The PROTON X70 raises a few questions

Posted:  September 8, 2018   By:    50 comments   


At a closed-door event yesterday, PROTON unveiled its first-ever SUV, the PROTON X70. The X70 also marks the end of PROTON’s long-standing tradition of naming its cars using proper nouns instead now all future PROTON models will adopt an alpha-numerical naming convention.

The move to change the way PROTON cars are named is sad for me. The names PROTON use during its early days were among the best names you could have for car. Names like “Saga”, “Wira”, “Satria”, “Putra”, “Perdana”, “Juara” are all unquestionably Malaysian.

Remember seeing a PROTON Wira when I was on holiday in the UK and when I was studying in Australia, I found out that there was a very active PROTON Satria GTI club there. This made me beam with pride. A name like the X70 doesn’t make me feel anything.

I ask PROTON’s CEO, Dr. Li Chunrong what is the logic behind the new naming convention and how that convention contradicts the Malaysian DNA that the designers say they have infused into the car. He says that the alphanumeric name serves only a classification of the vehicle type and what he wants people to focus on is the brand PROTON no matter what model.

In this case the name X70 means it’s a C-segment cross-over. In the future, a D-segment cross-over would carry the name X90 and a B-segment cross-over would carry the name X60, and all would be unmistakably PROTON and that’s all customers should remember. I guess that makes sense, the logic is sound but it is devoid of character. Like how the Maserati Quattroporte, in English that literally means “four door” but it sounds so much better in Italian. That’s character. I’d argue, “Bayu” would be a better name for the SUV but then again I’m not the CEO of PROTON.

Anyway…let’s move on.

The development of the PROTON X70 is no secret. Chinese car manufacturer, Geely, acquired a 49.99% stake in PROTON in June 2017 for RM460.30 million. As part of the acquisition, Geely will transfer its SUV platform to PROTON. The platform is used by Geely to build the Boyue SUV and it will form the basis of PROTON’s own SUV (first as a rebadged version of the Boyue and as a completely developed in-house model in the future). Geely also owns Volvo and early this year, the company became the single largest investor in Daimler group which owns Mercedes-Benz which are also resources that PROTON can tap into, potentially.

SEE ALSO:  Proton X70 SUV is open for booking tomorrow with a RM1,000 deposit

The PROTON X70 is virtually identical to the Geely Boyue, most of the differences are cosmetic and where it makes the biggest visual difference. You can see this on the front of the car especially on the grill and at the rear especially on the tailgate. The interior gets some changes but they are mostly in the details, like the speaker covers which are based on a Malay architectural motif. Aside from these (and the fact that the X70 is right-hand drive) there’s very little that separates the X70 from the Boyue and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

The preview session gave me an opportunity to take a closer look at the final production version of the X70, to inspect every detail of the car and I have to say – it is unlike any other PROTON ever in terms of the kit that you get and also the quality.

The assortment of gadgets and technology available in the car is aplenty. The most interesting, for me, is the digital meter cluster which offers plenty of viewing and customisation options. You also get a whole host of advanced driver assistance tech like automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, 360-camera, blind spot monitoring and warning, lane departure warning and tyre pressure monitoring system. There’s also voice command, air purification and a multi-speaker sound system with a built-in sub-woofer. I’m not complaining but a wireless charger would be a nice add-on for me.

Beyond all this, it is the quality of the vehicle that impressed me the most. It feels nice to be inside the X70, everything feels good and well thought out. The Nappa leather that wraps the well-shaped and very comfortable seats are as good as any you’d get in a Mercedes or BMW. The seating position is relaxing, and the steering wheel has the right rim diameter and size that it feels good in the hands. If you didn’t know that the X70 is a PROTON, you wouldn’t think that it is a PROTON.

SEE ALSO:  Proton X70 SUV is open for booking tomorrow with a RM1,000 deposit

If you talk to PROTON’s Head of Design, Azlan Osman, he will share with you a very interesting story about how the design elements of the X70 was inspired by Malaysian elements like the car’s shoulder line that he says is drawn from the family of big cats, especially the Malayan Tiger and how the grill design was inspired from Malay woodcarving motifs. I’ll leave the discussion about the design of the car to you, our fellow readers, to discuss in the comments section as it is something very subjective and personal but for me, the car is, as I would describe it, palatable. There’s nothing special about the look of the X70 but there’s nothing wrong with it either.

So what do I think about the PROTON X70?

I think it is a competent car at least from a features, design and quality point of view but seeing the X70 in the flesh and listening to the PROTON leadership team explain how the car marks the beginning of a new chapter for PROTON, how it wants to venture a new market (on that it has never been in before), and how the team hopes to uplift the brand, I’m left with more questions than answers.

What will the PROTON X70 actually bring to the table?

Like I mentioned, the X70 is a competent car. The quality is excellent, the spec list is long and plentiful (depending on the trim level). This brings PROTON on par with many other car brands because, to be honest, the tech that you get in the X70 is nothing new. It is – if the car is priced correctly – will be the first time in Malaysia that this tech is made affordable to more customers. That assuming if the price is right. Then, the question is, apart from the price being the differentiator, what else the X70 would bring to the table for buyers? PROTON can’t expect to compete on price alone if it wants to break into the lucrative SUV segments, it needs to bring brand value and desirability, that’s going to be a problem.

SEE ALSO:  Proton X70 SUV is open for booking tomorrow with a RM1,000 deposit

How will the PROTON X70 attract new customers?

The global market share for sports-utility vehicles (SUV) is about 35%, in the ASEAN region, SUV account for 15% of the vehicles that are on the road. In Malaysia, SUV only makes up 11% of the vehicles on the road. There’s a considerable opportunity for PROTON to tap into this market but the challenge is this is unchartered territory for the brand. To succeed, PROTON will be reaching out to two types of consumers that they have never marketed to before – #1 people who have never considered PROTON and #2 people who are looking to buy an SUV.

These two market segments will be a challenge for PROTON because options for good, affordable SUV are plentiful. If you’re in the market for an SUV, you have Honda, Kia, Mazda, Toyota and Mitsubishi to choose from, just to name a few. And these brands have a significant advantage over PROTON, they don’t carry the perception baggage.

How is PROTON going to overcome that? How are they going to appeal to customers who have never considered a PROTON as an option for their SUV purchase?

I ask Dr. Li the question and he responded in one word – “product”. He explains further to say that a brand is as good as its product and he believes that when customers see the X70 and see what it can do, the baggage will disappear. To a degree, I agree with what he says and to be honest, I wasn’t expecting such a frank answer. However, the realisation won’t be as simple. A car is a very personal purchase, would a person that can afford a CR-V want a PROTON in his driveway? Well if the PROTON is that good, why not. But…is this PROTON that good? We’ll have to wait to see.

For now I’ll say, with the X70, PROTON has something special in its hand and if it can get the balance of price, availability, customer service and product performance just right, this something special can be something truly extraordinary for the brand.


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50 Comments for The PROTON X70 raises a few questions

Keciwa

SC not posting about tnb broadband plans

and not posting about Huawei latest cheat benchmark….yet can talk about proton pulak

    Jeff

    What do you expect from this biased and full of bought sponsored site?

    Paid Cybertrooper

    Wah, cybertroopers everywhere nowadays. How much your sponsors pay you guys then?

    proton

    soyacincau say: blog is mine, you no happy go else where and die 🙂

George

Proton X70 sounds classic. I like it. The interior and exterior looks good. But why isnt Proton stating the price?

    cky

    If demand ts great ie the bookings, the price can start at a higher level.

    Move forward

    So far 2 of the professional auto pesonalities Kon and Bobby reviews are above expectation. See their preview comments on youtube.

    It is time for Malaysian old mindsets to move forward.

      ILoveX70

      I am a big fan of them but that two also call professional ar? 🙂 O technical view being discuss. The only unique part is they share the driving experience on Malaysian road.

Mlke

It’s ok to use numbers to differentiate the car model like the BMW, MERC N VOLVO.

Arthur

There is talk about pricing at RM90,000++ whuch would make the suv more attractive.

Proton will likely export suv overseas for bigger potential markets. You never know they might sell Proton X70 back in China or Africa countries under 1 belt 1 road concept. China company acquired VOLVO and VOLVO company benefited from the acquisition as China company selling rebranded VOLVO model in China.

    Fox News 4 You

    China is LEFT hand drive, how bodoh you are, simply hentam just because of prejudice against china. Watch too much US propaganda mainstream Fox news and never been to China.

    They co-dev new platform with Volvo, not rebadge Volvo. Volvo is highly independent. This shows how good Geely management are vs Ford, previous owner who almost killed Volvo.

    More Fox News

    Just to widen you narrow minded ignorance. There are many EV taxi and buses in London and California, 100% manufactured by china companies. Even the classic London Taxi is owned by Geely.

    key1

    its like saying Pakistan can sell back their made in pakistan Proton Preve to Malaysia.

    bodo

ah78

Aiiyooo.. Silap masuk paultan lg.. Let me go back to soyacincau

crazy rich alien

soyacincau didnt get me the last time they posted about x70 but this time they certainly did. double checked the web page address lol.

well, cars are pieces of tech too so one may justify SC is adventurous and now covers car tech. BUT, there are also other pieces of tech like fridges, washing machine, air cond, water purifier etc.

QUESTION IS, WILL WE SEE THOSE IN THE FUTURE? xD

    Paultan SC

    LOL, well Proton X70 does come with air purifier, both front and rear. Its integrated dashcam usb port on rearview mirror is a small but practical tech feature, as dashcam is becoming common, not just for grab cars.

Car Name

The author should have known tuet the X70 name is intended for internatinal market. Yes, we will be the only RHD manufacturer for this model at the moment. Its Volvo or any conti car naming analogy makes sense.

Zaharah binti Kassim

Kenapa tak beri nama beridentitikan Malaysia. Suv adalah kenderaan yg lasak,kuat dan gagah. Contoh nama *PANGLIMA*. Pada body kereta tulis P5 sahaja atau PANG5. Semua rakyat malaysia tau maknanya.

    Ah Pek

    Want to know it sounds like in Hokkien? You won't want to.

      Vincent Ang

      What's wrong with x70 in Hokkein. I can even speak old Hokkien and I see no trouble with the Hokkien pinyin for x70

        Ah Pek

        I was referring to PANG5

          Ah Niang

          pangsai!

          Vincent Ang

          Quite a stretch of the dialect though.

    Pangsai Lang

    PANG5 kalau disebut sebagai PANG FIVE dalam bahasa Hokkien bunyinya sama macam Pangsai (break). LOL

      Vincent Ang

      Stretching the dialect a bit too much?

    Gilergiler

    Apa nak bangga sangat? Tu kete dari China lah. Cuma rebadge saje..merlayu mudah lupa.

    key1

    kenapa tak panggil "Unta" ?

    semua orang sokong

Jay

X70 or any other alpha numeric names are better than Bayu tbh. A spec oriented tech site with no specs of the car? Hmmkay

iskhalifah

u forgot to question about its reliability.

that brought the whole brand down the drain over the past 15 years.

hopefully its mechanical & electrical parts are reliable. Volvo’s latest models suffer in American Consumer Reports auto ratings due to its poor reliability. Whats the use of having quality & impeccable looking interior, but in the end you r driving a lemon.

    Hate tomyam car

    Telling nonsense story is easy. The fact is that it is among the top growth brand in US premium suv segment after introduction of 2nd gen Volvo XC90. The legendary old 1st gen XC90 is still one of the 0 fatality model in the US. Their XC40 has just received European car of the year. Cheapo made in tomyam car owner is lazy to google facts

TSK

Alpha numeric names make you easier to understand the car segment or grade by global people. Think for future. We should expand our national car industry to global. They are on right track. No sacrifice no victory.

Those who would like to get this car are more care about reliability and price.

swan's fan

b4 u comment, ask urself, wat car u drive? dun bluf here as hero.

    Honest Opinion

    Frankly, I don’t favour a Proton cars. However, I did own an old Saga version, and besides that, I do own and drive another SUV (Nissan Murano) and the Murano is superb. I have also wirh me an old BMW 7series, the old and now latest Myvi (AV spec) and an Alza. To me, I feel safe driving Perodua cars but I don’t deny want to test drive this Proton SUV before I give my honest comment. Hope this answered your questions.

      Forever VW

      Perodua safe. You must be kidding me. Can it even qualify euro ncap 5 stars ? I shall wait and see whether this proton suv can qualify for it. To compete globally, you need to meet the euro and US safety standard. Ancap is for 3rd world country and syok sendiri. Dont look far, even the bread and butter kia picanto have met euro ncap safety standard.

Andrew

Volvo naning like XC70

SARAVANAN RAJAGOPAL

Just because Geely is the largest shareholder in Daimler Benz doesn’t mean they can “tap” into MB’s technology…they are just shareholders….that’s about it….owning a company like VOLVO or LOTUS via PROTON is different from being a largest shareholder….GEELY doesn’t run MB .

    key1

    they CAN tap into their technology. for a price or via collaboration.

    if you are not a shareholder, good luck asking for anything.

Adam

Hi All,
As everyone know the most importance is the after sales services. Proton is poor & shocking in this parts. If you have a proton, as sure we have to search around for a good ( I mean honest ) services provider.
So no matter how good is your car built but if the after sales service is questionable batter be ready of the things to come.
Proton still have a long way to go to get up to Toyota or Honda Std. May be not going to happen in my life time.
FYI, I did own proton car, after the services personal say this is a std spec. I start checking all the parts that they did my self.

    Prakash

    That is why now only good 3S or 4S centers get the dealership to sell this model. Those cari makan lousy kroni dealers are dying under the new management. Are you another honda salesman?

Badeges, AK

The prices are speak for themselves. So far there is no price attached with Rm 1,000.00. Can this SUV able to compete with others established SUV ??

KOK HIAN LEE

Smart strategy of Proton CEO. If booking demand is great before actual release date in November then the starting selling price will definitely be high. But like food, it looks good but taste not good. Then it’s disaster again for the buyer and seller ie PROTON.

ZUMNA AFFENDY

Langkah terbaik untuk Proton bangkit kembali sebagai kereta No.1 Negara… Tak kisahlah nama kereta X70 itu dikatakan bukan identiti Malaysia sebab nama Proton itu masih dikekalkan. Jatidiri kereta Proton masih kekal tetapi saya kuatir yg tewas ialah jatidiri pembeli2 yg masih terpesona dgn jenama bukan Proton… ayuh betulkan semula jatidiri anda pembeli. Proton hanya mampu bangkit gagah dgn sokongan kita rakyat Malaysia..

    Vincent Ang

    Bang. Kualiti mahu bagus lah.

clongviews

Please announce the price!!!!

Nicerule

Prediction or selling prices?

1) X70 Standard 2WD

*Car Color*: Snow White, Amor Silver

*Interior* : Black Fabric

*Features*: 6 Airbags, 17 Inches Rim, Fabric Seat, Reverse Camera

*T1 Price: RM85,888

2) X70 Executive 2WD

*Car Color*: Snow White, Amor Silver, Jet Grey, Cinnamon Brown

*Interior* : Black Leatherette

*Features*: 6 Airbags, 18 Inches Rim, Leather Seat, 360 Camera

*T1 Price: RM96,888

3) X70 Executive AWD

*Car Color*: Snow White, Jet Grey, Cinnamon Brown

*Interior* : Black Leatherette

*Features*: 6 Airbags, 18 Inches Rim, Leather Seat, 360 Camera

*T1 Price: RM113,888

4) X70 Premium 2WD

*Car Color*: Snow White, Amour Silver, Jet Grey, Flame Red, Cinnamon Brown

*Interior* : Brown Nappa Leatherette

*Features*: 6 Airbags, 18 Inches Rim, Leather Seat, 360 Camera, Panoramic Roof, Advance Driver Assistance System

*T1 Price: RM138,888

    Proton PR

    This price list is fake. Proton denounced it. But the spec could be true.

key1

this is a funny article, to be frank, a rubbish one.
look at this statement,

A car is a very personal purchase, would a person that can afford a CR-V want a PROTON in his driveway?

if you can afford rm150k CRV, you will get a CRV.

Proton is only appealing to people that can afford rm80k and willing to explore all the options( though usually they get all the non-popular options and regretted years later, and vow to never repeat it again, hence the non-popular options will died down due to word of mouth)

M.K

Proton Gen2, didn't that alphanumeric name?

Having Malaysian name is not part of proton anymore, except for existing model. For new models, it's started with Savvy, then Exora, Inspira, Prevé, Suprima, Iriz & Ertiga. Why so much sentimental about Malaysian name when it's not part of it anymore for a long time?

Schumi

Are this x70 suv 7 seater or not? I want to buy for my family