The sharpest knife is wielded by Proton, whose Preve sedan is now the cheapest small car in the country. Proton marketing general manager Billy Falconer says the cut -- which amounts to a 15 per cent shave off the original price -- is a reaction to the aggressive discounting of rivals.
The flip is the annual/15,000km servicing cost is now capped for the first five years or 75,000km, rather than the free servicing as previously. "In order to compete with all these offers, we have reduced the price for the Preve range, with the manual starting at just $15,990 driveaway and the CVT auto Preve from $17,990 driveaway for a limited time only," Falconer says.
The Preve is the first Proton to earn a five-star ANCAP safety rating and comes with a five-year warranty. The Malaysian brand is relying on the improved safety and features -- all Preve models have 16-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, and controls for the sound system and phone mounted on the steering wheel -- to help boost sales.
The company sold just 856 vehicles last year and is behind that number year-to-date with 353 sales to July. A new hatch and people-mover -- both built according to Proton's improved safety standards -- are imminent.
Ford's Focus Ambiente is -- for now -- just $18,990 on the road, including free servicing for the first three annual/15,000km check-ups. Mazda's $19,990 deal on the Neo includes a four-year warranty and three years' roadside assistance. A Mitsubishi Lancer ES with a front and rear spoilers, side skirts and alloy wheels is available for $19,990 driveaway until the end the month.
Model November 2012 Now
Citroen C4 $22,990 $20,990
Ford Focus $20,290 $18,990*
Holden Cruze $21,490 $19,490
Mazda3 $20,330 $19,990*
Proton Preve $18,990* $15,990*
Mitsubishi Lancer $19,990 $19,990*
*denotes driveaway pricing