Photos of the Geely Boyue at Proton service centres and dealer conferences have surfaced on a Facebook page recently. This hints at the fact that not only is development of the national carmaker’s first ever SUV – set to go on sale by the end of the year – well underway, but the company is also already hard at work preparing its sales and service network in anticipation.

One of those photos allegedly shows a finished right-hand drive prototype, something that was picked up by a few news outlets. However, all is not what it seems – look closely and you’ll see that the “P-R-N-D” gear selector layout display is back-to-front, as are the buttons. This, then, is a flipped image.

That’s not surprising, given that a previous report stated that a right-hand drive version of the Boyue will only be ready for testing in October, once both the conversion and the certification from the necessary authorities are completed. The process, which includes getting approval from both ASEAN NCAP and the Scientific and Industrial Research Institute of Malaysia (SIRIM), is expected to take at least a year.

Fake “right-hand drive” Geely Boyue (left), original left-hand drive model (right)

In any case, converting a left-hand drive car to a right-hand drive one isn’t as simple as moving the steering wheel and pedals to the correct side. Aside from a completely new dashboard, switchgear, power window buttons and even the front seats, there would also need to be changes to the mechanicals as well.

Often, the engine and gearbox of a left-hand drive car is in the way of where the steering column would be on a right-hand drive one, so things would need to be moved around to fit. As a result, developing a right-hand drive version of a car originally designed for left-hand drive use takes a lot of time and effort, as the last thing you’d want is a bad conversion.

Forget the aftermarket kits used on American cars, such as the CKD Ford F-150 sold by Hamawangsa Kredit, or French cars with the bonnet release and fuse box (resulting in a tiny glovebox) on the wrong side – even a company with the industrial might of Mercedes-Benz can be guilty of subpar right-hand drive conversions, with off-centre steering wheels and cramped footwells.

To recap, the Geely Boyue is a five-seater midsize SUV designed to compete with the likes of the Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5. Depending on the market, it is available with either a 2.0 litre naturally-aspirated engine, a 2.4 litre one or a 1.8 litre turbo, but the latter – which makes 181 hp and 285 Nm when paired to a six-speed torque converter automatic transmission – is the most likely candidate for our market.

It’s also available with a whole host of gadgets including a digital instrument display, an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, voice control, adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning, among others. Read our first impressions review here.

GALLERY: Geely Boyue