proton vitara theo 1

First things first. There’s no Proton-badged SUV based on a Suzuki planned, none that we know of at least. These renderings of the “Proton Vitara” are among the things that rendering wiz Theophilus Chin does for fun. This Preve-grilled object is based not on the Suzuki Grand Vitara that we know, but the B-segment Vitara that made its debut at Paris 2014 (it’s known as the Escudo in its domestic market).

Why not, some might ask. Proton has never had an SUV in its range before, although the national carmaker did come up with an SUV concept car in 2010, and the Iriz Active concept, which follows the VW Cross Polo and Hyundai i20 Active template. Perodua’s Terios-based Kembara was popular back in the day, and compact SUVs are the in-thing these days.

But in the current climate, Proton should really focus on its bread and butter segments, and the move to rebadge the Suzuki Ertiga MPV is a more practical project. Confirmed by PT Suzuki Indomobil Sales (SIS) last week, the knocked down packs of the three-row, seven-seat SUV will be reaching Port Klang from the second quarter of 2016.

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It has been reported that SIS will export 1,500 units of the Ertiga to Proton per month. Production of the knocked down kits headed for Malaysia will start at SIS’ factory in Cikarang from May this year. Proton had previously announced that the first Proton-Suzuki joint model will enter production before the end of 2016.

In Indonesia, the Ertiga – which competes in the Low-MPV segment against the market-leading Toyota Avanza and Honda Mobilio – is powered by a 1.4 litre engine with 92 PS and 130 Nm of torque, and the K14B motor is paired to a five-speed manual and four-speed automatic gearbox.

Read the full “Proton Ertiga” story here.

GALLERY: Renderings of Proton-badged MPV based on the Suzuki Ertiga

GALLERY: Suzuki Vitara at Paris 2014
GALLERY: Suzuki Escudo at Tokyo Motor Show 2015