PROTON unveils new logo, new service assist, new aftersales initiatives and the It's in the Drive campaign + Opinion

CEO Dato' Abdul Harith Abdullah explaining to the media the new plan for PROTON


In order to bring back confidence in the Proton Cars brand, Proton Holdings Berhad held a press conference unveiling a new look (and logo), its transformation plan and its promise to provide a much better experience to its customers. 

Note the new logo behind Tun Dr Mahathir (Chairman of PROTON) and Dato' Abdul Harith

"Proton sucks!" said CEO Dato' Abdul Harith Abdullah. But he also said that Proton aims to improve on everything from sales to aftersales of the brand. "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.

This also is the official launch of the new 'It's in the Drive' campaign that Proton just launched. This includes the drive experience, the design aspect, the safety aspect, the performance aspect and the quality aspect. 

PROTON wants us to know that their cars aren't PROTON of old. In fact, sales of PROTON cars usually go up when they conduct test drive sessions at their carnivals. The cars are also safe with a few of them getting 5 stars in the ASEAN NCAP ratings. Of course, it is the aftersales that need looking after and this is certainly not been left out. 

There are now over 3 million Proton cars owners in Malaysia and 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.

Aside from the above, PROTON is now a more open and transparent company. Today they had also mentioned that they will inform its customers on any service requirements or recalls. Prior to this, all faulty parts recall was usually done quietly during servicing but it is the new policy that such recalls for rectification of parts will be done openly. The first was the announcement of the rectification under warranty of the oil cooler hoses in the CFE or turbocharged variants of the Proton Exora, Preve and Suprima S. The hoses have a lifespan of about 40,000km and would eventually crack. There are over 95,000 units of the turbocharged Protons around and all would be required to come in for a replacement hose under warranty. There will be a permanent fix for this issue in the near future when PROTON finalises a metal replacement hose for the models stated. But personally, 40,000km for a high pressure heat resistant rubber hose is pretty good considering the car makes a bit mroe power than the normal car. I have actually run a Subaru Impreza that needed new radiator hoses every few years. It's a safety thing for me. And I do respect PROTON for being honest about things now.

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.


My opinion on the matter:
On a personal note, I do feel that the chaps at PROTON are sincere in the turnaround (this time around). But it will take time. Do you know that the power window issue from the days of the Proton Wira and to an extent, the Proton Waja have been talked about by many? I personally have not heard many a Proton Persona, Satria Neo, new Saga customer/owner really complain about this problem. My friend who complains that PROTON cars suffer from power window failure because he used to own one in the late 1990s. And then I asked him about whether his mum's Persona whether that has ever happened or whether he had heard of any new power window failures in his friends PROTON cars he then realised that this issue almost never happens in a newer PROTON. Actually it still does happen, but not in almost every other car like last time. But it is so ingrained into almost everyone in Malaysia that this perception is going to be hard to change. I was even mentioned about this  by some of the guys from PROTON earlier today. It is an uphill task.

So yes, they do suffer from other issues with their cars which they are trying to overcome through R&D, better production values and the rectification/recall mentioned above. Aside from the customer confidence issues I also feel that PROTON is facing a powertrain and drive train issue - their CAMPro engine is unable to go Euro 5 or 6, unrefined, a bit of a guzzler and lacks the torque to mate with the current CVT automatic properly. The engineers at PROTON acknowledge this and as you know, a new GDi (gasoline direct injection) powertrain is in development and we should see it in 2017 at the earliest. When this new engine comes into play, PROTON will then have a car which I would be looking forward to trying out then. I would imagine something with the chassis performance of the Suprima S become a very nice car to drive with the correct engine. 

So it is an uphill task that I hope will succeed. I wouldn't want the only company with ACTUAL research and development facility to come up with a complete vehicle to bite the dust. The company can actually build cars from scratch if they want. And this is in fact proof that Malaysians can build something - unlike countries that just pump oil from the ground and their people spend natural wealth buying technology from other countries, PROTON proves that Malaysia aren't just consumers per se. So I do hope that people give PROTON a chance to succeed. Of course, I also don't want to see lemons on the road. Yes, its a two way street which I am fully aware of. Let's hope the folks at PROTON take the plan put forward by their Chairman and CEO to task and make it happen.

Aside from the above, you can also read the press release below on the actual new services offered. Proton also let members of the media view the new and soon to be launched Proton Perdana 2.4liter. No cameras were allowed, but it looks quite good actually. I shall cover it in the next article which is here.



PRESS RELEASE
PROTON UNVEILS NEW LOOK AND OFFERS NEW EXPERIENCE


SUBANG JAYA, 16 February 2016 – PROTON Holdings Berhad ("PROTON" or "the Company") today shared a new promise to its customers, coming into its new era after 30 years of learning, acquisition of technologies and contributing back to the nation's growth.



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 carsProton 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 impactAll 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.


No comments:

Post a Comment