Proton plans to return to the European market (particularly the UK) by 2017 with new or existing models powered by their new engines that is said to meet stringent European emissions standard, said Chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
In his personal blog, Tun Dr. Mahathir mentioned that Malaysia used to export a good number of Proton cars to the UK. However, due to new emissions and fuel efficiency standards, current Proton cars cannot be sold over there.
With the new Proton-Ricardo engines, Proton has high hopes of reentering these markets, thanks to the more advanced Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) and turbocharging technologies, albeit still in testing phase.
The Proton Iriz, currently powered by Proton’s new NEF engine, is Euro-4 rated and does not meet Euro regulations. If Proton plans to export the Iriz to the UK in 2017, the best case scenario is that the Iriz will be powered by either the 1.3-litre four-cylinder GDi or 1.3-litre 4-cylinder Turbo-GDi units. The Iriz could potentially be joined by the Suprima S model, one that may do well in a continent favouring such body types.
Proton first started exporting cars to the UK in the mid-80s with the Saga and Wira models. Apart from making an appearance in the world’s most popular television program, Proton sold a decent number of cars in the UK and was once among the most reliable and recommended cars in Britain.
However, just like Perodua, the lack of modern engines means Proton couldn’t go beyond Australian and South East Asian markets, despite producing new models like the Preve, Suprima S and the Iriz.
On another note, Tun Dr. Mahathir urged Malaysians to give Proton cars a chance, and acknowledged the negative public perception towards the brand. “I think Proton cars deserve a test drive by Malaysians. Tell us about your experience. Criticise these cars. We want feedback so we can further improve the cars,” he said.
“When you buy a local car, money stays in the country, workers earn money, dealers and agents and their employees enjoy the business they do and the local economy grows. Thousands of families enjoy a good life.”
[Source: The Malaysia Insider]