Proton will launch not one, but two new models that are to be fully developed by homegrown talents in the next three to five years, as revealed by its CEO Dr Li Chunrong in an interview with Astro Awani today. That puts to rest any thoughts that the local car company will merely rebadge Geely models from now on.
“I want to tell you, we are now discussing that we will [launch new models] developed by Proton people – by ourselves. We will develop not only one model, but two models together,” Li revealed when asked if Proton will continue making “original” models to follow the two Geely-based SUVs (the X70 and the upcoming X50).
This is not completely new, of course, as it was already hinted to us by Proton’s head of design, Azlan Othman, back in July. It was mentioned then that Proton will be developing new platforms to underpin its next homegrown cars. We now know for a fact that two models are being worked on, and that they will be out in the next five years or so.
What models exactly? Nothing is for certain now, but it seems likely that Proton will be replacing its best-selling model, the Saga, within that time frame. The third-generation model (itself heavily based on the second-gen from 2008) first appeared in 2016, and was given a thorough facelift last year.
The second model could be the next Persona, which has followed the Saga’s release schedule rather closely (initial launch in 2016, facelifted in 2019). It too has been a relative sales success, and is due for at least another update soon together with its close relative, the Iriz hatchback – development mules have already been seen out and about.
It would make sense for Proton to develop its own car base for its compact car range, while utilising Geely’s B-segment Modular Architecture (BMA) and Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platforms for its larger and more advanced products. So, what do you think of this plan, folks?