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  Proton Saga FL launched  
- Wednesday, December 15, 2010  By KON  Bookmark and Share
 
 
 
     
Dato' Syed Zainal introducing the Proton Saga FL

Oh, we kid you not. The FL moniker is part of Proton`s official nomenclature. Prices from RM38k to RM43k. ...

[+ click to enlarge]
Dato' Syed Zainal introducing the Proton Saga FL
Dato' Syed Zainal introducing the Proton Saga FL
New colours are Blue Rock and Cafe Latte
New colours are Blue Rock and Cafe Latte
Campro 1.3 continues service, but 1.6 a possibility next year.
Campro 1.3 continues service, but 1.6 a possibility next year.
Cabin receives minor enhancements.
Cabin receives minor enhancements.

The original Lancer Fiore-based Proton Saga had a production run that stretched to more than 20 years, taking into account the various running changes and upgrades put into the base model. Following models such as the Wira, Waja, and Perdana also endured lengthy production runs.

This practice of selling existing models to the death is something that the current MD, Dato' Syed Zainal Abidin is not keen to continue. Under his stewardship, Proton's aging models were pensioned off one-by-one. Latest to get the chop is the Waja, which is replaced by the Inspira. Currently, the oldest model in Proton's line-up is the Gen.2, which was launched in 2004.

It was in 2008 that Proton finally phased out the original Saga, replacing it with an all-new model, popularly known as the Saga BLM. The term BLM stood for 'Base-Line Model', and was meant only as an internal code name. It was never used in any official Proton communication materials, but the designation stuck with the car as enthusiasts found it useful to differentiate the new car from the previous model.

Today, the Proton unveiled a facelifted version of the Saga BLM, the Saga FL. FL is a another commonly used short-form in Internet message boards, which stands for facelift; the difference this time is that the term is actually part of Proton's official naming nomenclature for the model. The badge on the bootlid really reads 'Saga FL'.

It is offered in two trim levels - Standard (S) and Executive (E) - both available with the option of manual or automatic transmission. In a migration from the previous trim level designation, S is equivalent to the previous B-Line, while E is equivalent to the previous M-Line.

There is a price increase of between RM1,000 and RM1,300 from the pre-facelift Saga, and prices start at RM37,998 for the 1.3S (this reminds us of the original Saga's badging) with manual transmission going all the way up to RM43,298 for the 1.3E auto.

Improvements made to the Saga are quite a bit more than what we anticipated from Proton. There are extensive styling revisions, and the front end is completely altered, so users looking to convert their original Saga BLM to the Saga FL front will have to do a lot more than buying a new bumper - the Saga FL has completely new bonnet, headlights, front fenders and front bumpers. The rear bumper is new too, but together with the revised tail lights, they appear to fit in the existing Saga BLM sheet metal. Other visible exterior enhancements include rear reflectors, side mirror mounted blinkers, and a new exhaust tip. The 1.3E also gets revised 14" alloy wheels.

A welcomed improvement, notwithstanding Proton's dodgy track record in that area, is that the Saga now comes with all-round power windows as standard. The single-disc CD player features MP3 playback, and the 1.3E even adds USB/AUX jacks with steering-mounted controls. Safety has been similarly enhanced. ABS and EBD are still off the menu, but the 1.3E now features dual airbags and seat-belt pre-tensioners for the front seats.

“The Saga FL represents the new way of doing things at Proton. Instead of resting on the popularity and success of the existing Saga, the overwhelming public acceptance motivated us even more to make an already good model even better,” said Dato’ Syed Zainal.

Dato’ Syed Zainal further added that PROTON is targeting to sell 6,500 units of the Saga FL per month. Since its introduction in January 2008, the Saga has averaged sales of 6,200 units per month and as of October 2010, some 204,150 units have already hit the road with a further 40,880 bookings currently awaiting delivery. Production of the pre-facelift Saga BLM has ceased for sometime, and Proton has now some 6,000 units of the new Saga FL ready to deliver.

At the launch press conference, Proton was also asked of the possibility of introducing the Saga with the Campro 1.6-litre powerplant, which is available for taxi drivers and also the Australian market as the Proton S16. To that, Dato' Syed Zainal hinted at the possibility of a powertrain upgrade for the Saga along with several other members of the Proton range next year. Also mentioned was a new transmission supplier to replace Mitsubishi as Proton's prime supplier of transmissions.

The booking fee for the Saga FL is RM500, and customers can view the car today onwards at all Proton showrooms nationwide. For customers in Labuan, the Saga FL can only be viewed at showrooms from 17 December 2010. Customers who have already booked the Saga can also opt to top up the difference in price to acquire the new model.

The Saga FL comes with a 3-year / 100,000km manufacturing warranty (whichever comes first).




 


     Picture Gallery
[+ click to enlarge]
All-new front end.
All-new front end.
New 14-inch alloys for the 1.3E
New 14-inch alloys for the 1.3E
Side mirror mounted signal lamps.
Side mirror mounted signal lamps.
Dual airbags for 1.3E
Dual airbags for 1.3E
Rear power windows now standard for all variants.
Rear power windows now standard for all variants.
Proton Saga FL
Proton Saga FL
Proton Kasturi concept showcased at KLIMS '10 which previewed the Saga FL.
Proton Kasturi concept showcased at KLIMS '10 which previewed the Saga FL.


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