Published on December 12th, 2022 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
From Zero To Hero, The Proton Brand Thanks The X70 SUV
Like any other ‘state run business’, Proton needed outside assistance to succeed.
First we share some old but very relevant news. Well known European car manufacturer Skoda was an almost bankrupt car company until the Volkswagen Group took it over in 1991 and built a state of the art brand new factory in the Czech Republic.
Before the Volkswagen Group came along, Skoda’s were a laughing stock of the automotive community with fledging sales and numerous financial bailouts from the Czech government.
Sound familiar people? The ‘knight in shining armour’ turned up and turned a fledging car manufacturer into one of the most profitable car brands in the world.
Yes, today, Skoda is a success story and even though its fortunes in Malaysia is dismal it is a very profitable car brand in Europe.
Skoda delivers well built, stylish vehicles with good reliability ratings in Europe. For many years they were at the top 5 position of reliable vehicles in Europe.
The reason why Skoda does not do well here in Malaysia is simply because of its selling price. Without local assembly, Skoda pricing is on par with Volkswagen models and its brand presence in Malaysia is rated lower, so buyers are not keen to own one at the given selling prices.
The last popular Skoda model sold in Malaysia was the Octavia sedan (fastback and wagon) and the Fabia hatchback and you can still see them running around with quite happy owners who only complain about very low resale values which is really not any worse than the resale values of older Volkswagen cars in Malaysia.
Meanwhile, why did it take a foreigner (and a rebadged SUV) to turn around Proton’s fortunes?
Why did other global car manufacturers turn down the offer to buy into Proton before Geely Holdings arrived and took the challenge?
Why did it take a rather ‘quiet’ unassuming car manufacturer from China to bring life back to Proton?
Where are all the many Malaysian automotive engineers that were sent overseas in the decades before (using Malaysian taxpayers money)?
These are the questions we asked over the last few years and despite the many Proton events and launches, little information was shared with us. However, we know what made Skoda a success after Volkswagen bought it over.
Proton’s possible success in Asia and Africa is just around the corner and Geely will be ready for it. Will Proton be ready?
Interestingly, it is the 4th ANNIVERSARY OF THE PROTON X70 and here below are ten facts about the Proton X70.
1. The Proton X70 is the first premium SUV model from PROTON and is also the first model developed with the collaboration of Geely.
2. The Proton X70 was launched by then Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah on 12 December 2018 in Kuala Lumpur.
3. The Proton X70 is the first “talking car” from PROTON with intelligent voice command where you can just say the catchphrase ‘Hi, PROTON’ to control features like the power windows, air conditioning, navigation, music, and weather apps.
4. The Proton X70 received more than 10,000 bookings before it even reached showrooms.
5. As of the end of November 2022, 82,869 units of the Proton X70 have been sold since it was launched, making it the best-selling C-segment SUV in Malaysia for four years running.
6. PROTON started to produce the Proton X70 in Malaysia at a new RM1.2 billion plant extension in Tanjung Malim in 2019 and the first locally assembled Proton X70 rolled off the production line on 13 December that year.
7. PROTON launched the 2022 Proton X70 on 9 June 2022, offering styling updates and a new powertrain option for buyers seeking an SUV with improved fuel efficiency thanks to a 1.5L TGDi engine that is also produced in Malaysia.
8. Brunei was the first export market for the Proton X70 where it was launched on 29 July 2019.
9. Aside from being produced in Malaysia, the Proton X70 is also locally assembled in Karachi, Pakistan.
10. To date, the Proton X70 has been exported to seven countries, namely Brunei, Nepal, Egypt, Bangladash, Kenya, Pakistan, and South Africa and as at the end of November this year, total export sales stand at 2,919 units.