Proton has today announced that its upcoming SUV that's based on the Geely Boyue, will be using an alphanumeric X70 name. From this point onwards, all future Proton models will adopt an alphanumeric naming convention – just like all premium German car brands – instead of the current phonetic names. It also means that iconic nameplates like Saga, Persona and Perdana will no longer be used for future models.
Speaking to the Malaysian press at a preview event for the X70 at Proton’s Centre of Excellence complex in Shah Alam earlier today, Dr. Li Chunrong, CEO of Proton said that the new naming convention has its pros and cons, the latter being not as recognizable but Dr Li reasoned that an alphanumeric naming is the right way forward for Proton as the focus of the vehicle's name should be on the brand Proton, rather than the model’s name.
We won’t disagree, as all premium German brands as well also Geely’s subsidiary Volvo follow the same formula. Alphanumeric names make it easier for customers to identify where a particular model sits within the line-up. Everyone knows that a Volvo that carries the XC90 name is more expensive than one that carries the XC40 name, or all models bearing the 90 series number are related; S90 and XC90 for example.
By avoiding phonetic names, Proton also sidesteps the difficulty of ensuring that a particular name is acceptable in a foreign, export market. Geely for example, fully understands that the Chinese name ‘Boyue’ clearly won’t work in multi-lingual Malaysia.
Speaking of exports, yes Dr. Li has reiterated that Malaysia will be the base from which all right-hand drive models made by the company will be exported from.
The Proton X70 will open for booking on tomorrow, and in the coming weeks, the model will be touring seven cities around Malaysia – Penang, Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, Kuantan, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu. The model is expected to be launched later this year.
Prices have not been announced but we understand that the base model will start from slightly below RM 100,000. There will be four variants, all powered by a 1.8-litre turbocharged engine paired to either a front- or all-wheel drive transmission.
Our initial impressions of the static display car have been very positive, with the quality of the fit and finish and cabin materials equaling if not better than the best Japanese makes in the segment. The highest grade model gets radar-guided adaptive cruise control, Nappa leather seats, and natural language format 'Hi Proton' voice control for infotainment, climate and sunroof – the later works very similarly to the all-new Mercedes-Benz A-Class' (yet to be launched here) MBUX's infotainment's 'Hey Mercedes' command, minus the Mercedes-Benz's more sophisticated artificial intelligence of course.
Proton will release more details on the X70’s specifications and equipment levels in the coming weeks.