13 June 2013

KUALA LUMPUR, June 13 — National carmaker Proton disputed a claim by Umno-backed broadsheet Utusan Malaysia that prices for their models have been cut this year, in a copy of a memorandum allegedly distributed among outlets and department heads leaked online this week.

The Malaysian Insider reported earlier today that German marque Volkswagen and French marque Peugeot have both refuted Utusan’s claim that they had reduced the prices for 10 of their models by up to 11 per cent from January this year.

“We would like to clarify that the report probably refers to the discount amounts that we provided. Nonetheless, we are unable to confirm the accuracy of the information published,” said a memorandum allegedly sent by Proton’s head of network planning and development Salawati Mohd Yusoff.

“The news was not released with Proton’s prior approval nor did we provide any of the figures mentioned,” added the memorandum dated June 10, which was addressed to all sales outlets across peninsula Malaysia.

The memorandum was also carbon-copied to Proton Edar’s chief executive officer (CEO) Hisham Othman, and heads of the human resource, finance, sales, and quality control (QCS) departments.

Both Salawati and Proton could not be reached by The Malaysian Insider to verify the authenticity of the memorandum.

In the memorandum, Salawati claimed that the discounts already offered by Proton are actually bigger than the ones quoted in Utusan.

According to Utusan, the price of a Preve is now RM70,895 after a three per cent price cut from RM72,990. Proton’s website still cites the price of RM72,990 for a 1.6 Premium variant with metallic paint.

Meanwhile, Utusan used the different prices of a model with metallic and solid paint for the before and after prices for two other models — Saga and Exora.

For example, the report said that Exora had its price cut from RM67,212 to RM66,762. An Exora Bold 1.6 with manual transmission costs RM67,212 with metallic paint, and RM66,762 with solid paint respectively.

Salawati conceded that despite being untrue, the Utusan report was favourable to Proton since it showed that the carmaker is supporting the government initiative to reduce car prices, albeit through discount instead of lower on-the-road prices (OTR).

Utusan also reported that national carmaker Perodua’s models Myvi, Viva and Alza are now priced RM48,424, RM25,174 and RM59,017 respectively after discount.

The prices however were all launch prices for its “S series” revealed early this year, a value-for-money series which replaced some variants of its earlier models.

Utusan had reported this week that Volkswagen, Peugeot, Honda and local marques Proton and Perodua had reduced the prices for 10 of their models by up to 11 per cent from January this year, presenting the list as proof that the Barisan Nasional (BN) government has fulfilled its pledge for lower car prices in its Election 2013 manifesto.

This comes as Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak reiterated his polls pledge to reduce car prices in a tweet late last month, promising that car prices will be reduced in stages until 2017.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed also said that the government had promised to trim car prices between 20 and 30 per cent over five years, as outlined in BN’s election manifesto.


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