Proton’s latest hit, take five
The Malaysians have a five-year plan to be competitive, writes NEIL McDONALD
ATURBODIESEL and highperformance four-cylinder engines are now officially part of Proton’s future.
Proton Holdings Bhd managing director Datuk Syed Zainal announced this week the company will develop its own high-performance petrol engines as well as a diesel.
It is expected to announce a tie-up with a foreign carmaker to develop the engines by June.
Volkswagen, PSA-Peugeot Citroen and Mitsubishi have previously been in talks with Proton.
The high-performance 1.8-litre and 2.0-litre petrol engines are tipped to power Proton’s Lotustuned hot R3 models and will complement the company’s 1.3-litre and 1.6-litre Campro engines.
The performance engines, along with the turbodiesel, are part of Proton’s plans to launch one new car every year for the next five years. The announcement comes as the Malaysian carmaker prepares to tackle a wider range of export markets such as China and India, as well as fight tough competition in its home market of Malaysia.
Zainal says high performance and diesel engines are a must if the company is to remain competitive.
‘‘Work is under way to explore the development of high- performance 1.8 and 2.0-litre engines and we are also in talks with several foreign parties,’’ Zainal says.
‘‘ Going forward, the nextgeneration and higher segment (Proton) cars will need 1.8- and a 2.0-litre powerplants as well as a diesel.
‘‘A lot of markets are migrating from petrol to diesel and it is important for Proton to not be left behind.’’
Robert Bosch is believed to be in talks with Proton to supply diesel fuel-injection systems. Bosch currently supplies a host of engine management systems, brakes and other components for Proton.
Zainal says Proton is considering only foreign partners because Malaysian companies will not have the desired technology.
‘‘I do not think a local partner can offer us the capability to develop a next-level engine,’’ he says.
Keep up: managing director Datuk Syed Zainal doesn’t want Proton left behind.