By RAHIMI YUNUS
Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd’s (Perodua) first SUV, which is currently creating some excitement among motoring enthusiasts, is expected to hit the market on Jan 17.
Sources close to the matter told The Malaysian Reserve that the second national carmaker is likely to launch the Perodua Aruz in two weeks, just over a month after Proton Holdings Bhd unveiled its first SUV — the X70.
“The launch date will be announced soon,” said a source.
Industry observers viewed the launch as timely, with the upcoming Chinese New Year celebration, as car companies usually post bumper sales during the festive season.
Yesterday, Perodua announced that bookings for the Aruz, a three-row, seven-seater SUV, are now open to the public with the stated price of between RM72,200 and RM77,200 (on-the-road before insurance in Peninsular Malaysia).
Two variants of the Perodua Aruz are being offered, namely the 1.5 X and 1.5 Advance, with five colours available — Ivory White, Glittering Silver, Electric Blue, Granite Grey and a new Amazon Green.
“The Perodua Aruz is our fourth transformation model, setting new standards for us in quality, space, fuel efficiency and safety — the latter bolstered by a 5-star Asean NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme for South-East Asian Countries) safety rating.
“The SUV is expected to complement our existing product line-up…and is perfect for families and those with active, aspirational lifestyles,” said Perodua president and CEO Datuk Zainal Abidin Ahmad in a statement yesterday.
He said based on value proposition, the company projected the sales of the model to average 2,500 units monthly or 31,200 units by end-2019.
The Perodua Aruz is deemed as a direct contender to Proton’s X70, which was launched on Dec 12, and Perodua is racing against time to respond by introducing the new SUV to capture the rising buying appetite.
In comparison, pricing for the X70 starts from RM99,800 to RM123,800 in four variants.
The two variants of Perodua Aruz will be powered by an an aluminium-block 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine with dual VVT-i built in Sendayan, Negri Sembilan, mated to an electronically-controlled automatic transmission (E-AT).
The Advance variant debuts an upgraded version of the Advanced Safety Assist (ASA) active safety suite, called ASA 2.0.
ASA 2.0 adds pedestrian detection (up to 50 km/h) to the safety suite and increases the operational speeds of Pre-Collision Warning to 100 km/h and Pre-Collision Braking to 80 km/h.
ASA 2.0 continues to incorporate Front Departure Alert and Pedal Misoperation Control. The driver assistance system helps reduce the risk of collision and is by no means a substitute for safe driving.
All variants are equipped with touch-screen radio with a reverse camera display, a digital air-con with two memory settings, air vents for the rear passengers and a built-in toll card reader.
The Perodua Aruz also offers flexible seating with a second row split of 60:40, while the third row is split 50:50. Both rows can slide, fold and tumble, yielding a variety of seating and loading configurations. All three rows are equipped with charging ports.
The model will come with a five-year/150,000 km warranty (whichever comes first). Pieces of leaked information have suggested that the seven-seater SUV will be produced based on Toyota Rush’s platform.
SUVs have taken the automotive world by storm. Broadly speaking, one in every three cars sold today is an SUV, and just about every single carmaker today offers at least one SUV model for a slice of the booming market.
This year, several SUV models are expected to be rolled out in the local market including Hyundai Kona; Mazda CX-8 and CX-3; Audi Q2 and Q5; and Borgward BX5.
The participation of national carmakers in the SUV market will heighten competition, particularly in the mass segment.
The X70 has a head start as its SUV has been receiving a good response with an average of between 200 and 300 bookings daily since its launch to over 15,000 bookings to date.