Next-generation Perodua Bezza will be an ASEAN car – Malaysian-developed sedan to wear Daihatsu badges

New Perodua Bezza renders – click to enlarge

Perodua’s current range has models that are jointly developed with Daihatsu, and the cars wear Daihatsu and Toyota badges elsewhere. The Axia, Alza and Aruz are all Daihatsus and Toyotas in Indonesia, while the Ativa is shared with both Japan and Indonesia. The Myvi – which has been a Malaysian-developed model since the G3 – is exported to Indonesia and sold there as the Daihatsu Sirion.

The only kid without a passport is the Perodua Bezza, but P2’s homegrown sedan is set to travel in the next generation. At yesterday’s Asian Compact Sedan Design Challenge 2023 (ACSDC) finale event, Perodua VP Datuk Ahmad Suhaimi Hashim mentioned the new Bezza in his opening speech.

It was possibly the first time that Perodua has explicitly mentioned the new Bezza, and it came as a surprise as the market leader is typically tight-lipped when it comes to upcoming models. Suhaimi also touched on the Bezza’s appeal to overseas markets.

Next-generation Perodua Bezza will be an ASEAN car – Malaysian-developed sedan to wear Daihatsu badges

New Perodua Bezza renders – click to enlarge

“We are looking for a balance between looks and functionality as well as a broader appeal to not only the Malaysian market but beyond. While in Malaysia, a sedan is seen more of a practical mode of transportation, but typically in almost every other country, a sedan is a status symbol,” he said.

“We want to bridge that gap as much as possible, equip this new car with the latest safety and connectivity features as well as within a price range that is typical of our products. This process will take a few years, but it is in the works,” he added.

We asked Perodua chief designer Muhamad Zamuren Musa about designing a car for the region, and he said that he had travelled to neighbouring markets in search of an ‘ASEAN taste’. Much like a chef learning from his travels, Zamuren found something from the expedition, and that element will be incorporated in the next-gen Bezza. Would it look anything like the Daihatsu DN F-Sedan concept from GIIAS 2017?

Current Bezza is on track to be Malaysia’s best-selling car in 2023

Designing a car for ASEAN isn’t as straightforward as say, making a car for Europe. Our region is very diverse and our taste isn’t homogenous, certainly not when it comes to cars – even the type of dominant car is very different, let alone preferences in design.

Generally, Malaysia wants sporty in everything – even on a basic tool like the Bezza, which wears super aggressive bumpers – while Indonesia likes a bit of luxury.

The latter ties in nicely with the ‘status symbol’ mention by Ahmad Suhaimi, which might be a bit of a head scratcher for Malaysians, as the sedan was our default car before Perodua diluted the mix. Even before Proton, which started with a sedan in the 80s, we were riding in cars with boots.

The Hyundai Aura and Honda Amaze are sub-4m compact sedans for the India market

The car for the masses in Indonesia is the MPV and budget five-door hatchback, and there’s no equivalent to the Perodua Bezza and Proton Saga there. Sedans are typically costlier and are conscious decisions made by the more affluent, even before the SUV wave. It’ll be interesting to see how the Bezza fits into ASEAN’s largest car market.

Finally – and this is pure speculation on my part – Toyota doesn’t have a sub-4m (compact) sedan in India, where the Maruti Swift Dzire, Honda Amaze and Hyundai Aura compete. If the Bezza fits the bill (literally; current car is 4,170 mm long and that needs to be shaved) and it’s accepted by Toyota India, it will be a prominent feather in the cap for P2, supplying to the big T in a big market.

The original Bezza surfaced in 2016, two years after the first Axia, and the all-new DNGA Axia was launched earlier this year, so it could be two, three more years before we see a new Bezza, if P2 follows that timeline. Anyway, the Bezza is well on track to be Perodua’s best selling model in 2023, and P2’s No.1 is always Malaysia’s best-selling car, so it’s far from broke.

GALLERY: Daihatsu DN F-Sedan Concept at GIIAS 2017

GALLERY: Perodua Asian Compact Sedan Design Challenge 2023

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