There have been reports indicating that Proton Savvy, one of Malaysia’s most unloved car, will be discontinued after 7 years of production. It was Proton’s supermini answer to counter the Perodua Myvi in 2005, and was offered a car with engine and drivetrain from Renault and a rather controversial design, courtesy from LG engineering from Korea. The car, labeled as Tiara Replacement Model (TRM), was developed under Proton previous management by Tengku Mahaleel, who readers should know he is the father of Malaysia’s drift king, Tengku Djan.
Malaysia’s most unloved car
The word Tiara is a cursed one for Proton, as back then in the 90’s, Proton Tiara was the first Proton car to flop in Malaysia. The Proton Savvy shares similar characteristics with the Tiara, in which both are using France sourced engines and gearboxes, and it is also a small hatchback in a sedan centric market like Malaysia. When launched in 2005, Malaysians flocked to buy the Perodua Myvi, which is a Japanese supermini with good quality and good reliability. Something Proton was lacked of back then, which leads to many Malaysians’ frustrations.
No doubt, the Proton Savvy was a failure in terms of sales figures compared to the Perodua Myvi. Still, the Proton Savvy was appealing to some small crowd of Malaysians who love driving. In fact, the Savvy has better handling and more fun to drive than the Myvi, but unfortunately that’s not what the majority buyers think off when buying a RM50K car.
My First Lotus by Proton UK
Although unloved in Malaysia, it is pretty well received in Thailand and was sold in UK, named as “My First Lotus” by Proton UK. Top Gear UK did mentioned about this in the news segment on one of the episodes and Richard Hammond did joked it could be “My Last Lotus”. The Proton Savvy was featured on Fifth Gear, but was soundly beaten by many European’s cheaper supermini.
Came 2011, and while Perodua Myvi is riding in the waves of success with the second generation Myvi, a news report from Oriental Daily Chinese paper revealed that Proton might stop selling the Proton Savvy, with shocking revelation from current Proton MD, Syed Zainal (who was Perodua’s MD during the Myvi days) quoted that it takes 98 seconds to make a Savvy and they do not have time to inspect one by one. This is rather ridiculous considering Proton claimed in 2005, it got TUV certification to prove the Savvy has high quality control to convince Malaysians the moment they drive home a Savvy, it is well inspected. Indirectly, he proves a point that Proton may declare the Savvy was indeed a failure.
The report from a local chinese paper
Personally, I think the Proton Savvy is much stable and is quite an handler for a supermini class size car when I first tested it in 2005. However the interior quality was not to my liking due to poor quality hard plastics used especially the steering. I’m not a fan of automated manual transmission hence this car is less appealing to me. There are claims the Proton Savvy has better fuel consumption than the Myvi, especially on the manual model. Sadly, the Tiara curse seems to not get away from Malaysians which explains the timely retirement of the Proton Savvy.
What I don’t like is its interior
The only thing the Proton Savvy contributed to Proton is the current Proton Saga, as it uses the same platform from the Savvy and turned the new Saga into Proton’s best selling car. Regardless, the Tiara curse has impacted the Savvy. Where the Myvi is in it’s second generation, the Savvy is canceled after it’s first cycle. My thoughts for the small group of bold current owners of Proton Savvy. I respected their perseverance, proving to their friends and internet forums that the Savvy is much better than the Myvi, but it looks like they need to extend their perseverance on their cars in years to come. Especially when it comes on sourcing spare parts which is made in France.
[SOURCE: Oriental Daily Malaysia]