With the launch of the recent 2022 Proton Iriz and Persona MC2, you might have noticed that there are no manual transmissions on offer anymore from either the Iriz or Persona so why did Proton kill off the manual variants of the Persona and Iriz?
The 2022 Proton Iriz range now consists of the base 1.3L Standard CVT, 1.6L Executive CVT, and a range-topping new variant called the 1.6L Active CVT. On the other hand, the Persona range consists of the base 1.6L Standard CVT, 1.6L Executive CVT and the range-topping 1.6L Premium CVT.
Just as the name suggests, all models are equipped with a CVT transmission, so if you're looking for a manual Iriz or Persona, you'd have to buy its predecessors, as Proton has discontinued manual versions of the dynamic duo.
When Proton launched the MC1 Iriz and Persona in 2019, they still gave people the option to opt for a manual version of either vehicle, but according to Proton's Vehicle Program Executive, Adzrai Aziz bin Ibrahim, the discontinuation of manual cars is a practice of variant rationalisation as there was little demand for manual versions of the vehicles.
According to Proton, only 3% of Iriz's and Personas sold were manual transmission, and with 5% of vehicle TIV for Proton (529,324 units) being manual cars, it's pretty much safe to say that the demand for manual Proton cars is dead.
According to Adzrai, manual variants had to be dropped because the demand for manual variants was declining, so it was better to save resources and use them to improve other aspects of the car.
This is a form of product optimisation, which most companies undertake once they know a particular product is not profitable or sellable.
But kudos must be given to Proton for offering a manual version of these cars for the longest of time. The Iriz and third-generation Persona have been around since 2016, and Proton has been offering them with manual transmissions since the get-go. It's only recently that Proton has discontinued the manual variants.
With the younger generation treating cars as an appliance, it's not surprising to see that a car that requires manual labour is not sellable.
Let's be honest really, with traffic jams and congested Malaysian roads, do you still see people buying manual cars using them as daily drivers? Even taxi drivers who used to prefer manual cars are now using automatic cars, especially with automatic cars becoming more fuel-efficient and straightforward to drive.
So the next time you decide to moan or complain about the death of manual transmission cars or models first ask yourself when was the last time you or your friends bought a new manual transmission car?