Proton to launch three all-new models in the next two years – X90 large SUV, smart #1 EV SUV, what else?
During the launch of the Proton Saga MC2 facelift, CEO Li Chunrong said the company will launch three new models in Malaysia in the next two years. However, this will only take place from 2023 (continuing into 2024) as it was previously reported that the national carmaker has rescheduled its new model launches to next year. This is because it is currently focused on clearing backlogged orders and resolving supply chain issues.
It’s quite an open secret these days that one of models that Proton has planned is a seven-seat SUV widely tipped to be called the X90. The SUV, which is based on the Geely Haoyue or Okavango, has been sighted here wearing quite a bit of camouflage on several occasions already.
Not much is known about the X90’s specifications, but the Haoyue is offered with the same 1.8 litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine found in the X70. The mill serves up 181 PS and 300 Nm of torque, with drive going to the front wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
In the Philippines, the Okavango features a 1.5 litre turbocharged three-cylinder with a 48-mild hybrid system for 190 PS and 300 Nm, also with a DCT pairing. This setup is the same used by the Azkarra (also known as the Boyue Pro) that is sold in the country.
Another model that will come our way isn’t exactly a Proton, but it will be sold through Proton Edar. We are referring to the smart #1, the Geely-developed, Mercedes-Benz-styled fully electric crossover that made its global debut last month.
As reported previously, Proton Edar was appointed the official importer, distributor and dealer for the smart brand in Malaysia and Thailand, and the #1 will lead the brand’s renewed presence in the ASEAN automotive market.
Built on Geely’s Sustainable Electric Architecture (SEA) platform, the #1 features a 66-kWh lithium-ion battery that is good for a range of up to 440 km following the WLTP standard. This powers an electric motor driving the rear wheels that is rated at 272 PS (200 kW) and 343 Nm. The #1 has already been introduced in China, with pre-sale pricing starting from 190,000 yuan (RM123,648).
Meanwhile, the third model remains a mystery, so we’ll need to do some guesswork. Judging by the current line-up, the Exora is long overdue for a full model change, and the Geely Jiaji could be a viable replacement (rumoured to be called the V70). The Jiaji was launched in China in 2019 and will soon receive a facelift based on spyshots that surfaced in April.
Roll the clock further back to 2018 and you’ll recall that Proton announced that it had secured the use of intellectual properties (IP) and the rights to manufacture and sell three Geely models. Those three models are the Binyue (X50), Boyue (X70) and the Jiaji (it was referred to as the VF11 previously).
You’ll also notice that Proton’s current line-up is missing a sedan larger than the Persona – the Perdana has long departed – and the Emgrand could be added to provide customers with a C-segment sedan option. The popular name going around for such a model is S50, and the reference will be the fourth-generation Emgrand that launched in China last August and has since made its way to the Philippines.
We mentioned the departure of the Perdana, and rumour mill suggests an S70 based on the Preface as being a model that replaces it. Of course, considering the D-segment market isn’t the most popular given the rise of SUVs, there’s a slimmer chance of this happening.
So, there you have it. From 2023 on through 2024, we can expect the X90 and #1 to be launched in Malaysia, but what could the third model be? Share your guesses thoughts in the comments below.