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December 14, 2018

Proton launches Geely-based X70 SUV

Malaysian national carmaker Proton this week officially launched its first SUV, based on a model already on sale in China by its new strategic partner Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (Geely).

By bcusack

Malaysian national carmaker Proton this week officially launched its first SUV, based on a model already on sale in China by its new strategic partner Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (Geely). 

China's largest private-owned automaker Geely, which also owns Sweden's Volvo Cars, acquired a 49.9% stake in Proton Holdings from local conglomerate DRB-Hicom in June last year.

Locally-made and rebadged Proton X70, the Boyue is the first Geely model to be brought into the Proton fold and other models are expected to follow in the coming years as the Malaysian carmaker looks to revamp its image and ageing product range in the face of rising competition.

The X70 is powered by a 1.8-litre engine and is priced between MYR99,800 (US$23,900) and MYR123,800 (US$29,600), significantly undercutting comparable models such as the Honda CR-V and Toyota C-HR.

Proton said it had received 10,000 orders for the X70 since it began taking bookings in September, adding it expects the "jointly-developed" model would transform the perception of Proton as a brand in its home market. 

Shortly after Geely acquired its stake, Proton began a broad-based programme to upgrade its dealer network across the country. 

Proton's domestic sales in the first 10 months of the year were down by over 11% at 54,326 units, based on wholesale data, compared with 61,380 units in the same period of last year.

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