Proton has confirmed that the new Proton Perdana will be launched next year, the first of three new models that the national carmaker will bring to market in 2016. Unlike today’s Perdana, which is only for government official use, the upcoming Perdana will have an in-house design and will be sold to the Malaysian public.

This was revealed in an StarBizWeek interview with Proton chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Proton CEO Datuk Abdul Harith Abdullah that was published over the weekend.

“The new design – we invited a lot of vendors, and foreign and local visitors. When we take off the cover – wow! That is the reaction we get. Syed Mokhtar (DRB owner Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary) has acquired an aircraft company which also has the capacity to design cars. So they are also working with us. So, everything is being brought in to help Proton to produce quality cars,” Tun M said.

“You see, they (Proton engineers) have the capacity and the skills. But they were not asked to. The easy way out is to farm it to somebody else. For example, the car designed by Italdesign Giugiaro – we spent a lot of money. Now, we do ourselves,” he added, confirming that the last-gen Honda Accord-based sedan will have an in-house design.

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Posted by Amru Najmi Osman on Monday, 15 June 2015

DRB-Hicom group MD Tan Sri Khamil Jamil told us some time back that the commercially available Perdana will have a new interior and exterior that will set it apart from the donor Accord. Today’s Perdana is a straightforward rebadge job.

Last month, a video showing Tun flying a drone at the Perdana Leadership Foundation building showed a big sedan in the background with its rear taped up. We suspect that it could be the new Proton Perdana brought there for, or used by, the Proton chairman.

We’re expecting the Perdana to launch next year with Honda powertrains, unless a new Proton-Petronas engine is ready by then. Proton acquired all of Petronas’ engine technologies and associated patents for RM63 million in 2012, and we were told last year that direct injection and turbo direct injection are among the acquired tech, and that they “can be applied to all engines.”

It’s also reasonable to expect quality and luxury from the new Perdana, as the flagship has been mentioned in the same breath as Infiniti and Lexus. “For high end cars – Nissan has Infiniti, Toyota has Lexus. The Perdana will be our high end car,” Tun Mahathir said.

Current Proton Perdana – for government use only