Thursday, March 30, 2006

Two Month Review - Proton Gen2

Its been actually a little more than a year since I decided to take the plunge and invest (if you can call a car purchase that) in a Proton Gen2. In all honesty, it was a choice handed down to me not by my own free will, but rather by the hands of the powers-that-be that have decided to price all decent cars out of the average Malaysian's reach.

So why is this review titled a "Two Month Review"?

Well, the story goes a little something like this. In January of 2005 I purchased WMN 8212 - an "Angel Blue" 1.6 automatic Gen2 that for all intents and purposes was my pride and joy for all of 3 months. That car was the subject of numerous warranty repairs which culminated in a horrific crushing incident at the local dealership where the car was being attended to. For some strange reason Proton's inability to build things that hold together with any semblance of solidity extends to their dealerships, and as such a 40 ft section of roller-shutters fell on my car, instantly crushing the car's roof.

Proton agreed, after numerous exchanges of angry letters and e-mails, to replace the car, and after a long 11 month wait, I was handed to keys to WNQ 8910 in February 2006. The joy of taking delivery of a new Proton is always diluted somewhat by the sneaky feeling that something, somewhere is gonna fall off the moment you turn the key, and sure enough, WNQ 8910 was delivered with a host of defects - defects that should never have made it pass the QC inspection at the factory.

Amongst the defects at delivery:-

(1) Dents on the driver's door and C-Pillar
(2) Scratched paintwork on front bumper
(3) Misaligned front right fender
(4) Scratched interior panels
(5) Scratched Alloy wheels
(6) Missing screw covers from dashboard
(7) Missing tyre valve covers from all 4 wheels
(8) Inoperable Power Window on offside rear door

Funny thing about Protons are - just when you think things can't get any worse, they do. Drove the car up to Alor Setar for the Chinese New Year holidays, and on the return trip, more items started going awry. Within a week from the car's 1000km inspection, the alarm, rear screen demister, foglights and central locking went AWOL.

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And in an attempt to fix some of the defects, the Proton service team, God bless their souls, managed not only to snap the foglamp cabling in half, they also managed to completely deface the door trim panel while trying to extract the offending malfunctioning power window switch on the offside rear door. Proton certainly knows how to care for their customers ;)

So there you go - two months on and the only thing working in my Gen2 is the engine, gearbox, 3 power windows, the CD player and Air conditioning. I'm currently awaiting Proton to get me a courtesy car so that they can take this blasted car off my hands to fix the gremlins they managed to put into the car at Tanjung Malim. If this is the future of our national car, I must say I'm certainly worried.......