With the Proton X50 having finally been launched, the public’s attention now turns to the next upcoming model. The company’s chief executive officer Li Chunrong has already said that Proton is capable of launching one new product every year, and speculation is rife that the national carmaker is preparing either an S50 sedan, a V70 MPV or an X90 SUV as its next car for a 2021 launch.

Thanks to a company presentation last year, we already have a rough idea of what should come next – a new sedan in 2021 and 2022, then another SUV in 2023. But these timescales are far from set in stone; it was previously projected that an MPV based on the Geely Jiaji would be the first to arrive this year, and we all know how that turned out.

Proton S50 C-segment sedan

So let’s talk about the cars that are being rumoured. The S50 is tipped to be a rebadged Binrui, slotting above the Persona and competing in the C-segment market. It would certainly make sense – after all, Proton hasn’t had an entry here since the Prevé was discontinued a couple of years ago.

However, the C-segment sedan market is on a decline, and the Honda Civic dominates what little sales volume is left. The Binrui is at least based on the same B-segment Modular Architecture (BMA) as the X50, which should make tooling the Tanjung Malim plant easier and amortise the cost. If it does come to market, the S50 could be the next recipient of the 1.5 litre turbocharged MPI three-cylinder that debuted in the X50.

A new sedan model is already tipped to be next in line for Proton

Proton V70 large MPV

The next car on this list is the one that should have been launched this year – the V70, based on the aforementioned Jiaji. Proton’s hesitance in building the MPV is understandable, given that such a model would be much too big and expensive (likely pricier even than an X70) to be a genuine replacement for the ageing Exora. Proton desperately needs higher sales volumes to meet its lofty targets – volumes that this car probably won’t generate.

At this juncture we should also point out that the while the S50 name has already been trademarked by Proton, the V70 moniker belongs to Volvo and was last used on the predecessor to the V90 wagon. Of course, both Proton and Volvo are owned by Geely, so it’s possible that the two companies could work out some kind of agreement if the national carmaker truly wanted the name.

Proton X90 seven-seater SUV

A more plausible alternative to the V70 would be the Haoyue-based X90. Like the V70, this car would be a seven-seater, but in a more trendy SUV format – a body style that Proton itself has stated it has staked its future on. The Haoyue has also been designed for Southeast Asian buyers in mind and has already been launched in the Philippines as the Okavango, so it’s clear that the car has potential. The only question is if there is a market for an SUV that is larger and more expensive than the X70.

Proton S70 D-segment sedan

The rumour mill also suggested that an S70 based on the new Preface is one of the possible options, but we’d take it with a heavy pinch of salt. The D-segment sedan market has all but flatlined, and the last Proton model to compete, the Honda Accord-based Perdana, was a dismal sales failure. The Precept may be one of the best-looking cars to have come from Geely, but also the least likely to be turned into a Proton.

Major facelifts for the Iriz and Persona are also expected next year

All this speculation doesn’t take into account the struggles Proton has had in matching initial production targets for the new X50, let alone meeting the huge demand. Currently, the waiting list runs anywhere between three to six months, possibly longer. Given the situation, it may be wise for the company to hold off introducing new models and focus on stabilising supply for the X70 and X50.

Proton Iriz and Persona facelift

As for updates to the rest of the lineup, we’re expecting the Iriz hatchback and Persona sedan to receive their second facelifts soon, as hinted by the bevy of recent spyshots. These images show that there are some major exterior design changes incoming (including larger wheels and perhaps some X50-inspired design cues), and there are also rumoured to be some interior switchgear changes and even the Saga‘s Hyundai-sourced four-speed automatic gearbox to replace the oft-maligned Punch CVT.

So, what do you think – which one of these possible future Protons are you most looking forward to, and what other new products would you like to see? Sound off in the comments after the jump.

GALLERY: Geely Binrui


GALLERY: Geely Jiaji
GALLERY: Geely Haoyue
GALLERY: Geely Preface