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Perodua takes on Proton with new Bezza sedan

POSTED BY Nigel Andretti ON 22 July 2016

By YAMIN VONG

KUALA LUMPUR: Perodua, Malaysia’s top selling car brand, yesterday launched its first sedan, the Bezza.

The name Bezza means to make a difference, from the Bahasa Malaysia word, bedza. It does that too, but in more ways than body style.

The “zz” also stands for the 22 years that Perodua, or Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional, has been established as a joint venture with Daihatsu Motor Company.

The Perodua Bezza is a significant milestone for Perodua. For as long as the father of the national car, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, was in power, he protected Proton from competition and tilted the playing field.

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This meant that Perodua was unofficially guided away from making cars that would directly compete with Proton. There was no written statement, or at least none that we knew, that asked Perodua to keep out of the most popular segment of the Malaysian car market — 1.3 litre sedans.

Until this sedan-styled Perodua Bezza was launched today, Perodua honoured that unwritten agreement and focused on hatchbacks, MPVs and compact cars such as the Myvi, Alza and more recently, Malaysia’s most popular car, the Axia.

Sourcing the technology from its Japanese car partner, Daihatsu Motor Corporation (DMC), Perodua focused on building scale and quality by reducing the model diversity to two main platforms, the Myvi/Alza and the Axia.

The RM300 million and 18-month development of the Perodua Bezza based on DMC’s platform and a fully-Malaysian designed top body signals the coming out of Perodua as the Malaysian car company that is the most ready to export significant volumes to the regional market.

“The National Automotive Policy 2014 focused on Energy Efficient Vehicles (EEV) and there were two policy objectives: to transform and integrate Malaysia’s automotive industry; and to make Malaysia a regional hub for EEVs by 2020,” said Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamad, Minister of International Trade and Industry.

“Export, export, export. That should be the mantra of the Malaysian automotive industry,” he said at the official launching yesterday.

“Four local component vendors of Perodua are part of Daihatshu Motor Corporation’s international supply chain,” he said.

Masanori Mitsui, the president of Daihatsu Motor Company, said that Daihatsu Perodua Engine Manufacturing had already started production last year and the engines would be used for the Malaysian and Asean markets.

In his opening speech, Perodua chairman, Tan Sri Asmat Kamaludin said that following the reveal of the NAP 2014, “We in Perodua and our partner, Daihatsu Motor Company, deliberated and implemented a transformation plan that would help to ensure our survival, post liberalisation of the auto sector in 2020.

“The Perodua Bezza is the first product of our revamped R&D and the 4,028 bookings received are an early indication that the Bezza is being well received,” Tan Sri Asmat said.

Some of the class leading features of the top-of the line model include 5-star Asean NCAP safety rating, mirroring of android phones for Waze and Google Maps, USB charging outlet for rear passengers, five-year or 150,000 km warranty.

The five model variants are classified as EEV’s and enjoy some tax benefits.

The Perodua Bezza is available at an entry level 1.0 litre, 5-speed manual from rm30,000 all the way up to RM51,000 for the top of the line 1.3 litre VVTi and four speed automatic transmission.

The Bezza is available in all Perodua outlets from today.

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