Dr Li Chunrong, chief executive officer of its manufacturing arm Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional Sdn Bhd, said Proton had yet to decide on the exact launch date for the model, which is expected to be in September or October.
The SUV will be introduced in two phases for the completely built-up (CBU) and completely knocked-down units.
“The imported CBU units will arrive in July and subsequent to the launch, we will monitor the demand. Once we have gauged that, we will start rolling out the locally-assembled models,” he told reporters at the launch of the first Proton 4S upgraded dealer outlet here yesterday.
Within 10 years, Proton will be restored to being the best-selling brand within Malaysia and a top three Asean brand, said Li.
He said Proton took around 18 months to design the much-anticipated vehicle to suit the needs of the local right-hand drive market.
“The Boyue in China is left-hand drive. “It takes a substantial amount of time to redesign the SUV. We have no problem producing the car locally, but is there a demand for it? That’s what we have to find out,” he added.
As for the price of the upcoming SUV, which is set to rival Honda’s CR-V and Nissan’s X-Trail models, Li said: “It should be affordable.”
Meanwhile, the upgraded 4S centre launched yesterday, which is operated by Setia Gemilang Auto Sdn Bhd, carries a refreshed look, setting a new standard to ensure the sales and service platform is in tandem with the company’s business model and objective to provide an enhanced customer experience.
Li said the company would upgrade its 109 dealer outlets nationwide to 3S or 4S status by October this year, in preparation for the upcoming SUV.
“As of May 31, 2018, 82 outlets were ready for upgrade to 3S and 4S centres.
“This is a 75% achievement against the target, a feat done in five months – two months ahead of schedule,” he said.
He added that the new set-up was expected to attract more people to the outlets. — Bernama