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Proton says new Jumbuck is on the way

Over and out: The ageing Proton Jumbuck will be superseded next year.

Proton protests ANCAP move to test current Jumbuck with new model just months away

18 Aug 2009

PROTON Cars Australia (PCA) has vowed to launch a new-generation Jumbuck utility in the first half of next year, following its announcement this week that the outdated current model will be phased out over the next few months – but not before an independent crash test tomorrow which is expected highlight its safety credentials.

The Malaysian marque hopes to continue selling the existing model until the redesigned version arrives as part of a 12-month new-model wave that will include new entry-level versions of the Persona, Satria Neo and Gen.2, as well as the Exora mini-MPV and two performance versions of the Satria Neo.

PCA is privately frustrated that the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) will crash-test the current Jumbuck.

“If someone goes on to the ANCAP website and types in Proton, the only model to come up will be the Jumbuck and that is not a true representation of our range,” PCA managing director John Startari told GoAuto this week, adding that he was concerned that the crash-test rating of the Jumbuck would remain on the site after the new, and much likely safer, Jumbuck goes on sale.

“We hope they will test the new model Jumbuck as soon as possible.” Proton in Malaysia is working through a last batch of components used for its Jumbuck and will introduce the new model when this is exhausted. The exact date is not clear, but Proton is expecting the new model early next year, depending on demand for the current car.

Proton issued a press release this week pointing out that the low-cost half tonne ute was based on the previous model Persona sedan which used “outdated Mitsubishi design and technology”.

It said the Jumbuck, which was introduced in 2003, is the last of the Proton models on sale in Australia that still uses the old Mitsubishi technology.

Proton said the new Jumbuck would be based on an existing passenger car, believed to be the Exora, and would feature the latest safety technology including improved structural integrity, anti-lock brakes and airbags.

The new vehicle will be powered by a small, economical four-cylinder engine. An automatic transmission will be offered alongside the standard manual gearbox.

VFACTS figures show the Jumbuck is Proton’s best selling model in Australia, selling 268 units to the end of July, compared with the next best Persona with 156 sales for the same period.

Mr Startari said the current Jumbuck had done well, but a new model was overdue.

“It has been a great ute but there will be a new generation model to replace it,” he said.

"It has been an important model for us here in Australia providing the market with a unique blend of passenger car-based design, half tonne capacity and low cost entry and running costs." Mr Startari said the new Jumbuck would retain its status as the “lowest cost commercial vehicle to own and run in this country”.

“The important point will be that the new car will not only be the lowest cost commercial but also amongst the safest on the road,” he said.

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