The day when you can buy a new car without having to set foot in a showroom is not here yet but it is getting closer. Right now, due to certain processes in Malaysia requiring personal interaction, customers still have to deal with a sales representative but Proton aims to make the initial stages of the process easier by accepting bookings online.

It will start with the new X70 SUV model from October 17 where a section on its brand website will allow customers to place a booking and pay the fee of RM1,000 using online fund transfer services which all banks have.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for Malaysians to book a Proton X70 so we think this is a step in that direction. To promote our new channel, we will run a promotion for three days from the date the function goes live, where those who place a booking for the Proton X70 will also receive special gifts,” said Abdul Rashid Musa, CEO of Proton Edar.

At the website, they will be able to choose from four variants – with the main feature differences shown – as well as specify their preferred colour from a choice of up to five exterior finishes. The number of colour choices depends on the variant, as shown below. Interior colour themes are fixed according to variant, with the top one having brown nappa leather.

The online booking will complement the traditional booking system done at dealerships and as mentioned before, not all Proton dealerships are handling the X70 so check first before going to the one you have in mind.

At this time, prices have still not been indicated although, at exclusive preview events, Proton has mentioned an estimated range of between RM140,000 to RM170,000. This may refer to prices of the initial batch which comes in completely built-up (CBU) form from Geely’s factory in China. Perhaps the prices will be lower when the locally-made units start coming out from the Proton factory in Tg. Malim, Perak.

Dr. Li Chunrong, CEO of Proton, said that there will be sufficient stocks to make deliveries within a reasonable period, whether customers want them in 2018 (to be among the first to own the X70) or in 2019. “The booking system which started early in September gives us an indication of demand and together with the online booking system, we will provide the numbers to the factory for production. There will be no problem of supply – we just need to tell them how many we need,” he said.

The launch date has still not been revealed although if we go by Dr. Li’s hint that the pre-launch media activities will be ‘breakfast – lunch – dinner’, then today’s second briefing which was about the connectivity and safety features would be ‘lunch’ and the next one would be dinner and the official launch!

Click here to read more about what is known about the X70.

Visit www.proton.com to locate a Proton dealership in Malaysia.

[Chips Yap]