Proton Holdings Bhd managing director, Datuk Syed Zainal, has announced that the company is planning to develop its own high performance petrol engines as well as moving to develop a diesel power plant.
The announcement comes as the Malaysian car-maker prepares to tackle a wider range of export markets as well as fighting back in a more competitive and challenging domestic market.
According to Zainel Proton's move to develop high performance and diesel engines is a must if the company is to remain competitive.
"Work is under way to explore the development of high performance 1.8 and two-litre engines and we are also in talks with several foreign parties and will announce something by mid-year," Zainel said.
"Going forward, the next generation and higher segment (Proton) cars will need 1.8- and a two-litre power plants as well as a diesel," he said.
"As well a lot of markets are migrating from petrol to diesel and it is important for Proton not to be left behind," he added.
"New export markets that we want to penetrate, like India and China, have high demand for diesel and for us not to have diesel engines incorporated in our cars would be a mistake."
Zainel said Proton was only considering foreign partners as local Malaysian companies would not be able to provide Proton the desired technology to move forward.
"I do not think a local partner can offer us the capability to develop a 'next level' engine," he said, adding that an eventual tie-up should finalise Proton's engine product planning for the next five years.
On Proton's recent decision to make inroads in India, Syed Zainal said the company is focusing a lot of effort on developing a strategy for the sub-continent and will make an announcement when the time is right.
The Proton managing director made the statement in Kuala Lumpur following his return from the recent Melbourne International Motor Show where he unveiled the new Proton Persona, due for launch in May and the R3 Satria which is due in the first quarter of 2009.
Zainel also announced that Proton is gearing up for the launch of its first MPV, slated for March 2009.
Proton, was established in 1983, and is Malaysia's largest manufacturer of automobiles. With operations in key markets including the UK and Western Europe to the Middle East, and across South-East Asia and Australasia, Proton produces a range of cars from versatile and reliable four-door family sedans to sporty three-door hatchbacks and utilities, and is also the parent company of world-renowned sports car maker, Lotus.
Proton brand is accelerateing its learning curve through technology transfer with strategic partnerships and technical collaborations. Proton's promise is to be a marquee which builds cars with passion and soul, which are a delight to drive and a pleasure to own.
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