Earlier this year, we reported that Proton is keen to expand its product portfolio to include SUV and pick-up truck models, but is for the moment hampered by the lack of 4WD technology in its knowledge pool.
So, imagine our surprise when images of supposedly leaked brochures of a new Proton Extrema SUV (nice name) surfaced over the Internet this morning. The images show a realistic-looking vehicle of very handsome proportions and also one with styling cues that fit into Proton’s current line-up. The brochure pages were also laid out in a manner consistent with Proton’s CI.
Of course, Proton did not pull an SUV out of thin air and it was quickly obvious that this vehicle is based on the China market Youngman Lotus T5 SUV that we saw as far back as 2012 at the Beijing Motor Show. The T5 itself was derived from the Lotus APX concept which Proton was long-rumoured to have been looking at developing an SUV from.
Given that Proton owns Lotus, it does not seem inconceivable that Proton would have access to the model’s engineering and design, right? Well, the reality is a bit more complicated; the T5 is a joint venture between Lotus UK and Youngman China, and Proton has no rights on the vehicle’s intellectual properties.
So, whilst the vehicle looks attractive, and the brochures look convincing, we reckon this is little more than an admittedly well-executed April Fools prank. Amusingly, this is not the only April Fool prank this year revolving around a Proton SUV. Perhaps this is indication from the market that Proton really needs an SUV in its line-up?
Brochure images from funtasticko.net.