The big news today is the reveal of the Proton X70, the brand’s first SUV. Proton pulled the wraps off the Geely Boyue-based C-segment SUV at its Centre of Excellence in Shah Alam this morning for a media preview, and you can read all about the new model here.

The first batch of the Proton X70 will be CBU imports, made by Geely in China. Proton’s Tanjung Malim plant is currently undergoing preparations to produce the X70, and that will start in the middle of next year, according to Yoshiya Inamori, Proton’s VP of manufacturing.

The reality is that quality of China-made goods have improved by leaps and bounds, but there’s still a stigma when it comes to cars from the country. Inamori, a Mitsubishi veteran, implied that Geely’s quality is well ahead of Proton’s by saying that the Malaysian company is “coming to Geely’s level,” which itself is “close to Volvo’s level.” More on Inamori’s views on Proton’s quality and improvement initiatives here.

Deputy CEO Datuk Radzaif Mohamed adds that Proton has sent over 500 engineers (on top of the designers) to Geely to not just learn the technical aspects when it comes to quality, but also to “bring back the working culture.” He confirmed to that Proton will be the global production hub for not just the Malaysian market X70, but potential right-hand drive export markets, where it’s likely to be Proton badged.

GALLERY: Proton X70 colours

GALLERY: Geely Boyue 1.8L TGDi facelift