Here’s a break from our Auto Shanghai 2013 coverage, and the topic is none other than our national carmaker Proton. The Star reports that Proton is expected to reveal a series of announcements in the next 12 months, including updates on the collaboration with Honda and the launch of new models.
Besides the expected arrival of the P3-22A Preve Hatchback, of which disguised units have been spotted testing frequently by our readers, the report touches on a Perdana replacement model (PRM). The PRM will be a fruit of the Proton-Honda collaboration agreement that came to surface last October.
UPDATE: The Honda Accord-based Proton Perdana Replacement Model (PRM) has been spotted on the road, see all the spyshots here.
The daily’s unidentified source said that Proton has plans to use the Honda Accord chassis as the basis for PRM, but the Proton model would look different. There was no mention whether the Accord in question is the new one recently launched in Thailand, or the outgoing Accord currently on sale here.
“The PRM, though based on the Accord, would still entail cosmetic changes, and the engine could be based on the 2.0 litre Petronas engines Proton bought last year,” he said.
In December 2012, Proton acquired all of Petronas’ engine technologies as well as the associated technology patents at a cost of RM63 million. The deal encompasses seven engine technologies as well as 117 technology patents.
Back then, Proton chairman Datuk Seri Khamil Jamil was quoted in a Bernama report as saying that the acquisition gives his company immediate ownership of a family of normally-aspirated engines and turbocharged 2.0 litre engines, as well as a 2.2 litre turbocharged version to complement its existing Campro engine line-up. Click here for the full story.
The newspaper’s mystery source adds that Honda’s expansion in Malaysia will need a higher degree of localisation, which in turn will include the stamping of parts, and there are only a few companies in the Malaysia that are capable of doing so. “It is natural for Honda to choose Proton as a partner based on the long working relationship between Honda and DRB-Hicom,” he added.
Before Proton and Honda decided to work together, the national carmaker entered into a MoU with Nissan in March 2011 to conduct feasibility studies on areas of cooperation, including the potential use of Nissan platforms and powertrains. It was also rumoured that the Perdana replacement model will be based on the Nissan Fuga, but that, and the wider Proton-Nissan relationship didn’t work out.
The aborted Fuga-Perdana deal was said to be for high-level government official use only, unlike the earlier Lancer-Inspira deal with Mitsubishi. So if there’s truth in the Accord-Perdana speculation, we might or might not be able to buy a “Proton Accodana” with a cheaper price. Time will tell.