PROTON has issued a statement today (12:25 pm, September 30th) to clarify the problem with the Waja which AUTOWORLD.COM.MY first wrote about on the evening of September 29th.
The statement says that the company is taking a pre-emptive measure to ensure the quality of the Proton Waja. It explains that during the normal pre-delivery inspection (PDI) by a distributor, one car was detected having difficulties in engaging the gear under extreme test conditions.
PROTON emphasises that this was an isolated incident confined to just one car. However, to ensure that customers receive products of the highest build quality, the factory instructed its distributors to inspect all units of the Waja once again as a precautionary measure.
PROTON apologises to its customers for the slight delay in the delivery of their cars.
EON, in response to Proton’s statement, urges its customers who have taken delivery of the Proton Waja 1.6 manual to have their vehicles refit a washer in the gearshift cable as a precautionary exercise. The refit, according to EON Managing Director Datuk Adzmi Abdul Wahab, is a 10-minute exercise and all EON branch service centres have begun working on this for customers since Friday after it had been informed by PROTON.
Although PROTON has despatched 453 units of the Proton Waja 1.6 manual to EON, only 102 units are reported to have been released to customers just prior to PROTON’s advisory which was sent to EON on friday morning.
Saying that customer satisfaction is EON’s primary concern, the company was quick to respond with a circular to all its sales branches and dealerships. “As the number is small, we took immediate steps through our sales team to advise our customers directly on sending their vehicles in for the refit,” said Datuk Adzmi.
According to EON, the situation is very much contained. PROTON delivered the replacement parts on Friday and cars which have not been delivered are now being refitted at EON’s service centres. The refit is at no cost to customers.
“The quick refit will not cause undue delay in the deliveries of the other Proton Waja 1.6 manual cars to customers. We appreciate customers being anxious in taking delivery of their vehicles. Our technicians are working around the clock. Within the next few days, this should be resolved,” said Datuk Adzmi.
“In fact, all Proton Waja 1.6 manual cars delivered from Saturday 30th September as well as the Proton Waja Auto versions are not affected,” added Datuk Adzmi.
Consistent with EON’s and PROTON’s long-standing policy of commitment to customer satisfaction and service, Proton Waja 1.6 manual owners (from the 102 affected) who may not have been reached should contact the EON sales outlet from which the car was purchased for assistance in the refit. They can also contact the EON Customer Service Hotline at 1-800-88-3003 or 03-7002388 anytime from 9.00 am – 9.00 pm, seven days a week.
Our earlier stories:
[Update at 6:45 pm, 29/9/2000]
It is believed that the part that needs to be examined as a “precautionary check” is related to a shift cable in the manual transmission of the Proton Waja. However, Proton officials could not be contacted to get further clarification.
But from discussions with EON, it appears that there are no cars running on the roads yet and therefore, there is no ‘recall’ needed. According to Nor Rozita Nordin, EON’s Senior Manager of Customer Service & Quality, the company has not delivered any of its Wajas to customers.
“To my knowledge, no cars have been delivered [by EON] and we are in fact waiting to have a special hand-over of the first units,” she told AUTOWORLD.COM.MY this evening. She confirmed that a notice was sent only to dealers and branches this morning and that the matter is regarded as a “precautionary check”.
Thus, if any cars are already on the road, they could be from USPD, the other distributor for the Waja. As the USPD offices were already closed, it was not possible to get any clarification from USPD officials.
The problem detected in the first batch of Waja cars could well be the result of more intensive quality control checks to ensure that the first cars going out are problem-free. Earlier in the week, AUTOWORLD.COM.MY’s Chips Yap, in a discussion with Proton CEO Tan Sri Tengku Mahaleel, raised the possibility of the rushed deliveries likely to result in quality problems. Tengku Mahaleel felt that was unlikely and expressed confidence in the first cars being of high build quality.
In fact, he also stated that as far as Proton is concerned, the build quality of all its cars has so far been “within norms”. He suggested that public perception of Protons having poor build quality was wrong and mainly due to the fact that there are more Protons on the roads than any other make, therefore there were statistically more cars with problems apparent.
“No maker produces 100% perfect cars without problems in every unit. It just happens that because Proton sells many more cars than Mercedes or Toyota that it seems like our cars have more problems because there are more Proton customers who encounter problems. But as a percentage, I don’t believe we are any worse from other makes,” he explained.
AUTOWORLD.COM.MY has learnt that the first batch of Proton Waja 1.6 has a problem with the manual transmission and the distributors have sent out letters to owners this morning concerning the matter, asking them to bring their car back to the service centres. The distributors have also been asked to stop delivering cars until further notice.
Clarification from PROTON could not be obtained at this time.
Please come back tonight for further news on this matter.
[4:35 pm, 29/9/2000]