I believe the news where the next generation of Proton Saga to be based on the rebadged version of the Volkswagen Polo brings smiles to Proton owners but tears to existing Polo owners. Some Proton fans will welcome it, some opposed, as our writer Eric did.
This has caused plenty of heated arguments among many Malaysians
Sure this rumors sparks tons of arguments over the Internet forums and “TT” sessions in restaurants nationwide. However this may squish all the rumors away when recently, DRB HICOM’s Group MD (then new owners of Proton, which is an giant industry corporation for assembly and distribution of many auto brands in Mysia, including Volkswagen, Mitsubishi, Suzuki, Honda and so on) Datuk Seri Mohd Khamil Jami, has rubbished talks on the rebadging of Polo as the new Saga.
As quoted by him during the recent launch of the locally assembled Passat “The reports got me by surprise. Rebadging was never in our plans. If we want to develop the national auto industry, we got to move forward. Rebadging is taking a step backwards.I may have to eat my words someday, but as long as I’m in charge, I will never allow that [rebadging] to happen
However, no rebadging doesn’t mean that Proton, a small carmaker in the grand scheme of things, needs to do it all alone .”
In that case, this likely confirms that Proton Polo or Proton Sago (or whatever) is diminish for now. I would be very happy for that actually and with higher hopes to see the next Saga may share a new or possibility an older platform from Volkswagen, most likely from the Polo. Skoda did the same thing during the initial days when Volkswagen owns it, so who knows we can see Proton to be the next Skoda of Asia. I would be pleased even an older platform from Volkswagen family of cars to be used for their models, one such from SEAT (Spanish car manufacturer) those existing saloon model is based from the previous generation of Audi A4. I won’t be complaining if say the next Perdana replacement is based from the previous generation of A4, and the possibility is endless seeing how rich and well equipped Volkswagen has in terms of technology.
Nope, aint gonna happen! Pic courtesy from Theophilus Chin
Best of all, it looks like Proton current existing team can continue to self develop cars which they did reasonably okay (but still not good enough) for the Saga, Persona, Exora and the upcoming P3-21A model. So why bother going back to rebadging, furthermore the Inspira (the Mitsubishi Lancer rebadged car) isn’t doing well in Malaysia (with discounts up to RM7,000 after the car was launched a year ago).
Still there is not much details obtained on what DRB HICOM has plans for Proton, but we know it’s worth keeping an eye on the interesting developments between these two parties.