One of the big new additions to Proton’s upcoming new engine family is the adoption of a timing chain, replacing the belt that has been used since the national carmaker started out rebadging Mitsubishis. We’re aware of those of you who have been clamouring for Proton to use a timing chain for the longest time, but what is exactly so great about it, and why only now?

The reason why it has taken so long, according to Proton’s chief technical officer Abdul Rashid Musa, is that Mitsubishi – which Proton had learned how to design and build engines from – had used timing belts for its engines until a few years ago, and as such, Proton followed suit as well. But Rashid admitted that market demands and technology trends have influenced the company to do the switch.

As for the advantages, Rashid said that they were as much about actual reliability and serviceability – timing chains tend to last the life of the engine with very little maintenance – as the perception of reliability. He added that the public has been very critical of Proton for certain decisions, like continuing to use timing belts – even though other brands use it too – and that the company needed to do things perfectly under the scrutiny of the public eye.