The Company is aware of the dwindling sales figures and smaller market share while it strives to do its best to improve market perception of the brand. In view of the situation, PROTON takes a bold step to retransform/rebrand as a step to break itself away from unfavourable market perception. The exercise will also see a fresher look given to its existing corporate logo and whole new experience to Proton customers.
"This year marks our 31st year in business, which means we are into our new decade. For the past 30 years, it is impossible that we had not learnt anything and today, PROTON takes this necessary step, to stride up to the plate if it wants to remain relevant to Malaysians," said Dato' Abdul Harith Abdullah, Chief Executive of PROTON.
"We are aware of the severity of where PROTON stands today and although we have improved ourselves in many small ways, we know very well that we cannot be complacent. And this initiative doesn't just involve a simple change of the logo. This time, I am making a promise that our focus is on our customers," Dato' Harith added.
"We have not been meeting customers' expectations in the way we deal with our customers and the Management of PROTON is working hard to go to the grounds to monitor what our employees are doing. Implementation is one thing, but without a good monitoring process, it may seem inconsistency in many of our outlets. We already have about 3.6 million Proton cars on the road and we must take care of these customers who have chosen to purchase our cars," Dato' Harith added further.
In meeting the demand of the over 3 million Proton cars owners, PROTON aims to beef up the poor quality of its after sales services, its notable key complaint from customers. By looking into this area, PROTON also aims to provide better experience to Proton owners by coming up with activities and engagement sessions with existing and potential customers. The Company's relationship with customers takes priority.
"Amongst the initiatives to improve our service include 7-day a week service at 50 of Proton’s service outlets nationwide to provide convenience to the customers who are unable to send their cars on a week day, Pick-up and Delivery services in busy areas of the Klang Valley which involve four (4) of its branches - Mutiara Damansara, Setapak, Bukit Maluri and Section 13, Petaling Jaya. This is done to encourage customers within the 5km radius of the service outlets to have their cars picked up and serviced by these outlets which are located in high traffic areas. This initiative has increased service throughput of these outlets and the Company is looking at three (3) more Klang Valley branches to implement this service soon.
Increasing number of courtesy cars, My Taxi Service programme, a dedicated Taxi day to assist taxi drivers to service their cars more efficiently with special package offered, 24-hour Proton Mobile Breakdwon Assist, 80-minute quick service bays and many others,” said Dato’Harith.
“In terms of engagements with customers, we have recently launched the 'It's In The Drive' campaign to encourage people to come and test drive our cars so that they can experience for themselves that PROTON has come a long way since its first car - from the smooth handling to the interior finishing and to the technology aspect of the cars that are installed with the latest safety features. We have also open up free safety inspection mobile services nearer to where customers are, to encourage them to check their cars before the long festive holidays recently," said Dato' Harith.
It's In The Drive campaign was launched on 23 January 2016 to allow people to feel and experience Proton cars especially those which have been acknowledged as the most affordable 5-Star ASEAN NCAP cars in Malaysia - Proton Iriz, Preve and Suprima S. While they test drive the cars, they can also stand a chance to win weekly prizes or the Suprima S as the grand prize.
It is also to showcase It's In The Design - the design quality that has been incorporated into Proton cars. The Proton Iriz had won the Best Industrial Design 2015 by the Intellectual Property Corporation and the Malaysia Good Design Mark Award 2014 by the Malaysia Design Council. The form, function and element of Proton cars have incorporated market demands and feedback from customers whilst it keeps itself up-to-date with engineering requirements.
It's In The Performance allows customers to feel the handling of the car, the engineering involves in the production of the car and convenient features like the electric power steering in the Proton Iriz which makes the car so easy to maneuver while ensuring the safety aspect of the driving experience as the steering feels heavy when the car is driven in an increased speed. Going downhill, the gear control becomes heavy so that the car is better controlled.
It's In The Safety encourages customers to appreciate safety features in Proton cars. Proton IRIZ is PROTON's most affordable and most well-equipped safety features product to date - with 6 airbags, electronic stability control (ESC), anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), traction control, brake assist, hill hold assist to prevent the car from rolling backwards or onwards when stopping at uphill or downhill terrain, and a seat belt reminder (SBR) system. Impact Sensing Door Unlock which allows the doors of the car to unlock automatically to allow a quick exit or for the occupants to be rescued easily also exists in the latest cars. Not forgetting, the star of the car structure that would provide durability and toughness in the event of a collision - the Hot Press Forming (HPF) structure which PROTON is proud to own. As the only 6th country in the world to adopt this German technology and the only ASEAN country to invest in its production, the HPF structure helps make the body weight of the car at its optimum stability while keeping the occupants' cabin durable during impact. All these features are usually available in the higher-end cars of the premium or international brands that are priced more than RM100,000. This way, PROTON has made technology affordable to the market.
It's In The Quality, touching on all aspects of the business operations and products. In this area, PROTON enhances its domestic network with the rationalisation of dealers, discontinuing the services of non-performers and help strengthen and upgrade network that shows consistent progress. Enhancement in services also involves monitoring and quality checks on parts supplied by vendors as well as the service centres and the storekists. 30% of vendors are highly dependent on the success of PROTON, therefore, continuous improvement programmes are being carried out on how issues can be solved together. In this manner, PROTON is also transparent to announce any parts or service improvements of cars as what was done previously with the Exora Bold CFE radiator connector issue in 2014 and Inspira Drive Belt Pulley last year. PROTON does not conceal information that affects the safety of the cars and we have been taking in all customers’ complaints to study and verify issues that may arise from the long usage of cars.
"These are some of the initiatives and value added services which we have put in place to bring our customers closer to us and to improve the way we do things, as a preparation for the launch of the new Perdana. We cannot just sit and wait for people to support and buy our cars. As issues also surround many other global cars in the market, we learnt that we cannot just be complacent. Educating the public on how far we have gone and the good work we have done to our cars should at least be given due credit. With the promise of a fresher experience, we would like to get closer to customers and win back the hearts and minds of fellow Malaysians," ended Dato' Harith.
At the unveil of the new logo, PROTON also flagged off its 24-hour Proton Mobile Breakdown Assist Team as added initiative to provide customers even more after sales value. The team in the road assistance and troubleshooting vehicles will provide a 24 hours/7 days a week support across the nation. As an initial, there will be 24 Proton Mobile Breakdown Assist teams and by end of May an additional of 64 Proton Mobile Breakdown Assist teams will be set up. All these are put in place for the convenience of Proton customers. Those needing assistance or more information can call the toll-free line, 1800-888-398.