Cars And More: The Proton Saga Is A New Entrant In The Kenyan Market

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image from https://twitter.com/simbacorp_ke/status/1337008413235163140/photo/3

Last year in December I was privileged to attend the launch of the all-new Proton Saga assembled at Associated Vehicle Assemblers in Mombasa, Kenya. The Guest of honour was The President, H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta. As the invite-only got to me the previous day it meant I needed to be on the red-eye to Mombasa and I was courtesy of Jambojet. I arrived at AVA at around 8.30 after a few diversions in Mombasa since the Changamwe interchange is currently under construction.

As we awaited the President to arrive I had a chance to have a look around AVA and I should say I was suitably impressed. AVA is currently assembling vehicles for world-leading brands in Kenya including Fuso, Toyota, Hino, Scania, Mercedes Benz, DAF, Peugeot, Nissan-Datsun, Foton, Bieben, Volvo, Daewoo and Tata. Currently, AVA accounts for approximately 65% of all locally assembled vehicles in Kenya and to date has produced over 150,000 vehicles.

The President arrived at 11 am and after the customary greeting and welcome by the Chairman Simba Corp Adil Popat & Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, he unveiled a plaque and then proceeded to the assembly floor to see the progress of the assembly. Here we were shown the step by step process of getting the car the Proton Saga which has been shipped in, in different sections put together to roll out of the assembly line a fully built unit with every part where it’s supposed to be. Installation of the dashboard, suspension, getting the chassis assembled to adding the engine and gearbox, wheel and even rain testing.

After this section and the rain testing which did showcase a very heavy downpour akin to the long rains in April to make sure the car had no leaks. Once this was done then the engine gets all the oils & water that it needs and a final engine check to make sure the vehicle is running optimally. The car then gets a final check before it is dispatched to its intended recipient, most definitely through a dealer near you.

Speaking at the launch event at AVA in Miritini, Mombasa, Simba Corporation Chairman, Adil Popat said, “This vehicle was assembled at AVA which is also a fully locally owned motor vehicle assembler. The Proton Saga is competitively priced and will retail for around $10,000 + VAT, the Proton Saga has enhanced safety features, superb stability and braking performance, supreme style and eye-catching exteriors and interiors. The Proton Saga also comes with a 5-year warranty, attractive financing options with some of our major bank partners in Kenya and an extensive aftersales network. We know that our customers will have a great experience with the Proton Saga.”

Proton joins the growing list of globally renowned automotive brands that have chosen Kenya as their home and are being assembled by AVA in Mombasa.

Pro’s

  1. Locally made with a 5-year warranty, it doesn’t get better than this.
  2. Locally made also means that it does come at a very competitive price at around 1 million with several financing options available.
  3. Proton as much as it’s not a popular brand here is Malaysia’s number 1 car brand and has had a stint in the local rally circuit.
  4. The Proton Saga comes with a very spacious boot much bigger than other cars in its range.
  5. New brand in the market backed by a reputable dealer and the heritage of the mother company of over 30 years.

Cons

 1. Not the cheapest car in the market but it is one that will give you very good value. 

Conclusion

 This is a very well packaged entry-level vehicle which comes with all the safety and the space requirements for a saloon car. For a showroom car, the price at 1 million shillings does make it more competitive than the imported options. Also, among the showroom entry cars, it is more affordable than the VW Polo and Toyota Starlet which are in the same segment.

Current price in the market – around 10,000 USD which would be around 1million to 1.1 million shillings.

To get more information on the Proton Saga you can check out the website.

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Paul Karingithi is a Marketing Communications Guru living in Nairobi. He is a husband, father, golfer, traveller and occasionally writes about cars. Need to talk more on motoring, drop me an email at [email protected]