Automotive

Published on April 4th, 2018 | by Subhash Nair

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Here’s Why I am Reluctantly Voting ‘X700’ as the Proton SUV Name

A lot of Malaysians, myself included, are excited to see Proton’s first SUV, and now, in traditional Proton fashion, we get to help choose its name. Yes, it is based on the Geely Boyue, but Proton will be giving it its own identity.

Proton has released an online survey (link at the bottom).

In the survey, you can come up with your own name suggestions, but you HAVE to also vote for one of the 4 suggested names. Personally, I don’t like any of the suggested names, but one of them makes a little more sense than the rest. Here are my thoughts:

X7

In the US, this SUV is sold as the Geely Emgrand X7 Sport. I think these suggested names can find their root. Personally, I think Proton should develop its own distinct name. Here’s why.

I think the biggest problem is that BMW already has this one covered. I don’t believe two cars should share a name. It does happen, but I think if it can be avoided, it should be avoided.

Furthermore, Proton has not used an alphanumerical naming scheme for its cars before, which is a problem I have with all the names suggested, frankly. This is something that more ‘premium’ brands do (Mercedes, Volvo, BMW, Audi, Infiniti, Genesis, Lexus). It works for brands that need to distinguish themselves based on branding rather than value. Premium brands spend a lot of money on keeping the brand in the public’s mind, so the nomenclature just needs to be logical and simplified.

Average Joe with no interest in cars but a lot of money can easily take two cars from the same brand and tell where they lie in relation to each other. He will naturally expect an A7 to be ‘more expensive and sophisticated’ than an A3 (comparing Audi models). He will naturally expect an E200 to be ‘less powerful’ than an E300 (comparing powertrain variants of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class model). Similarly, Joe would expect comparisons between a V90 and XC60 to be discouraged as the initial alphabet(s) distinguishes the two into wagon and SUV.

With Proton, an alphanumerical classification would be costly and unnecessary as there are no plans to shift Proton into the premium segment.

PX7

I can’t agree with this either. Putting ‘P’ in front to emphasise that it’s a Proton… that’s something that you might wrongly compare to Audi (A3, A4, etc), but you SHOULDN’T because Audi’s nomenclature doesn’t work that way. There are ‘Q’ models, ‘S’ and ‘RS’ models. Similarly, Volvo have the V60 and V90, but this is for a body style as the sedan variants are called S60 and S90. Generally, premium car companies don’t put their initial on the model name.

The companies that tend to are Chinese phone and car companies (Vivo V5, Vivo V7, Haval H1, Haval H2). I don’t believe Proton needs to go down this road unless its roadmap sees the car company trying to gain a solid foothold in foreign markets. I believe that’s part of the reason why the Great Wall M4 became the Haval H1. If that is the reason, then maybe the Proton PX7 is the best suggestion on this list, but I would still not vote for it. There’s also the cost of moulding a ‘P’ for the badges. More on this later.

X70

This feels a little too Infiniti for my liking. Infiniti’s cars all have 2 digits at the end of the name and their standard vehicles start with Q (Q50, Q70), their crossovers and SUVs start with QX (QX70, QX80). It is a little too close for my liking, and on top of that we’re going to have a problem with badge moulds. Because Geely already sells this SUV as the X7 Sport in the US, they probably have a mould with ‘X7’ that can be transferred to Proton for cheap.

But if the SUV ends up being called the X70 , Proton will have to spend money either extending that mould to add a ‘0’ at the end or coming up with their own ‘X70’ mould from scratch. Either wouldn’t cost THAT much, but why waste money? And if doesn’t end up being the ‘X7’ to save cost on badging, then to me, it is not worth going down this road.

X700

Ok, I can’t think of any conflicts off the top of my head (except the really old Minolta X700 camera and obscure QMobile Q700 smartphone), but now I’m asking what the significance of ‘7’, ’70’ or ‘700’ is to this SUV model. There are two engine options on the original model, a 2-litre (139hp, 178Nm) and a 1.8-litre turbo (163PS/180PS, 250Nm/285Nm). I don’t see any significant ‘7’ when it comes to performance.

Both gearboxes are 6-speed.

Proton currently sells 8 models (Saga, Iriz, Persona, Ertiga, Preve, Exora, Suprima S, Perdana), and this SUV will be the 9th. No ‘7’ there either. It also wouldn’t make much sense to use that as a basis either. So just like with the X7 name (and all these names, really), the whole alphanumerical nomenclature thing just doesn’t make much sense, at least not for Proton.

BUT I do think if my choices were restricted to just these four I would go for X700. The reasons are rather silly, but here they are:

  1. Proton could use the original ‘X7′ mould but create a seperate mould for the ’00’ as a stylised infinity symbol. 8 is lucky. Tilt it on its side and it symbolises possibilities. I think another brand does this as well.
  2. the closest conflict, from Lexus, is still pretty much ok. Lexus uses 2 alphabets (IS200, RX350), so I would have only objected to it if it was ‘PX700’.
  3. a lot of Proton’s previous and current car names had 4 characters. ‘WIRA’, ‘SAGA’, ‘IRIZ’, ‘WAJA’. ‘X700’ can be justified in the Proton ‘lore’ by this logic.

So there you have it, I will be casting my vote on ‘X700’ based on these reasons, though I am still not convinced of any of them. Here’s a link for you to do the same. Click here to skip the home page.

If you agree with us, please copy-paste the link to this article as your answer in question 8.

If you spot any gaps or problems in my discussion above, please feel free to comment.


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One Response to Here’s Why I am Reluctantly Voting ‘X700’ as the Proton SUV Name

  1. Gong Gong Cha says:

    Fact: 8 is not a lucky number

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