380vrx-small.JPGUtusan Malaysia reports that Proton will introduce a new model developed together with Mitsubishi Motors Corporation in April 2007. MMC president Osamu Masuko says that Proton and MMC are in the final stages of partnership talks, with details to be written down in black and white soon.

The new Mitsubishi-based Proton model will most likely be a replacement for the aging Proton Perdana which was based on a 1990s Mitsubishi Galant Eterna. The new Perdana Replacement model is said to be based on the Australian Mitsubishi Galant known as the Mitsubishi 380. The Galant/380 comes with a huge award winning 3.8 litre V6 engine, but this will likely be replaced by a 2.0 or 2.4 litre unit for Malaysian usage.

The Perdana originally came in SEi trim which featured a 2.0 litre inline-4 SOHC engine. The Perdana was later updated in 1998 with a new bodykit and a 2.0 DOHC V6 engine. This model was facelifted later with what Malaysian affectionately (or unaffectionately) called an ‘Alfadana’ look, because it featured a new nose that was similiar to an Alfa Romeo. This Alfa obsession DNA continued with the Gen2’s alloy rim design.

During the days of the Proton-Volkswagen partnership talks, it was said that the Perdana Replacement Model was going to be based on a stretched wheelbase Volkswagen Passat platform. Proton had wanted to buy the Passat and Sharan platforms for a new Perdana and an MPV model respectively. There was even an artist’s impression on what the Passat Perdana would look like. Of course, that never materialised.

Of course, April 2007 is a tentative date. You know how things are with launch dates, after all Malaysian can’t even arrive at weddings or mamak on time, what launch more a car. :D The good news is, I would say a Japanese platform Perdana would be more well-received by the public than a continental platform Perdana due to the general conception that continentals have high maintenance costs. Let’s just see what happens.

Update: Apparently Proton’s MPV project is a venture with PSA Peugeot-Citroen, according to this report by StarBiz.


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