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Proton Expected To Rebadge Suzuki Compact Model Next, Coming Mid 2016

Chris Aaron June 16, 2015 13:46

Following yesterday’s Memorandum of Understanding announcement that saw Proton Holdings Berhad and Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC) ink an arrangement to share technologies for the development of future models, further clarity has been poured over the subject as to what will come of the agreement, courtesy of an official press release by SMC.

Here’s a quote from the release:

“As the first step of the collaboration, SMC will supply KD (Knock Down) components for a model of Suzuki automobile to PROTON. PROTON will manufacture at its own plant, distribute and sell such model under PROTON brand through its sales network in Malaysia. The first model will be a compact passenger car, to be manufactured at the PROTON Tanjung Malim plant from around August 2016. Other additional models will be mutually studied by PROTON and SMC.”

In line with what was said at yesterday’s event, a “compact passenger vehicle,” now known to be an existing Suzuki model, is expected to be launched in 2016 as a Proton model. As to what that model will be, no certainty has been spared. But Tun Mahathir, Proton’s chairman, did say at a press conference yesterday that it would be something Proton doesn’t yet offer in its range.

If we had to guess what the fruits of this MoU be, it would be between an A-segment type car (to fight the Perodua Axia), or a B-segment SUV (something along the lines of a Perodua Kembara-type).

The obvious is that Suzuki does have a wide range of compact vehicles for Proton to desire: Celerio/ Alto, Splash, Swift, Ciaz… the list goes on.

*Suzuki Celerio pictured above: currently for sale in countries such as Thailand, India and Australia.

SMC’s press release also spoke about matters beyond the new Proton-badged compact vehicle:

“Furthermore in future, supply of engines and transmissions by Suzuki to PROTON and installation of such engines and transmissions by PROTON for its own models will be also studied.”

It’s no secret that Suzuki doesn’t fall short where its powertrain development is concerned, pushing hard lately with its diesel tech (most recently launching a two-cylinder 0.8-litre diesel engine for India) and it seems as though Proton is keen on benefitting from their expertise.

Question is: would this initiative result in a Proton for you? What type of model would you like to see Proton develop for the future? Tell us in the comments below.

About Chris Aaron

Chris finds equal pleasures in reviewing fast cars as much as the everyday workhorses. He maintains a passion for European makes, Formula 1, playing the electric guitar and spending endless hours on the PlayStation; first-person shooters and the Gran Turismo franchise remain favourites. He also finds it strange to have written this in the third person.


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