The launch of Proton’s first ever SUV is upon us. You’ve seen multiple photos of its donor car, the Geely Boyue, and you also know that the SUV will come with a chockfull of features, namely voice command, adaptive cruise control, 360-degree three-dimensional view and Autonomous Emergency Braking. But what about its design?
Well, we recently had a chat with Geely Design’s design director Guy Burgoyne, who said “I think it’s fair to say that – it’s obvious that when we developed the Boyue to start with, the knowledge of the synergy with Proton was on the table. We have some very happy coincidences.” Of course, one of the coincidences is the feline element – the Boyue’s design was inspired by a leaping cat, and Proton is a car brand with the tiger motif.
Guy also said despite having a globally desirable product, he thinks he can still deliver some local flavours that are appropriate for Proton. And no, the designers won’t stick a keris or anything jarring like that.
Proton’s chief designer Azlan Othman also added: “It will have a unique story to it, when we showcase our version of the Boyue. It will have that relationship to our heritage, our culture. It may not be very large like Guy mentioned, we shouldn’t have a piece of keris stuck on the car, but the notion of having these characters – that’s the uniqueness that will make us Malaysian, in that sense.”
Picture from PAULTAN.ORG
Picture from PAULTAN.ORG
Picture from PAULTAN.ORG
Article below from: just-auto
The final brand to have its current future passenger vehicles assessed is Proton. Due to unremarkable cars, a home nation where the annual market remains well below three quarter of a million vehicles and poor marketing in the few countries it has tried to export to, the formerly state-run firm is a lacklustre operation. Could a cash infusion and a management shake-up courtesy of Geely transform the firm’s fortunes?
Proton’s first Chinese CEO
Image from : just-auto.com
Proton turns 35 this year, having been founded in the early 1980s by Malaysia’s former and now existing prime minister Mahathir Mohamad. Back in 1983 the company licensed platforms and powertrains from Mitsubishi Motors and continued to use these for decades. In fact, several models still use an architecture which was co-developed by Volvo Cars and Mitsubishi Motors in the 1990s – it was once the basis of models such as the Mitsubishi Space Star and Carisma as well as the Volvo S40 and V40.
It has been a year since Geely Holding took a 49.9 per cent tranche of Proton. Li Shufu moved quickly to put his stamp on the company, in partnership with 51 per cent co-owner DRB-Hicom Berhad, installing Li Chunrong as the first non-Malaysian CEO of Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional Sdn Bhd or PONSB for short.
Dr Li is a graduate of Huazhong University of Science and Technology. He holds not only a Bachelor of Electrical Automation but also obtained a Masters in Industrial Engineering and Management. MIT came next, which is where he completed a second Masters in Business Administration. Still not done, there was then a return to Huazhong UST for a Ph.D. (Management Engineering). The first automotive career move was to Dongfeng Motor in 1987 where eventually, Li oversaw the state owned group’s six JVs with Groupe PSA, Nissan, Kia, Honda and Cummins and Dongfeng’s own brands.
Rebuilding Proton’s share of the home market is the obvious first priority for the new management team. Already, there are plans to use Geely models to either fill gaps in the present line-up or replace certain aged models with Geely-sourced designs.
Geely-Volvo engines too?
It is presumed that all future Protons are based on Geely-Volvo technology. In time, that might also mean big spending will take place at Proton’s powertrain plant, switching what it manufactures to the latest 1.0- and 1.5-litre three-cylinder plus 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engines. That would also mean that PHEV options could become available too. For the moment though, Proton competes mostly at the cheaper end of the market, so keeping costs down is key.
One of the first additional vehicles will be Proton’s first SUV. This has been confirmed as being under development, based upon the 4,520mm long Geely Emgrand Bo Yue (also known as Boyue). The model name is not yet known; only the manufacturing location: Proton’s Tanjung Malim plant in the Malaysian state of Perak. Annual production volume of perhaps 20,000-25,000 units is forecast. Expect a market launch in either late 2018 or possibly 2019.
The fate of a second, Suzuki-based SUV is presently up in the air. That’s because this model was agreed during the DRB-Hicom ownership era. Three years ago last month, Proton and Suzuki announced an alliance. One of the projects for this JV would be assembly of a Suzuki model with Proton badges, commencing “from around August 2016”. This was to be at the huge but underutilised Tanjung Malim factory. As there has been no word on this project for a while, it is presumed that the Suzuki-based SUV will not now make it to market. The deal to sell a tranche of Proton to Geely’s parent company is believed to have placed any expansion of the alliance with Suzuki on hold.
If the Suzuki model is presumed to be a no-go, then that isn’t necessarily bad news. Geely has a strong range of cars, crossovers and SUVs and can of course leverage its control of both Volvo Cars and the Lynk & Co brand to potentially bring new platforms and state of the art powertrains to its Malaysian subsidiary.
Nothing has been said but there might be plans to build Lynk & Co models in Malaysia, and possibly even expand the brand into both the local and surrounding markets. This would mean a large investment would be needed to refit Tanjung Malim for Volvo, Lynk & Geely’s Compact Modular Architecture (CMA). The Swedish brand has had a small scale assembly operation in Malaysia for many years so such an initiative could potentially also supplement or replace that. – just.auto.com