I don’t agree with most of Rockys opinions, but I still subscribe to his blog to ensure I have at least a different view of politics. However, a post he made on the ‘new’ Perdana really sent my blood curling. Rocky was defending the proton re-badging exercise, something I felt was completely unacceptable. Proton is a company that for years has thrived under government regulations and policies that were designed specifically protect it–and part of that protection included raising the price of all other cars in the market giving proton an un-fair advantage.
Even with new automotive policies rolling in, the Government has now become dependant on the duties and taxes it levies on cars, and we’re told, that the high price of cars are now an inconvenient reality that will remain. This not just sends the price of cars higher, but the loan amounts, the insurance cost, and the overall cost of living in a country where public transport is as reliable as Proton Waja Power window.
But that’s not the bit that got me angry, as a pro-government blogger Rocky has a right to his opinion, and I think it’s inline with the pro-government view of proton. So nothing new here.
What got me really peeved–and I mean REALLY peeved was this statement;
We were told at a briefing in Shah Alam last Friday that there are 17 changes made to the Accord, mostly – but not all – cosmetics. On the 2.0L version, for example, the Perdana is fitted with FOUR airbags instead of the original Accord’s TWO (this Volvo-like obsession in safety aspects is something Proton will emphasize in future cars).
What the FUCK?
Let me break it down for you–FOUR airbags is not Volvo-like obsession. Four airbags is actually less than the airbags on the Ford Focus or even the Kia Cerato (a sub-RM100k car). What you want, if indeed you had a Volvo-like obsession is a minimum of six airbags, two on the front, two on the side, and a two curtain airbags, and some cars like the Ford Mondeo give you 7 airbags, while others go as far as 8.
That’s not even the whole story.
The Proton Saga FLX is the lowest scoring car on the ASEAN NCAP standards–LOWEST. There is no car tested by the ASEAN NCAP that scores any lower. With a score of just 4.30 out of a possible 16, you’d probably be safer in a bicycle helmet than in a Proton Saga FLX. I remember rocky making a whole bru-ha-ha about the AES and how it would save lives–well one way to save lives is to ensure that our national car company makes safer cars.
Of course, I know this because I’m in the market for a new car, and I noticed that the safer cars are more expensive–meaning rich people are less likely to die in accidents than poor people. This pisses me off a great deal.
Think about things like Electronic Stability Program, that involves a computer helping you steer a car so that it doesn’t go wildly out of control. The ESP is so essential to safety, the NCAP organization will not give you a 5-star rating unless you have it. The ESP helps you avoid a crash, yet it is hardly present in any affordable cars.
For example, the soon to be launched Toyota Altis, will only have ESP on the most expensive variant–the 2.0V at a cost of over Rm130k. The lower variants don’t get ESP or the curtain airbags. The same is true for the Toyota Camry, Honda accord, Peugeot 408 and so on. It seems only the more expensive variants of these cars come equiped with ESP and six airbags, these manufacturers consider safety–a cost option! And quite frankly there is no government regulation to mandate it on the cheaper alternatives so the manufacturers follow market demands.
The only two outstanding car companies are Mazda, that offer 5-star safety standards on all variants of the new Mazda 6 and Cx-5, and Kia that offer all safety features for even their 1.6L Cerato. It has to be noted that the Mazda 6 and Cx-5 are cost well above Rm150k and Rm130k respectively, while the Kia 1.6L comes in at under Rm100k. The Ford Focus, which is also rated as a 5-star safety car cost Rm129k (for the Titanium+ edition) while the Peugeot 408 turbo cost something similar as well, the lesser versions of these car come with less than the full safety kit–but is definitely still safer than a proton.
Now before you shout out that Proton has ESP on the Preve, you must also realize it only offers the safety features of ESP and side airbags for its more expensive variant, and the ‘new’ Perdana probably doesn’t have it either.
So don’t tell me Proton has Volvo-like obsession with safety. It doesn’t.
Who knows how many Malaysia lives would be saved in Proton had the same safety standards as Volvo–but it doesn’t, so the question is more aptly phrased as how many Malaysians lives were lost as a result of Proton having such a lackadaisical view on car safety.
And to be fair all other local car dealers and manufacturers as well.