Proton has announced that it has kicked off local assembly trials for the X70 SUV. The CKD version of the car is slated to be built at the national carmaker’s new RM1.2 billion assembly plant in Tanjung Malim in the second half of this year.

While the final trim, paint and assembly lines are still in the midst of being completed (which means that no actual production has been performed), the company said it has been able begin semi-automated test runs in order for its engineers and production workers to gain experience in assembling the car. This “test assembly” was alluded to in an interview with Proton chairman Datuk Seri Syed Faisal Albar earlier this year.

“Proton aims to start the production of the X70 in Tanjung Malim in the second half of this year so we are working hard to ensure we hit the target. It will be a remarkable achievement as in less than two years since the signing of the agreement between DRB-Hicom and Geely, we have reached a significant milestone in our joint effort to return Proton to its position of prominence,” said Syed Faisal.

The car you see in this photo looks practically identical to the current fully-imported (CBU) version of the X70, and as such is not representative of the finalised CKD car. We’ve previously been told that we can expect some “surprises” when it comes to differences between CBU and CKD, so we’ll have to wait a bit longer for proper details of the latter.

The announcement was made during a visit by China’s minister of industry and information technology Miao Wei, accompanied by Zhejiang Geely Holding chairman Li Shufu and senior Proton executives.

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