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Proton chairman Tun Mahathir has declared that all Proton models will soon adhere to the Euro 5 emissions standard. Sounds like good news, right? But that’s not all that he said.

“We have not reached Euro 5 (standards) yet. Not that we cannot, but the costs involved are high. That’s the problem. People still think that Proton cars are low tech and cheap. Now, that’s no longer true,” he told the press today.

Tun M further explained that, “soon, all Proton cars will be Euro 5, but it will take time. Then, prices will go up, but I’m confident that those who drive Proton cars now will feel just how much the performance has improved. We’ve certainly made progress, on par with other automotive brands.

“At the moment, Malaysia is not quite ready for a slightly more expensive, but higher tech Proton. Our Iriz EV can go up to more than 300 km on a single charge, which is higher than other EVs that are more expensive, and with bigger battery packs. But prices will not be cheap,” he added.

Proton has plans to export the Iriz EV to the European markets, with the assistance of electric vehicle tax breaks in certain countries. “This will also allow us to export our existing cars that don’t yet adhere to Euro 5 standard, with the help of models with zero emissions,” concluded the company founder.

The Proton Iriz that is currently sold meets Euro 4 regulations, said Tun M at the B-segment hatchback’s launch almost exactly a year ago. Back then, he mentioned that “meeting Euro 5 requires a new engine. We may have to source the engine from abroad so as to comply with Euro 5 standards.”

We found out shortly after that the foreign powerplant under consideration is actually a diesel engine. It was mentioned last year that the Iriz would be exported to the UK, Australia and Europe. The company has since gone quiet on this matter, so we’ll have to wait and see if any of it will come to fruition.

Speaking of current Proton prices, Tun Mahathir commented that “now with the (Malaysian) currency down, import and material costs are higher. We will still try to maintain the prices, but I don’t know for how long. I think other companies are also suffering.”