Automotive

Published on February 19th, 2016 | by Subhash Nair

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So What if the Perdana is Based off the Accord? Here’s 5 Reasons Why Technology Sharing is Perfectly Fine

PROTON have come under fire plenty of times and for plenty of reasons. While some of those reasons are clearly valid, the company is sometimes underserving of such abuse. The new Perdana, we feel is a perfect example of this.

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It’s already gaining the nickname Accordana based on the fact it shares its platform with the immensely successful 8th generation Honda Accord. But technology sharing is not at all a step backward. Many great cars are indeed based off shared technology. Look at Audi’s Q7, the Volkswagen Toureg, and the Porsche Cayenne. All three take components from the same parts bin but each is unique in every way. Each is distinct beyond comparison.

“Yeah, but they’re all under VW Group, so it’s OK to share a little.”

This is true, but the practice of sharing entire platforms and drivetrains can occur between sister companies, partners and sometimes completely distinct brands. Here are a few illustrations:

1. Even the Japanese go to those with Superior Technology

  • Infiniti Q30/QX30/Mercedes-Benz A-Class

Infiniti q30 Mercedes-Benz-A-Class_2016_1024x768_wallpaper_0b

Luxury compact cars are a difficult segment to compete in, so it made sense for Infiniti (Nissan’s luxury car division) to base their smallest product on the immensely successful Mercedes A-Class. These cars are worlds apart in many meaningful ways, but underneath the skin they share the same heart and skeleton. This is essentially comparable to the Perdana / Accord tech swap.

2. A Platform Can Be Moulded In Any Shape

  • Mazda Biante/Volvo C70 (2nd gen)

what mpv_mazda bianteVolvo-C70

One’s an 8-seater and the other barely has room for 4. An MPV and a convertible couldn’t be miles apart. Yet when Ford had a stake in both Mazda and Volvo, neither saw a problem in using the C1 platform as a starting point for 2 very different vehicles. This is not the case for the new Perdana, but works for some of PROTON’s upcoming Suzuki-based vehicles.

3. Essential to the Survival of Smaller Players

  • Mitsubishi Charisma/Volvo S40(gen 1)/PROTON Waja

Mitsubishi-CharismaVolvo-S40Proton-Waja

New platforms are necessary periodically but can cost billions because engineers are expensive and charge by the hour. Also testing takes years and can involve lots of travelling and transporting of heavy equipment. Add that to the other obvious costs involved in coming up with something new and you’ll understand why companies that don’t sell high numbers have to collaborate with each other for the essentials.

4. Sharing Makes Great Tech Viable

  • Range Rover Sport (2012) / BMW 7 Series / Iveco Daily

Land_Rover-Range_Rover_SportBMW-7-SeriesIveco Daily

A British luxury SUV, a German limo and an Italian commercial vehicle. What links them? An 8-speed automatic gearbox – the ‘ZF 8HP70’. It’s undeniable that this 8-speed is a gem, but would it have been as cheap to manufacture if only one specific vehicle used it? No. Similarly, Honda AND Suzuki already have the tools to make the great platforms and drivetrains that PROTON will use, so why spend money coming up with something new? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – and certainly don’t spend a fortune trying to reinvent the wheel.

5. Even the Big Boys Need Help When Going Small

  • Mini/Peugeot 208/BMW 316i

Technically, the ‘Prince’ engine in many of MINI’s models aren’t made by MINI. Nope, not even BMW. The engines that go into these are from Peugeot, who use it for a number of models including the 208, 308, and 508. Citroen also uses it and the French application of this engine has had some reliability issues. Yet this award winning engine was chosen to be further developed and crammed into the current 3-Series model to help introduce the range at a lower price point. It’s also worth noting that when the MINI brand was relaunched under BMW Group in the 2000s, it used a engine that was made in Brazil. Yeah, don’t ask, things got weird.

Mini-One_Clubman_2009_1Peugeot-208BMW-3-

As you can see technology sharing isn’t quite the ‘step back into the dark ages’ people keep ranting about. Everyone does it, so why shouldn’t PROTON? In many ways, the new Perdana is going to be a very desirable vehicle in its own right. It’s going to have Honda’s mechanical reliability and power, it’s going to be equipped with Japanese tech but priced to beat Korean cars and best of all, it’s going to be a thoroughly Malaysian car – no less a PROTON than a Waja or an Iriz.

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Like it or not, cars are MORE than the sum of their parts. The new Perdana isn’t an Accord in PROTON clothing, it’s a PROTON with proven technology underneath. Having said that, there is still plenty that can go wrong, but we’re confident that PROTON with DRB-HICOM’s guidance, will produce something world class.


About the Author

Written work on dsf.my. @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.



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