During the launch of the 2019 Proton Saga facelift, Proton CEO Li Chunrong reiterated the automaker’s plans to introduce a new model every year, and a graphic from the slide deck from his speech provided clues to what’s in the pipeline.
Based on the suggested profiles, it’s no surprise to see the shape of the next model slated for introduction, which is an SUV. This will of course be the X50, which will be based on the Geely Binyue. The next car after that will be a sedan, out in 2021. In the current line-up, the car that desperately needs a replacement is the Preve, so we could be looking at a C-segment offering popping up, with the Geely Binrui the likely candidate.
For the Chinese market, two engine choices are available for the Binrui, a 1.0 litre direct-injected three-cylinder unit offering 134 hp and 180 Nm, and a 1.4 litre petrol with 131 hp and 215 Nm. The car, which utilises the automaker’s B-Segment Modular Architecture (BMA) platform (which also underpins the Binyue), can accommodate other engines from the brand, including a 1.5 litre turbo direct-injected engine developed in partnership with Volvo.
Equipment includes a three-spoke leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, digital instrument cluster, push-start button and a widescreen 10.25-inch infotainment display, with smartphone pairing functionalities and GPS navigation, voice recognition and rear view camera in the mix.
The new sedan in 2021 will be followed by another sedan in 2022, and the guess is that this will be a Perdana replacement model, or possibly that for the Persona. We’ve heard in the past that the automaker has plans to keep localised development going for some models in its line-up, so it could well be that the car in question will be the replacement for the current Accord-based Perdana, derived from the Geely Borui.
The final model in the mystery quartet is another SUV, due in 2023. By then, it should be time for an X70 replacement, and this could well be the vehicle slated for entry four years down the road. Interestingly, there’s no suggestion of an MPV, which was on the cards and set to be based on the Geely Jiaji.
Last year, it was reported that Proton had secured the use of intellectual properties (IP) and rights to manufacture and sell three Geely models, the Jiaji being one of them (the others being the X70 and the Binyue, or X50).
The MPV was supposedly due in 2020 as a replacement for the Exora, but given that the X50 – which was originally due out this year – has been pushed back to 2020, the timelines look to have been moved around a bit. The question is if the MPV remains scheduled for a market introduction, and if so, when.