Do you really want to remind the buyers that by buying the Iriz you will also be forking out a portion of your salary each month to pay Dr M's salary?? Jesus!

Actually, my second car years ago was a brand new Proton and it had a problem even before it left the showroom. One of the tail lights refused to turn on even after an hour of investigation by the salesmen. I was then asked to bring my car to the service center the next day. When I brought it to the center a few days later, I remembered the "technician" spent a few hours looking for the problem and eventually found the culprit which was a small piece of metal lodged between some terminals.

That incident did not really put me off Proton as I loved the car (then) but what I disliked was the hours of waiting every time you need to bring the car for service. Now if Proton can change THAT, THAT could be the game-changer!

Paul Tan: A game-changer which attracts no one 

Read the review and pictures credit to 

Borneo Post: Weak sales figures from Proton despite Iriz's launch