Proton X70 SUV Archive

  • Proton X70 – CKD trials kick off, production in 2nd half

    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.

     
     
  • Proton X70: New OTA update for head unit detailed

    There’s a new over-the-air (OTA) update for the Proton X70‘s head unit, this time addressing a few issues that some owners may have been experiencing recently. The new 2.4.0 version lists 10 updates, of which are shown exactly as the picture above.

    Notable upgrades include the removal of the “Locate Me” voice control function, wifi bandwidth channel adjustments (should make wifi connections more stable after updating), and improved air-con flow to the front seats. The GPS navigation has also been updated, now featuring “Home” address setting, improved 4G signal accuracy, and the addition of Point of Interest (POI) list.

    Thankfully, the update also takes away voice reporting when switching between drive modes (someone’s been watching Driven Web Series!). Version 2.4.0 is available for update with immediate effect – do note that the file size is quite substantial at 786 MB, although the good news is it won’t eat into your data quota.

    Also, as part of its Hari Raya promo, Proton is offering 50% extra internet data for owners who top up from now till July 5. However, do note that this only applies to cars fitted with the latest touchscreen head unit, namely the Proton X70 range, the Persona Premium, Iriz Premium and newly-launched Exora Premium.

     
     
  • DRIVEN: Proton X70 SUV review – it’s worth the hype

    This is it. The one you’ve all been waiting for. The Proton X70 SUV has been the talk of the town ever since it was introduced to much fanfare late last year, and doubtless you’ll want to know how it drives. Well, the wait is now over – you’ve already seen our Driven Web Series episode where we put it against the Honda CR-V and Subaru XV, but for those who’d prefer a written assessment, you’ve come to the right place.

    Ever since Proton inked a partnership agreement with Chinese conglomerate Geely in 2017, a mid-sized SUV had always been earmarked as the first product to come from the collaboration. The X70, then, is not just a litmus test for the public’s readiness to buy a Proton again – after years of dwindling sales – but also for the Sino-Malaysian joint venture as a whole.

    That’s a lot of weight to heap onto the shoulders of one vehicle, and that’s before you consider the war zone it is wading into. The RM100k to RM150k bracket of SUVs is absolutely cutthroat at the moment, the Japanese dominating the segment of the market that sees various different models of all shapes and sizes slugging it out for your attention. That’s a tall order for a Malaysian newcomer, Chinese underpinnings or not.

    Yes, we’ve read your comments. How can Proton sell a car above the RM100,000 mark when there are so many other vehicles to choose from – all from more established, trustworthy brands? Well, having driven the X70 for a few days, I can tell you straightaway that it’s well worth the asking price, and then some.

    Read the full review of the Proton X70 here.

     
     
  • Proton X70 SUV – development of CKD model largely led by Malaysian team, to get “unique differences”

    Earlier last month at the Malaysia Autoshow 2019, we spoke with Proton chief designer Azlan Othman on the facelifted Persona and Iriz, and we also scratched the surface on the imminent arrival of the locally-assembled Proton X70.

    From the interview, Azlan revealed that the CKD X70 will feature several uniqueness that is not present on the CBU version, and added that “there will be some surprises.” Azlan also said much of what we see today – in terms of kit – will continue to be available. The CKD X70 is expected to be launched towards the end of this year.

    “In developing the CKD version, the vast majority of it is actually done here in Malaysia, because we’ve already worked long and hard on the CBU version. With the knowledge and the connection that we have with the team in Shanghai, it’s very easy for us to move on the CKD version – so we’re taking the lead,” he explained.

    On the matter of the amount of local content that will be used for the CKD X70, DRB-Hicom managing director Datuk Syed Faisal Akbar said no percentages have been revealed for now. “However, features such as the GKUI infotainment system will be updated and revised for local users,” he added.

    In terms of the X70’s design, Azlan said “Geely has been a very, very good partner. They’ve taken us into the family and being much, much more open compared to our past experiences. We’ve been accepted into the (Geely) family, hence communication is much easier from a design standpoint.” This makes design development easier between Proton and Geely.

    In fact, the Proton Design team has even been invited to work on some of Geely’s own products. “I think that shows you the acceptance and openness of the Geely group,” said Othman, although he wasn’t at liberty to specify the said projects. Interestingly, the vehicles in question could even be used for Proton and Geely in their respective markets.

    More importantly, Azlan said Proton is actively in talks with Geely over future plans and products. “There are many things that we’re going to bring out in the future,” he said, adding that now is the “best time” for Proton.

    Despite having inputs from other Geely design studios (the group has a total of five scattered around the world), Othman said Proton will continue to retain its own unique identity. “We’re currently in a situation where you have the Geely-based products and the legacy Proton products. They’re reaching a crossroad, and the X70 is the first of the Geely-based products.”

    “But we want to maintain a collaborative development, so there’s no such thing as one following the other in that sense. Peter Horbury said he wants Proton to retain its own unique identity, and we will stay true to that. We will work in tandem to ensure that there is no overlap in terms of design,” he added.

     
     
  • Proton X70 CKD plans on schedule – launch this year

    According to DRB-Hicom managing director Datuk Syed Faisal Akbar, the planned introduction of the locally-assembled (CKD) Proton X70 is currently on schedule, and will take place this year. When it is launched, the CKD version of the X70 will replace fully-imported (CBU) units that are currently still on sale.

    “The upgrading works and preparation of Proton’s plant in Tanjung Malim to support local assembly of the X70 is going as planned and almost completed. Following that, test assembly of the vehicle will commence as well as fine tuning the processes to ensure quality is at its best. Similarly, all vendors involved are being prepared for this purpose,” said Syed Faisal.

    On the matter of the amount of local content that will be used for the X70 CKD, no percentages have been revealed for now. “However, features such as the GKUI infotainment system will be updated and revised for local users,” he added. As an example, the maps used for the navigation function in CBU cars is based on a Baidu version developed in China.

    When asked if DRB-Hicom is continuing to invest in Proton after Geely became the national carmaker’s strategic partner, Syed Faisal explained that all investments into Proton together with Geely is done in two ways.

    The first is based on the percentage of shareholdings and interest, which involves both companies – DRB-Hicom (50.1%) and Geely (49.9%). The second way, being the main method of investing, is through bank loans. In other words, both stakeholders are directly involved in investing in Proton.

    This post is adapted from an article posted on our sister site paultan.org/BM.

     
     
  • Proton ends Q1 2019 with record figures – 2,979 X70 sold in March, highest ever SUV sales in M’sian history

    Proton has ended the first quarter of 2019 on a high, with 6,145 vehicles registered in March alone, representing a market share or 11%, which is a 2.6% improvement over the same month in 2018. For comparison’s sake, the national carmaker sold 5,283 units in February, and 7,007 cars in January.

    What’s more, Proton recorded a 46.1% increase in vehicle registrations in March (vs March 2018), which it says is equivalent to a growth rate nearly four times higher than the industry as a whole. Compared to the first three months of 2018, Proton’s cumulative sales figure for Q1 2019 increased by 43.5%, while the TIV only grew by 6.7%. Proton claims that this puts it ahead of all its rival brands in terms of growth, along with a sizeable lead over the fourth best-selling automotive brand in Malaysia (Toyota).

    Proton CEO, Dr Li Chunrong said, “the numbers posted by Proton in 2019 is the direct result of hard work put in at every level of the company. These achievements are possible due to the growth in the number of 3S/4S outlets, an increase in product quality, refocusing on customer service and improvements in many other areas. With the forthcoming launch of our updated models later this year, Proton is confident its investment in the business will continue to benefit sales growth.”


    The X70 SUV is the most popular Proton model in the line-up for 2019, with nearly 10,000 units sold since its launch in December 2018

    To break the numbers down, 2,979 units of the Proton X70 were registered in March. The figure represents a new record for the Malaysian auto industry for the most registrations ever obtained by an SUV in a single month, according to the company. It’s also the most popular SUV for the first three months of the year, with 8,579 units sold so far in 2019. Total registrations for the X70 from its launch late last year now stand at 9,906 units, with over 25,000 bookings received to date.

    “With delivery numbers of the Proton X70 increasing, we are hopeful of being able to reduce waiting times for our customers. At the same time, we are working diligently to ensure each unit we deliver is perfect as our aim is for our new SUV to be the highest rated vehicle for the Initial Quality Study rankings for Malaysia in 2019,” added Dr Li.

    As for dealer network, Proton currently has 75 3S/4S outlets spread across the country, and it claims to lead all automotive brands in terms of numbers of such outlets.

    “One of the reasons why sales are increasing is the number of 3S/4S outlets in Proton’s network. We have proven that these outlets are very effective at attracting new and current customers to our brand as they are able to deliver a premium sales and after sales service experience. Therefore, we will be adding more such outlets in 2019 in preparation for the introduction of our future models,” Dr Li noted.

     
     
  • Driven Web Series 2019: New Proton SUV against rivals – Proton X70 vs Honda CR-V vs Subaru XV

    Driven Web Series returns for another instalment, powered by Petronas. For the first episode of 2019, we’re talking SUVs, and this trio is sure to pique your interest, especially since it involves the newly launched Proton X70, the popular Honda CR-V and the capable Subaru XV.

    The national carmaker’s first SUV has been the talk of the town ever since it went on sale back in December 2018. With prices starting from RM99,800, there are four variants of the X70 to pick from, all powered by a 1.8 litre turbocharged engine. This particular unit is the top-of-the-range Premium 2WD that goes for RM123,800, which packs a rather impressive amount of safety equipment.

    Of course, the X70 will have to compete against a big name in the SUV segment, the CR-V. Honda’s offering is not only the market leader but is widely regarded as the benchmark for C-segment SUVs in Malaysia. Lest we forget, the CR-V also managed to edge out the Mazda CX-5 and Peugeot 3008 in a previous episode, which you can watch below – this explains the CX-5’s absence against the X70, which many commenters have asked about.

    Well, the CR-V is back again, and the range-topping 1.5TC Premium 2WD variant makes it the costliest model in this line-up, retailing at RM163,191. Like its Proton counterpart, a turbocharged engine powers the CR-V as well, albeit a smaller-capacity one at 1.5 litres, and its Honda Sensing suite comes feature packed.

    Of course, the issue of pricing is something that car buyers are very sensitive about, and with a RM40k gap between the Honda and Proton, we thought we’d bring in something priced a little closer to the X70.

    Enter our final entrant, the Subaru XV, which in 2.0i-P guise, is priced at RM126,788, making it a legitimate alternative to the X70. The XV is a smaller car compared to others in this line-up, and it also has a significantly different skillset.

    For starters, there’s a 2.0 litre naturally-aspirated boxer engine instead of a turbo in-line four, and while the Proton and Honda are front-wheel drive, the Subaru packs the brand’s well-known Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system.

    So, what are the strengths and shortcomings of these SUVs? Well, we’ll answer them in this video and hopefully, you’ll identify which one suits your lifestyle best. Now, grab a drink, a snack, a friend, a family member, and enjoy the first episode of 2019 of Driven Web Series. Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments section below. Happy watching!


    GALLERY: Proton X70 1.8 TGDi Premium 2WD
    GALLERY: Honda CR-V 1.5 TC Premium 2WD
    GALLERY: Subaru XV 2.0i-P AWD

     
     
  • Proton X70 – 15,000 bookings, 2,000 units delivered

    Customer interest in the Proton X70 continues unabated, with the national automaker having received more than 15,000 bookings for the SUV since it was officially launched on December 12 last year. To date, over 2,000 units have been delivered to customers in the five weeks since the car was introduced, and the company says that it is working to accelerate the delivery rate in the coming months.

    “Proton is very thankful for the support Malaysians have shown for the X70 and we are repaying their faith by trying to deliver units as quickly as we can. This is the start the company was looking for and we hope to keep the momentum going for our other activities throughout the year,” said Proton deputy CEO Datuk Radzaif Mohamed.

    Presently, the X70 is being sold as a fully imported (CBU) model from China, and is available in four variants with prices starting from RM99,800. Local assembly (CKD) of the SUV is slated to begin around October 2019 once plant expansion initiatives at Proton’s Tanjung Malim site are completed.

    The national carmaker had announced last year that it will be investing RM1.2 billion to upgrade its Tanjung Malim facility, which will produce the X70 and next-generation Proton models.

    GALLERY: Proton X70 Premium 2WD

    GALLERY: Proton X70 Standard 2WD

     
     
  • Proton X70 SUV – between 200-300 bookings daily since launch; CKD production could start in Oct 2019

    Reception to the Proton X70 SUV has been encouraging following its official launch on December 12, with about 200 to 300 bookings being made daily. This is according to Proton Edar CEO Datuk Abdul Rashid Musa in a report by Bernama.

    “Strong support has continued, and this has been the best response received by Proton for a long time,” said Abdul Rashid Musa, who also noted that over 60% of the bookings made were for the range-topping Premium 2WD variant. Since the model’s launch, over 15,000 bookings have been recorded by the national carmaker.

    For now, the X70 is being sold as a fully imported (CBU) model from China, and is available in four variants with prices starting from RM99,800. Local assembly (CKD) of the SUV is slated to begin around October 2019 after plant expansion initiatives at Proton’s Tanjung Malim site are completed.

    The national carmaker previously announced it will invest RM1.2 billion to upgrade its Tanjung Malim facility, which will produce the X70 and next-generation Proton models. Set to be completed by March 2019, the plant will have a capacity of 150,000 annually.

    Abdul Rashid Musa said that Proton could sell as many X70 CBU units as allowed under approved permits while the Tanjung Malim facility is being prepared to X70 CKD production.

    GALLERY: Proton X70 Standard 2WD

     
     
  • Proton Edar CEO Datuk Abdul Rashid Musa shares his thoughts on the challenges in pricing, selling the X70

    The launch of the Proton X70 in mid-December was certainly the talk of the town for Malaysians, and brings an end to a lengthy pre-launch campaign that included multiple previews and teasers spread across several months.

    In any case, the national carmaker’s first-ever SUV model is finally here and is being offered with four variants – Standard 2WD, Executive 2WD, Executive AWD and Premium 2WD – with prices starting from RM99,800 on-the-road without insurance.

    As we’ve noticed time and again, a vehicle’s pricing is always a major talking point among the general public, and the X70 is not excluded from this. Based on the almost 300 comments posted in our launch story, some sang praises for what Proton was offering with the X70, while others had their doubts.

    So, with the opinions of the public clearly put forward, it’s time to find out what Proton’s take on the X70 after the model’s introduction. For that, we spoke to Datuk Abdul Rashid Musa, chief executive officer at Proton Edar, to gather his thoughts on the issue of pricing and the challenges involved in selling the X70.

    Datuk Abdul Rashid Musa, chief executive officer at Proton Edar

    Congratulations on the official launching of the Proton X70. Now that it has been officially revealed can you tell us why Proton chose such a long pre-launch campaign for its first SUV?

    Datuk Abdul Rashid Musa (DARM): Thank you for complementing our launch and thank you for your attendance. It was a very long journey from when we started testing the X70 to get to where we are now and along the way we embarked on several campaigns including giving sneak previews while we were still testing left-hand-drive (LHD) models.

    Proton could have released limited details and waited for the launch before we revealed everything but with the X70, we felt we needed time to win the hearts and minds of customers who may not be comfortable with the idea of buying a premium Proton SUV. Therefore we staggered the release of information and held previews to keep customer interest high. We then opened our order book early and I think the strategy has been proven to be effective based on the number of bookings we received prior to the launch.

    The deliberate build up also allowed Proton to show Malaysians we are not treating this as just another new model launch. There were numerous activities in the run-up period, from the opening of new 3S/4S outlets, to the matching of local and overseas vendors to running an extensive training programme to ensure sales and service staff were familiar with the vehicle, we did as much as possible so that customers would get a holistic premium brand experience with the product as well as at our outlets.

    The price has attracted a lot of attention and many say the Premium 2WD variant offers excellent value for money. However, some are also saying the Standard 2WD variant is too expensive. What is your comment about this?

    DARM: The price of the Proton X70 was set by taking into consideration many different factors. I have read the comments and opinions posted on social media and on the various websites so please allow me some leeway for a thorough explanation.

    Firstly, while Proton does not deny the X70 is based on the SUV (Boyue) from our joint venture partner Geely, a lot of development work had to be undertaken to create our first SUV. There are hundreds of different parts our customers do not see as taking a vehicle designed as a LHD model only and adapting it to a right-hand-drive (RHD) version is a huge undertaking.

    This isn’t the same as when Proton launched its first car as our partner at the time primarily produced RHD cars. So, with the X70, not only did we have to learn about an all-new vehicle segment but Geely also needed to learn about developing a vehicle for RHD markets.

    Secondly, the X70 is currently exclusively produced for the Malaysian market. Going forward, we will be exporting it but for now, Malaysia is the only country where it is sold. So, while we are very bullish about how many we can sell, our annual volume is roughly equivalent to slightly over one month of sales for the equivalent model in China. Therefore, production costs are naturally higher as there is less economies of scale and don’t forget, it also doesn’t share a single component with any other Proton model.

    There are other costs involved too aside from the bill of material (BOM) costs. Shipping and handling for instance needs to be added and you also have to consider the investment Proton and its dealers have to make in specialised tools, training and upgrading of the network of outlets. As a whole therefore, developing, manufacturing and launching the Proton X70 has been a costlier undertaking than many realise.

    So, now that we have established a cost base we can consider the price of the Standard variant. Critics say we priced it too high but looking at the extensive specification list, we feel the pricing is justified. Despite its positioning, it gets six SRS airbags, Auto Brake Hold, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control System (TCS), Hill Hold Assist (HHA), Hill Descent Control (HDC) and Emergency Stop Signal (ESS).

    It also gets a 1.8 TGDI engine, LCD combination meter, auto dual-zone air conditioning, air purifier, six USB ports and the advanced Global Key User Interface (GKUI) system that features an embedded eSIM card, preloaded apps and voice recognition. This is paired to an 8-inch Android-based touchscreen interface with a 1280×720 full colour display with 32 GB of internal memory space and allows for remote control of certain features on the X70 via the Proton Link app. It is also Wi-Fi enabled to allow for mobile hotspot capability.

    Add the extensive equipment list to the costs involved for Proton to bring the X70 to Malaysia and does the price still look too expensive? I’ll accept, many have a different view about value because we are Proton, but if this SUV wore a Japanese or European brand badge on the nose, everybody would rave about the value for money it offered.

    Proton will have to accept this limitation for now but don’t forget, this is the starting point to a new model and brand experience offensive that will bring Proton upmarket while maintaining our role as a national car maker that builds cars for Malaysians.

    That explanation makes a lot of sense but having explained about the position of the brand, can Proton then expect to sell many units of the X70 for RM123,800?

    DARM: That’s a good question and quite honestly there was some doubt internally about how the market would receive a premium priced Proton. However, I can confirm the vast majority of our pre-launch bookings has been for the Premium variant, which shows buyers are attracted to the higher equipment levels of this model and are of the opinion it is worth the extra cost.

    If you take a closer look at the specifications, paying an extra RM24,000 over the Standard 2WD variant nets a lot of extra items. Externally, for instance, the wheels grow in size to 19-inch alloys wrapped in Continental tyres while the headlamps are now LED projectors with daytime running lamps (DRL).

    Inside, the seats are trimmed in premium Nappa leather with power adjustment for the front seats including a ‘boss’ switch function while the sound system is upgraded to a nine-speaker system with a power amplifier and subwoofer. Of course, the most noticeable feature is the full-length panoramic sun roof that can be operated via voice command.

    The majority of the extra equipment though comes in the form of our Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS). The 360-degree camera is also available on the Executive 2WD variant and if you go one level up, the Executive AWD variant adds on a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) too. The Premium 2WD variant however, also gets Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), Door Opening Warning System (DOW) and Intelligent High Beam Control (IHBC).

    Admittedly, there are now quite a number of vehicles in the market offering a similar level of safety equipment but none is able to do so at the price of the X70 Premium 2WD and none can combine it with an infotainment head unit as advanced as our GKUI. Our customers are aware of this and I think that’s why bookings for the Premium 2WD variant are so high.

    The Proton X70 was launched with four Xtra packages. Explain to us why Proton added these packages and how they benefit X70 buyers.

    DARM: The four Xtra packages are what Proton terms as ownership packages, where being a buyer of Proton cars and the X70 in particular comes with extra benefits. The Xtra Service package for instance, gives free labour for five selected services up to 100,000 km, so during those services, owners need only pay the cost of parts and consumables. This lowers the maintenance cost, which is then boosted by the Xtra Warranty package, offering coverage for five years with unlimited mileage.

    The Xtra Low Financing Rate package also helps lower ownership costs by offering rates starting from as low as 2.34% per annum for qualified buyers. Therefore, a Proton X70 Standard 2WD variant buyer pays less than RM1250 per month on a seven-year financing package assuming they pay a 10% deposit.

    As for the Xtra Data package, one of the unique selling propositions (USP) of the Proton X70 is termed as ‘Redefined Connectivity’ so it makes sense to offer free internet data, capped at 1 GB per month for five years to our buyers.

    I must stress that Proton is the first automotive brand to do this in Malaysia, which is a reflection of how our GKUI is truly revolutionary and offers features that even vehicles costing two or three times more do not yet have. The X70 is therefore a truly connected vehicle.

    Add it all up and we believe we have an excellent combination of price and ownership packages to attract premium SUV buyers. This is reflected in the traffic we are currently seeing at Proton outlets nationwide, which has surprised us not just in the number of people coming to view the vehicle but also in the quality of potential customers. Hopefully the X70 will be the catalyst to reintroduce the brand back in to the lives of many Malaysians.

    Thank you for your time and detailed answers. Most of our readers don’t know this but you were recently awarded the title of Datuk. Congratulations. Do you have any comment on that?

    DARM: Thank you for your kind wishes. For me, receiving this honour is recognition for the work I have done together with the team at Proton. The success earned was due to teamwork so despite the title being specific to me, it is a reflection of how working together can and will bring Proton to ever greater heights. Thank you.

    GALLERY: Proton X70 Premium 2WD

     
     
 

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Last Updated 31 Aug 2019