Yesterday, Bernama reports that Proton Holdings will be launching three new models next year, developed in collaboration with Honda, leading many to believe that there will be more rebadged Honda models coming our way.
Furthers checks with reliable sources familiar with the matter however revealed quite the opposite.
While conceding that a new Proton Perdana will be launched next year (current model is only limited for government use) and it will be based on the previous generation Honda Accord, the source confirms that there will be no further model collaboration with Proton beyond the previous generation Accord.
Not much is known about the new Proton Perdana, but like the current model, it will still be based on the previous generation Honda Accord, but this time, it will have more Proton-specific styling elements.
The report by Bernama quoted Proton’s Chairman Tun Dr. Mahathir as saying that the 3 new models are an improvement over the existing Saga, Persona and Perdana, made with collaboration from Honda.
"In the automotive industry, we are always borrowing technology. Major car companies are always exchanging technology. In this regard, we are only using Honda's platform with the rest coming from our own efforts.
"The new models are equipped with the latest safety features and design. I really hope that all three models will enter the market in stages from January next year and will be well-received," said Tun Dr. Mahathir.
Was Dr. Mahathir referring only to the upcoming new Proton Perdana when commenting on the collaboration with Honda, with the remaining two models coming from either Proton or Proton's new partner Suzuki? Or is he jumping the gun with regards to any future work with Honda?
To date, Honda Motor Co. has not made any announcements about extending its existing collaboration with Proton.
As the collaboration is between Proton Holdings and Honda Motor Co., Honda Malaysia declines to comment on the matter.