Yesterday, it was reported that Proton’s partner in Pakistan, Al-Haj Automotive, was in the process of introducing a range of Proton vehicles, including the Saga facelift, which is currently being tested and will be the first Proton model to be introduced in that market.

Now, CarSpiritPK reports that the Saga that will be sold in Pakistan will feature a different, downsized engine in order to secure improved tax benefits. The car will still feature a 1.3 litre engine, but this will have a displacement of 1,299 cc to bring the car into a lower tax structure, which will make the car cheaper to sell.

The Saga’s existing S4PE 1.3 litre VVT mill has a 1,332 cc displacement, so this could well be a cylinder resleeve job to meet the capacity requirements, or it could be an entirely fresh engine altogether, coming from Geely. That’s because the Chinese automaker has a 1,299 cc four-pot called the 4G13 (no, it’s not a Mitsubishi, despite the familiar model code), available in both turbocharged and normally-aspirated forms.

In its NA guise, the Geely unit offers 87 hp and 120 Nm, which isn’t far from the S4PE’s 95 PS and 120 Nm. Either way, a Hyundai-sourced four-speed automatic and a five-speed manual will remain the partnering transmission choices. The report adds that development of the new 1,299 cc unit is expected to be completed by May this year, following which mass production will begin.

The X70 is another Proton model that has been earmarked for Pakistan, and will apparently be sold there from 2021 with a 174 hp and 255 Nm 1.5 litre turbo engine used by other Geely and Volvo models, and not the 181 hp/300 Nm 1.8 litre turbo unit in our CKD X70, again to secure tax benefits. Like our X70, the partnering transmission will be a seven-speed dual-clutch unit, which replaces the previous conventional six-speed auto.

In March last year, Proton announced that it would be setting up a local assembly plant in Pakistan, which will be owned and operated by Al-Haj. The factory in Karachi is being built with an initial investment of US$30 million (RM126 million), and is expected to commence operations before the end of this year. As part of the agreement, Al-Haj will be the sole distributor for Proton vehicles in Pakistan.