Proton has made great strides since its inception and has continued to evolve.

PROTON Holdings Bhd has started “a new era” as it counts on its advanced engineering technology to produce higher quality cars with fresh and exciting looks, said a senior executive.

Proton chief technical officer Abdul Rashid Musa said the national car manufacturer has stepped up its vehicle styling and design in preparation for the launch of a range of new models.

He said the new models are set to take the market by storm and push Proton into a different arena altogether.

Proton will soon launch its first global compact car, which boasts a completely new design and “exciting features like never before”, said Rashid.

“It is definitely a car in a category of its own. It’s very exciting and something that we’re very proud of,” he told a media briefing, here, on Thursday.

“Once it is launched, consumers will have an idea of how Proton’s future models are going to look like. This will be our new direction in fulfilling our promise to be a global car producer.”

Rashid said the new direction may provide the springboard for Proton to boost sales and restore its glory days of being a top carmaker.

The local automotive community is already abuzz with discussions regarding the new model in the lucrative B-segment, particularly on its stunning design, previously unseen in Proton models.

In Proton’s teaser advertisement in the electronic and print media, only the fancy headlamp of the new model is revealed.

Proton design head Azlan Othman, who has been spearheading the division’s transformation since 2004, said its design commitment is to achieve timeless perfection.

“We don’t need to be trendy, and then forgotten. We need to be timeless, to have designs that last.”

He said the focus has been on design and in the bigger picture, cars that reflect the brand’s new direction to create innovative cars for the global market that stand out as truly Malaysian.

Meanwhile, rumours are rife in the blogosphere that the five-door hatchback will be called Proton Iriz.

Rashid was tight-lipped and said the name will be announced in due course.

He confirmed that the new model, codenamed P2-30A, is not a Proton Savvy replacement as reported and will be powered by the variable valve technology (VVT) engine developed by Proton.

“The new model is developed using Proton’s latest platform and is powered by a VVT engine with 1.3 litre and 1.6 litre capacity. It comes with manual or automatic transmission.

“There are three variants, namely standard, executive and premium, with affordable prices and exciting new colours.”

Rashid said the new model is also equipped with safety features comprising passive safety and active safety.

“Passive safety includes six airbags and other standard features while active safety, which is relatively new for Proton, includes 10 computerised systems designed to avoid accidents, such as the hill hold assist feature.”

Rashid said Proton will strive to achieve its goal of becoming a global player.

“We are all committed to that. We believe in what we are doing and it is only matter of time before we get there,” he added.

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